Writing the Semester-end Term Paper: Plan to Write a Great Essay

Writing the Semester-end Term Paper: Plan to Write a Great Essay
The semester-end term paper can be intimidating to some students, but with a solid plan and hard work, a student can turn in a winning essay.

How many students wait until the last minute (say, Thanksgiving break or just after Spring Break) to begin tackling their term papers? Consequently, how many students feel stressed out and panicked, wondering if they'll be able to finish writing those papers and write them well, all while studying for final exams? While students don't want to get started on the very first day of class, the sooner a student begins working on a term paper that's due at the end of the semester, the better. Here are some tips to help students master the term paper.
Choose the Essay Topic
The first step in writing a term paper is, of course, choosing one's topic. The problem is that term papers often involve writing about a topic studied in class. The term paper is usually an extension of class, where the student has researched the topic more in depth and then discussed it in an essay. If a student chooses his topic too soon, he may decide later on to change his mind. Perhaps his topic was too broad or too narrow. If he waits for just a week or two, he will likely make a better decision.
The best way to choose a topic is to review the course calendar and see what topics will be covered in class. If a student finds a particular topic she thinks she'll want to learn more about, the idea is probably a good fit. The best way to find out is to talk with the professor just to make sure the topic is appropriate. It's best way to student has made her essay choice about one-quarter of the way through class; in a typical semester, that would be about a month into the course.
Map Out a Plan
Students often go astray at this point. They think, "I've chosen my topic. Whew. That's done. Now I can concentrate on class." But this is actually the perfect opportunity to begin tackling the paper - even if a student doesn't actually begin writing his paper, he can (and should) begin researching his topic.
But how long should a student research? The best thing to keep in mind for a student is to actually map out a plan. Take out a calendar and count the number of weeks between the present and finals week. How many weeks are there? How many weeks does the student anticipate actually needing to write the paper? Once the student has decided on a tentative timeline, she should mark it on her calendar. Not a week should go by that she hasn't done something to make progress toward that goal.


Some tasks she will want to include as part of her plan are as follows:
• After choosing the topic, write down questions meant to narrow the scope of research
• Researching the topic: looking up information online, checking out sources, taking notes (it's best to start with a broad overview first - sometimes it's helpful to start with a general overview from an encyclopedia, just to get the basics, and then moving on to more in-depth information)
• Creating an outline - deciding the direction of the paper and coming up with major points of discussion, as well as an introduction and conclusion
• Drafting the essay
• Revising and polishing the essay
• Some students like to have a "cushion," a little extra time just in case they need it
Once she's mapped out her plan, she should stick to it as closely as possible. Obviously, the timeframes may need to be adjusted, but staying as close to her plan as possible will take the stress out of the project.
Devote a Fair Amount of Time to the Essay
Having a plan in place means nothing if the student doesn't actually spend time slowly working toward the end goal. The best thing for the student to do is to plan to spend a particular amount of time each week working on the essay. Obviously, the certain amount of time is up to the student, but at least one or two hours a week would help. This time should be spent researching and reading and plotting what shape the paper will ultimately take. Closer to the end of the semester, that time will be spent actually writing.
Semester-end term papers needn't be difficult and they certainly shouldn't be stressful. By choosing a topic early on, creating a plan, and then sticking to it with the intention of spending time every week on the paper, a student will probably be surprised at how easy writing a term paper can be. Avoid waiting to the last minute, which can result in a poorly-written essay and more stress than necessary.

This article originally appeared on http://essay-writing.suite101.com/article.cfm/writing-the-semester-end-term-paper-plan-to-write-a-great-essay#ixzz0pnGHI1wj

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