Tips for earning higher grades on written assignments



For easy ways to improve your paper, please see my English Matters page.



When you're finished with a draft, use the following "Handy Checklist For Better Critical Writing" adapted from Douglas J. Soccio's How to Get the Most Out of Philosophy (Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1998) 90:



Review this list whenever you write, proofread, or revise.

Is the first paragraph so clear that any reader will know exactly what the topic is?

Does the first or second paragraph clearly describe your strategy for dealing with your topic?

Are all sentences grammatically correct?

Are all sentences punctuated correctly?

Are all words spelled correctly?

Is your essay or paper well organized?

Does your essay or paper use specific examples and language to show that you are familiar with the assigned readings and any other important material?

Does your essay or paper end with a clear and obvious summation and conclusion, keyed precisely and directly to what you say in the body of the text?

Are your topic and conclusion paragraphs consistent?

Are all sources properly documented (footnotes, etc.)? Does your paper have a complete, properly formatted (and punctuated) list of works cited? NB: Bible references should be included in the paper within parentheses.

Have you followed all formatting instructions given above?

Have you proofread the final version of your essay or paper?