7 Steps to Do Before Writing an Academic Paper

7 Steps to Your Academic Writing Success

We all know that academic writing is difficult. However, few students realize just how difficult it is until they need to write their first academic paper. If you want to do a great job, you need to take a few steps before you start writing the essay. In most cases, students start writing the paper from the top of their heads, without taking a bit of time to prepare. In our experience, more than 80% of these students are unable to get more than a B on their paper. If you want an A+ or at least an A, follow the seven steps outlined in this article.

  1. Read the Requirements Twice

So, what is academic writing? Basically, academic writing is a prose register that is focused, clear, and concise. All the information presented in such a paper must be backed up by strong evidence. The tone and style are formal, but there is no need for overly lengthy phrases or overly complex terms. The main purpose of this type of writing is to help the reader understand the topic and to present the writer’s research, findings, analysis, and ideas.

However, it’s not enough to know that academic writing is. You also need to be very careful about the requirements for writing the paper. In most cases, your professor will give you a list of requirements. In some cases, you can find various guidelines on the faculty webpage. In any case, over 95% of all academic papers must follow specific guidelines. Make sure you find them and make sure you read them twice before you even think about a topic for the essay.

  1. Learn the Academic Writing Style

There are various academic writing styles, each with its own particularities. Ensure you know exactly which academic writing style you need to use in your paper. Depending on the requirements, you may need to write in one of the four main types of academic writing:

  • Critical
  • Analytical
  • Descriptive
  • Persuasive

You must learn the particularities of the style you need to use. There is simply no way around this. Writing a persuasive paper in a descriptive manner will get you a horrible grade – guaranteed.

Also, pay attention to the citation style. There are many citation styles, the most popular being APA, MLA and Chicago. There is nothing difficult about these. To learn how to use the citation style, just read the style guidebook. You can find a guidebook for any citation online with relative ease.

  1. Find a Good Academic Writing Sample

Now that you know the requirements and the styles you need to use, it’s time for some hands-on practice. All you have to do is get a good academic writing sample written by a seasoned writer. Why? Because simply by reading some academic writing examples you can learn quite a lot. You have the unique opportunity to see how an experienced academic writer structures his paper and how he supports his ideas and statements with hard evidence. You can even learn various advanced techniques if you get your hands on a great academic writing sample.

Yes, you can get examples from various websites on the Internet. However, never pay to download a pre-written sample. And if you get academic writing examples from the Internet, don’t copy from them. You risk getting caught and punished for plagiarism. The way a smart student gets an excellent academic paper sample is by contacting an academic writing service. These companies have some exceptional academic writers; writers who can create a sample for you from scratch. Only then can you use the content of the sample in your own work.

  1. Find an Excellent Topic

There are many types of academic writing, citations and styles. However, one thing remains the same: the importance of the topic. It is very important that you choose a topic that is not only unique but also captivating. Strive to find the best topic possible – if your professor has not assigned one – and you will most probably get bonus points. From the perspective of your teacher, you’ve dedicated quite a lot of time and effort to finding something extraordinary to write about. In the meantime, 90% of your peers have written essays on the same plain old topics the professor is bored of. This is why you will get bonus points and your classmates will not.

The main attributes of a topic are:

  • Originality – it must be original, not something everyone else is writing about.
  • Uniqueness – it must be unique, so your professor should not have read a paper on it yet.
  • Relatively complex – don’t pick an easy topic because you won’t be able to stick to the point and be concise. Adding sections just to reach the minimum word count will get you penalized.
  • Somewhat popular – you want a topic you can find enough information about. If you can’t find anything online about it, your workload will increase tenfold.
  • Interesting – the topic you choose should be of interest to the scientific community, obviously.
  1. Write the Thesis Statement

Academic writing requires you to have a thesis statement. This is basically a phrase or just a single sentence that captured the essence of your essay. It should instantly brief your readers about the whole point of your writing. It will basically show what you aim to achieve with your research. In most cases, you want to include the thesis statement in the first part of the introduction (most often it is the first phrase).

Do your best to write a clear, concise thesis statement. Make it punchy. It is, after all, your “angle”! You can get some good examples of thesis statements by reading well-written academic writing examples. Also, you can ask a seasoned academic writer from an academic writing service to help you with this. It won’t cost you much, but it will make a huge difference.

  1. Do the Research

The next thing you want to do is start doing the research. Keep in mind that academic essay writing requires you to research the topic in great depth. It’s not enough to discuss trivial facts. Your professor expects to see that you understand the topic and that you’ve analyzed all sides of the story. Your ability to do extensive research will differentiate your paper from others. And when it comes to academic essay writing, this usually means a top grade for you!

You are free to use the Internet for research as much as you like. However, don’t disregard the school library. You may find a lot of interesting research material there. Also, this is another thing an academic writer can help you with. These professionals have written hundreds of essays, so they know exactly how to research a topic – no matter how complex it may be.

  1. Write the Outline

You now have everything you need, but there is one small thing you need to do before you start writing the academic paper. Create an outline from the data you’ve gathered during the research. All main ideas should be headings. Less-important ideas will be subheadings. The outline will help you immensely to stay on track and to never lose your focus. Also, you will have a skeleton on which to build your academic paper.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, academic writing is not as difficult as you think – if you prepare in advance. The worst thing you can do is jump right in and start writing from the top of your head. Without even knowing the types of academic writing or the specifics of the academic writing style you need to use, you are basically doomed from the start. To do an exceptional job at academic essay writing, follow the 7 steps outlined above. Your chances of getting an A+ or an A will increase significantly.