Tips From an Irvine English Tutor: 5 Tips to Help You be a Great Student Writer
Communicating in the written word is one of the most essential skills that any student can have regardless of their grade level. However, it’s especially important for college prep students to master the art of writing so they can produce a killer personal statement, write a fabulous SAT or ACT essay, and produce high quality writing in general from research papers to basic emails. Many students love to write and will focus on the written word with ease, however most students suffer from a long-term case of writers block (which is very common) and may procrastinate when it comes to improving writing skills. Here are a few tips from an Irvine English tutor that students, regardless of their current skill level, can practice to improve upon their writing ability.
1. Use practice writing prompts
Students who wait to work with the writing prompt that is given to them by an AP exam, or the SAT or ACT, may find themselves entirely overwhelmed. As a way to avoid this type of anxious writer’s block, students are encouraged to practice responding to prompts that don’t emit the pressure that a standardized exam would. Practice makes perfect in many things and this certainly holds true when it comes to writing. The more a student writes the more they become comfortable and confident as a writer, thus making their quality and flow better with time (Read: “4 Last Minute Things to do Before Going Back to School”).
2. Read works from the great writers of the past (but also focus on modern writers)
Students are usually introduced to the great books list and famous writers of the past within the school environment. However, students will need to write informally in many situations and this style of writing isn’t generally found in historic literature. In order to be a good writer, both formally and informally, students are encouraged to read text and periodicals from modern writers. These could come in the form of a nonfiction book, blog, newspaper, or magazine. Basically, the more students read the more they’re likely to become a skilled writer.
3. Write about something you know and like
Students are encouraged to write about things they know about when they are attempting to improve upon their skill and ability. For example, the student could write about their passion for skateboarding or surfing rather than discuss why they would like to attend a particular university. Although this later prompt will eventually be something everyone will have to write about, it’s not the first thing they have to learn. Students are encouraged to write about things they know about when they are attempting to improve upon their skill and ability. For example, the student could write about their passion for skateboarding or surfing rather than discuss why they would like to attend a particular university. Although this later prompt will eventually be something everyone will have to write about, it’s not the first thing they have to learn (READ: “5 Reads Students Should Blog”).
4. Write now, edit later
Many students get overwhelmed trying to write a “perfect” essay or passage. This will generate very few sentences written over a very long period of time. A better way to start out is to simply write. Students shouldn’t be concerned with typos, misspellings, grammar errors, or even content in the first draft. Once they have the initial draft down, they can edit for content and then later edit for grammar. As with most good writers, it’s better to write now and edit later.
5. Get some constructive criticism
Another great way for students to learn what direction they need to take their writing in is to get some constructive criticism. They can ask their teacher to talk with them after school, consult a tutor, or join a writing club. It’s important for students to talk to somebody who has experience in the field so they can understand how to go about getting their thoughts across in a concise and effective manner.
Writing is one of the most important skills students can have. Regardless of a person’s future career choice or major field of study, written communication is an essential part of education and life in general. Students who take the time to improve their writing skills in high school have a better chance of being accepted to a college on their top 10 list and will also have a better chance of communicating with potential colleagues, professors, supervisors, and friends.
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