It’s the one aspect of college that most students dread: essay writing. Virtually every class will require you to write at least one essay, and there may be a laundry list of requirements or questions you’ll have to answer in your paper.

Instead of panicking about your upcoming essays, use these tips to improve your essay writing and impress your professor.

1. Expand Your Vocabulary

Expanding your vocabulary will help you express your thoughts in a more clear, concise way. Keep in mind that expanding your vocabulary doesn’t necessarily mean that you should drag out your sentences unnecessarily. 

Get your point across in as few words as possible and in an eloquent way. 

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Your first semester of college has been a barrage of heavy reading, high-pressure exams, and challenging class discussions. So far, you’ve been holding your own, but your confidence begins to crumble when you get your first major writing assignment. You’ve never had to work so hard to write a paper this long and complicated. Gone are your days of reading Spark Notes and throwing together a paper an hour before it’s due. 

If you’re staring at a blank Word document with no idea where to start, don’t despair. Fortunately, help is all around you. Here are four tips to help you ace your essays.

1. Follow the prompt.

There isn’t one right way to write a college-level paper; every essay will have different requirements. Before you write a bunch of material you can’t use, spend some time reading over the assignment guidelines. Look for keywords that reveal what approach you should take and what skills you need to demonstrate. 

For example, if your professor asks you to “report your experiment’s results” or “summarize the article,” your writing needs to be concise and objective. If, on the other hand, the prompt asks you to “present an argument” or “formulate a thesis,” providing a brief overview of a topic isn’t enough; you need to take a position on a specific issue and provide evidence to prove your opinion is valid. 

Words like “describe,” “explain,” “discuss,” or “analyze” indicate you need to go into detail. If your analysis would fit in a Tweet, it needs more development. One way to ensure you’re being thorough is to pretend your audience hasn’t read the novel or isn’t familiar with the topic, so you need to explain key concepts and provide examples. Don’t gloss over something just because your professor already knows about it.

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In 2018, it feels like anyone who takes the time and commitment to do something they’ve always dreamed of doing can accomplish it. There are Gen Zers as young as 18 doing business on Instagram and using all the right Instagram Tools, and business leaders who have dreamed of it for years are finally going remote, using ACH payments to pay their employees. Writers are taking on the online world by becoming content writers and bloggers, and many of them are publishing ebooks, putting their book’s destiny into their own hands. And you’ve been inspired by this, which is why you’re thinking of writing a fantasy novel.

After all, fantasy is a genre that everyone loves. Especially now with shows like Game of Thrones being so popular, you love the idea of writing one. But you aren’t exactly sure where to start. Luckily, here are some tips that’ll help you embark on one of the greatest journeys of your life: writing your first fantasy book.

Read your favorite authors--and some new ones, too

A world of fantasy is an amazing place. It’s a place to get lost in, a distant land where values are different than they are in our modern world, and where almost anything can happen. Whether it’s Tolkien that first inspired you, or J.K. Rowling (who was successful enough to make $95 million between June 2016-17), you vividly remember every detail. Every character you met, and the way the language magically captured each place perfectly. And if you want to write something like that, it’s important to read the authors you love most. While you’re doing this, jot down some notes about what they do well when it comes to character development, structure (including structure analyses of chapters), dialogue, and language.

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In today’s fast paced, tech-driven world, some of the more traditional forms of communication and socializing have gone out the window. Sticklers from older generations bemoan the lack of manners from young folks and balk at the fact that very few of today’s youth know how to politely answer a phone, use a typewriter, or write in cursive. Another lost art? Proper grammar and spelling.

We have become so reliant on smart phones and tech devices to correct our poor punctuation and sentence structure that without these tools, we would be lost. And certainly, there are numerous programs to prevent major grammatical errors in everything from casual emails to important documents, but sometimes these programs lack of the sophisticated detectors to prevent 100% of mistakes.

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