Now you're ready to begin putting your paper together. Here are some steps that have worked well for many of the most successful students.
First, assemble all the materials you'll need to do the draft. These include all your notecards, recall patterns, photocopied pages and other sources; enough pens, pencils and paper; and your typewriter or word processor, if that's appropriate.
As you already know if you have one, a word processor can be an invaluable tool when you begin to write. On most of these computers you can move text about, make inserts and deletions freely, and type more quickly with such advantages as the "wrap-around" feature, which eliminates the need to return the typewriter carriage.
Begin to write your draft by following the sequence you've chosen on your master recall pattern. Refer back to the supporting recall patterns and index cards when you need specific facts and quotations that you couldn't include on the master pattern.
To facilitate reading and editing, it's wise to learn to compose a first draft on a typewriter or word processor. Be sure to double-space and leave ample margins. If you write by hand, leave plenty of space between lines and wide margins so there will be adequate room to make editing notes and alter the text. Use this format on the final draft, too, so you can put the paper in a binder if necessary and also provide the teacher with room to write in comments.
Play it straight as you write. Don't try to be "literary" or use an affected, overblown style. The best writing is simple and clear, with a majority of sentences set in the active rather than the passive voice. Check Strunk and White's classic, The Elements of Style, for guidance.
Use plenty of paragraphs—preferably at least three or four per typed, double-spaced page. The more you break up the page with paragraphs, the easier it is for the instructor to read and understand your organization.
Each paragraph should deal with one major thought and should flow naturally and logically to the next paragraph. If a transition between paragraphs seems choppy, rewrite or insert a phrase or sentence to make the transition smoother.
Use sections, subsections and underlining when appropriate. Obviously, you don't want to overdo any of these text divisions. But as with paragraphs, an intelligently constructed set of subheadings or underlinings (to highlight important material) can make reading move along much more easily.
The basic structure for most papers includes the following:
1. An introduction, which states the main theme of the paper clearly. As some pundit once said, "Tell them what you're going to say; next, tell them; and finally, tell them what you've said." Obviously you don't want to be redundant; however, it's important in a paper to make it clear at the outset where you plan to take the reader.
2. The body of the paper, which includes each of your main points, with supporting facts and footnotes. It was in this section that our honors student, Beth, inserted the reasons that the South went to war. Remember to keep your paragraphs relatively short as you make your presentation.
3. The conclusion, which contains a summary of your main points. Be sure that the evidence you've marshalled supports your argument.
4. Documentation. Double-check all footnotes to be sure your citations and format are accurate. Also, prepare your bibliography.
Edit and proofread your first draft, paying close attention to your grammar, spelling and syntax. Also, check to see that your argument and presentation flow along smoothly. If any section of the draft seems rough, or doesn't seem to follow from the previous section, try to come up with a better transition. If you can't think of a good transition, perhaps you need to rethink the organization of the paper.
Postview the draft, asking yourself some important final questions: Have I proved my basic thesis? Do I lack sufficient facts in any part of the paper? Does my overall organization seem natural, or does it seem artificial or strained? (If the organization isn't adequate, you may have to move your facts and points around, or you may even have to rewrite the paper. The best students are always ready to do a second or third draft if that seems necessary.)
Stage 6: Prepare the Filial Draft
If you've done a thorough job with your preliminary drafts, the final draft of your paper should be a cinch. Here are the suggested steps:
Arrange the paper in the following sequence for final typing:
1. Title page, including the title of the paper, your name and address, the date, the class designation and the name of the teacher.
2. Table of contents, if used, with chapters, section headings and page numbers (this feature frequently impresses a teacher).
3. Preface or introduction, if used.
4. The main text, with introduction, body and conclusion.
5. Footnotes (if they are placed at the end of the paper).
Retype your paper in the above order; number the pages in order; and proofread the entire paper. Then turn it in —and expect a higher grade than you've received in the past.
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Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.