Midterm Tips from the Jones White Writing Center

Posted on 10/15/2018 11:59:46 AM

Now that midterms are upon us, it is time to begin working on term papers. With a multitude of topics, formats, and other requirements to be met, these assignments may seem overwhelming, especially when they count toward a significant portion of your grade. To help make them a little less intimidating, the tutors at the Jones White Writing Center have some advice to offer when it comes to tackling term papers.

1. Outlining

It may be difficult to keep track of ideas and formulate the layout of a paper mentally. Pre-writing helps you to organize your thoughts to get started. One of the more popular forms of pre-writing is outlining, which allows you to arrange your ideas into a structured list.

“I would suggest outlining as a good tool to write thoughts down and get them in an order,” says writing center tutor Elle Snead, adding “also, jotting down what information they really want to include in their paper and figuring out what goes where in each part of the outline.” 

2. Write Out of Order

Writing the body portion of the paper first may help inspire ideas for an introduction or conclusion. 

“What can be helpful when writing is to write the paper out of order,” says tutor Laura Wick. “Start with your body paragraphs and explaining the points you want to address. Then, base your introduction and conclusion off of that.”           

3. Avoid Procrastination

It is common for college students to put off assignments until the last second, resulting in work that is noticeably rushed. Starting early will give you more time to edit and improve your paper.  

“My best advice would be to not procrastinate,” says tutor Diana Forry. “Prepare to draft and edit, especially if it’s a paper that has been pieced together throughout the semester. You’re creating a final project, not just cutting and pasting.” 

Jared Burkhardt, who also works at the writing center, shares a similar sentiment. “Rush-job papers are easy to distinguish from more well-thought-out ones.” 

4. Visit the Writing Center

The Jones White Writing Center is a resource for students looking for guidance in writing and editing papers of various styles, formats, and topics. Student writers, more often than not, benefit from having someone else read their paper to identify things that may need revision. At the Writing Center, you have the opportunity to collaborate with tutors who will assist you with the writing process from brainstorming ideas to cleaning up grammar and spelling. 

Term papers may seem scary, but with focus, hard work, and help from others, you can write something to be proud of.