How to Succeed in Composition
- Review your syllabus carefully.
Make sure you understand the assignments, required formats,
grading standards, and policies for withdrawals and incompletes.
Note: College instructors use a variety of assessment
methods. Some assign specific points for each paper, quiz,
and examination for a total of 1,000 points. Others require
students to write a variety of papers, then turn in a portfolio
of what they consider their best work to determine their
final grade. If you are unsure what is expected from you
or how your work will be graded -- ask your instructor.
- Read the description of all the assignments in
By reading about all the assignments first, you can think
ahead and begin collecting ideas for future papers. Often
you may be able to use material from other courses or your
job experiences as topics for assignments.
- Record the due dates of the papers on a calendar.
Plan your semester carefully so you will give yourself enough
time for planning, writing, and revising each assignment.
- Become familiar with your textbooks.
Textbooks often contain glossaries, checklists, and guidelines
that can assist you in completing your assignments. If you
have a handbook, spend some time to learn how the text is
arranged. Study the table of contents and index so you can
quickly locate information. Use post-it notes or bookmarks
to identify sections that address areas you have had trouble
with in the past.
- Read the descriptions of assignments carefully.
Study the sample essays and those in the reader for samples
of the kind of paper you will be writing. Refer to the
assignment when you revise your work. Too often you can
become sidetracked while writing and devote a great deal
of time and energy developing a paper that does not meet
the instructor's requirements.
- Study your returned papers for ways of improving
Read the comments, especially those highlighting grammar
errors. Then examine rough drafts of the next paper to eliminate
- KEEP A COPY OF ALL THE PAPERS YOU SUBMIT
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Sundance Reader, Third Edition, Web Site by Mark