It is natural, that many students find it hard to evaluate their own work and identify whether it is written well. A few of them know what the key features for professors to focus on when grading a paper are. What follows is general check list to help you figure out whether your paper is done well.
Good sign#1: Address the main question in the introduction
Let’s start with an introduction paragraph. The first paragraph should reveal the main question of your essay. If your topic is not described briefly in this part, the essay has failed. Be specific, but avoid going into too much detail — you don’t need any examples or broad explanations in your introduction.
Your professor wants to know whether you understand the main question right. Therefore, correct usage of specific terminology in your introduction will demonstrate that you have a good insight into the topic.
The last part of your introduction paragraph should structure your argument or outline the argument’s method. Now let’s move on.
Good sign#2: Stay focused on the topic (especially, in the conclusion)
Some students think that conclusion is a part of the paper where one can write random things since everything has been already said in the previous paragraphs. Wrong! Conclusion should readdress your key ideas expressed earlier and summarize each point of your paper in a logical order.
Never deviate from the topic in the conclusion. But how can you make sure that something is on point? Just ask yourself whether this information helps you respond to the main essay question. If not — cut it from the text. For instance, if you have been writing about Norse mythology all the time, don’t start discussing how modern cinema uses mythological figures in Marvel movies.
The main trick is to mention key aspects in a concise way.
Good sign #3: Use quotes correctly
Make sure that you quote other authors reasonably. It means that you should include quotes only when you really need them. For example, you need a quote when you want to defend your point of view with an authoritative opinion or prove that you are not misinterpreting the source. Or you have to quote an expert when you include information that you could not know without this quote. If you cite an author who says something anyone could have said, you are including unnecessary waffle (your professor will not like that).
Obviously, a good sign is when you use every quote correctly and introduce it to explain the reader why you put it there.
Good sign #4: You use formal academic language
For an academic essay, you have to use formal language. There are certain things to avoid in the essay:
You need to answer an essay question, not to state more questions.
- First Person Singular
- First Person Plural
- Second Person
Word I is not used in the academic language.
Avoid using us or we in the paper, too. It is irrelevant for academic writing style.
The word you is going to entangle your reader in the net of your argument and distract them from what you are actually saying.
In formal language, you should avoid writing don’t instead of do not.
Colloquialisms are unsuitable for academic language since they imply familiarity with the audience and sometimes obscure the meaning of words you are using.
Consider the above list of the most common recommendations to make sure that your chances to get higher grades increase!