Read the Prompt First
Every teacher has certain expectations from each assignment. Students must follow these requirements exactly, or they will be marked down. Before beginning the assignment, students should carefully read through the writing prompt. They should take note of the writing style and citation guidelines that must be used. In addition, they should pay attention to any expectations about the type of writing prompt, research requirements and word count. As the student writes, they should regularly check the prompt again to make sure that they have not strayed from the assignment's scope. They should also read through the writing prompt before they submit the assignment to make sure that they followed the directions exactly.
Making an Outline
While different types of writing will vary, most assignments will have the same general structure. In general, students will need to have an introduction, conclusion, thesis statement and body paragraphs. The introduction includes a thesis statement that sums up the entire argument that the student is making. While the introduction will introduce the argument, the conclusion's job is to sum up everything and restate the thesis. In between, body paragraphs include topic sentences that build on the argument. Each body paragraph will include two or three pieces of evidence that support the student's thesis statement.
For the majority of essays, students will be expected to find and include research about the topic. As the student conducts the research, they should write down relevant quotes, facts and statistics on separate note cards. Each source should have its own note card with all of the bibliographical information from the source. By doing this, students can ensure that they have all of the information needed for citations before they even begin writing. Carefully organized notes make the writing process faster and ensure that the student does not have to find research materials again to create citations.