Writing assignments for high school: 5 study methods

High school is the time in most students' lives when the number and depth of writing assignments required ramps up considerably. For students who are accustomed to only writing brief essays fairly rarely as they did in middle school, this increase in expectations can cause a great deal of stress and can have a negative impact on grade point average.

While it takes everyone a while to get used to working on writing assignments on a regular basis, there are some studying habits and hints that can help ease the transition to high school writing. Below are some ideas. Follow these tips and you can become a better essay writer, improve your grades, and even prepare for writing-intensive classes in college!

  1. Schedule Regular Writing Times
  2. Many students falsely believe that in order to write, they must be in "the mood", or currently be in a state of optimal concentration or preparedness. This is only true for people who put off their writing assignments to the very last minute and catch up in frantic, stressful "binge writing" sessions. Save yourself the stress! Instead of waiting until the last minute and writing your papers all at once, schedule regular times throughout the week to work on your paper.

  3. Take Advantage of Free Time
  4. Use your study hall classes, or schedule time after school or during the weekends. A two or three hour bracket of time is sufficient. During this period, complete as much writing work as you can, and leave yourself a place to pick up off from then next time you have a writing period. This will ensure that you are always chipping away at your assignments, and have no reason to lose sleep working on something at the last minute.

  5. Brainstorm Before Writing
  6. When you have a writing assignment coming up, spend some time thinking very broadly and roughly about the assignment. Don't start the paper before you are ready; this will only cause you to waste time and stress over what to write, and can actually cause writers block. Take loose, open-ended notes on the writing prompt or assignment. Allow your creative juices to flow!

  7. Outline
  8. After you have brainstormed a bit about the content you want to appear in your paper, write down a rough outline of the order in which you wish to tackle these topics. Make sure everything flows in a way that makes sense. It should be much easier to write the paper when you have a roadmap of where you're going.

  9. Read!
  10. It may seem obvious, but the best way to learn how to write essays is to read them! Get samples from your instructors. Read essays in books like the annual editions of the Best American Essays series, or in magazines such as Harper's or the New Yorker. There are many high quality essays online that can help you develop your own writing ability and voice.

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