A picture is worth a 1000 words. Unfortunately none of them will increase the word count.

Writing for school. Either you love it or you…have a difficult relationship that can be improved. Writing better isn’t just about adding filler to reach the word count and trying to use sophisticated language.

Often writing with clarity and purpose will help convey your thesis or argument. After all, writing is just another form of communication!

Follow these tips for your next writing assignment.

Look for your interests

Willy Wonka leaning on one hand with someone saying "Please, tell us more."
When you find something that peaks your interest.

It’s easier to write an essay when you’re enthusiastic about the topic. Of course, we don’t always get to pick the topic but even finding one detail that peaks your interest can improve your motivation to write.

An essay about world religions for an elective class? Let’s talk about the winter solstice celebration. World economy? Enlighten your peers about doge coin.

Be ready with your research

Detective Pikachu raising magnifying glass to his eye.

It can be difficult to write on the fly, especially if you have to do research. Tackle research as a preliminary phase of your writing so you’re familiar with the material before you start.

Then, open another tab and reference your research notes. This will prevent having to search through your research material trying to find that one citation!

Plan it out

Sylvester from Looney Tunes working hard to draw schematics.

Having a good flow and structure to your writing makes it easier to read. (Your professors will thank you!)

Plan out the structure of your paper by jotting down your ideas and the research to support it. Group similar points together so that you’re not jumping back and forth between ideas. But if you want to reference an idea again, you can use the phrase “as stated above” to avoid repetition.

Take this chance to ensure all your points support your argument or answer the essay topic. There’s nothing like finishing an essay only to realize you’ve strayed from the original argument.

The anatomy of lizards? So,—you don’t want to know how Dairy Queen constructs their blizzards?

Aim for clarity

Cartoon pug with eyepatch cleaning the ground with a lint roller.
You cleaning up unnecessary words in your writing.

Use the active voice to write with clarity and avoid overly descriptive language. Clean up your sentences and eliminate multi-word phrases in favour of the verb. For example, replace “provided an answer” with “answered.”

Find yourself restating your points? Less is more.

Be concise

Stop motion animation of pencil sharpening and unsharpening with hovering text "What's the point?"

Only have one idea in each sentence. Don’t let run on sentences take over your writing! Keeping your sentences short and to the point will also help the readability of your writing.

Change the font when proofreading

News reporter pointing with glasses in hand saying "I gotcha."
When you spot a typo just before submitting your assignment.

Proofreading isn’t the most fun task, but it’s a sign that you’re almost done! Staring at the same word document can be taxing and after a while everything begins to look the same—uh oh.

Switching the document’s font can make typos stand out when editing. Plus, put your essay into Google translate and hear it read aloud. This is great for giving your eyes a break and catching any awkward phrasing.

Visit the Writing Centre

Cartoon book with the text "The More You Know" appearing inside.

The Writing Centre is the place to be with free online tutoring for all Humber and Guelph-Humber students. You can get help with thesis development, essay structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling and citation styles. Wow!

To book a writing tutor, use their online system, register an account and select an available time slot.

That’s the last of our tips to write better in school. Now it’s time to get a coffee and break out your laptop for your next writing session.

You’ve got this!

Need a fantastic space that’ll motivate you? These seven cool desk set-ups will inspire you to study.

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