7 Strategies For Finishing Your Term Paper Early


You know the type of student I am thinking about: just days before their term paper is due, they suddenly get cracking and decide to burn the midnight oil for three consecutive nights in a bid to start, refine, and finish their papers. Oddly, some students thrive under these conditions and can ace their papers while others turn in poor assignments which reflect their obvious lack of preparedness or incomplete research.

college studentJust maybe you fit this criteria too: a student who procrastinates, someone who puts everything off until the last possible moment.

Putting It Off

What astonishes me about students who habitually hold off getting started is that if they were to begin their assignments immediately, then they would save themselves much in the way of time wasted, energy expended, and stress created, as well as increase the likelihood of obtaining a higher grade.

Now that that the spring semester is here, you may have already received your term paper assignments. Let’s explore seven strategies to help your finish your term paper early and receive a high grade:

1. Identify your subject. You may already know what you want to write about, but is there sufficient information available to help you complete your research in a timely manner? If your topic is too broad, then get specific—do not try to cover everything; stay focused.

2. Draft an outline. Stay on target by drafting an outline. From introduction through summation, there should be several points made. You will expand on these ideas when doing your research, but consider starting off with six or seven key points, narrowing that down to three or four essentials when you write your term paper.

3. Begin your research. In the first step you did a cursory look to determine what information is available to you (i.e., journals, magazine and newspaper articles, and books), but now you need to find your sources. Your sources will comprise the bulk of your research, which is what you will cite in your bibliography.

4. Dig deeper. Online access has made it easier for students to find good sources for term papers, but separating the wheat from the chaff is not always easy. Plan to search websites ending with edu and gov web extensions while staying with respected periodicals such as The New York Times, Consumer Reports, Los Angeles Times, university journals, and other respected sources.

5. Evaluate your findings. By now, you have plenty of research information available to you. You have read your articles, worked your way through various books and journals, and have a firm grasp of the subject. Use this time to strengthen your weak points through additional research while narrowing your focus where you have too much information.

6. Draft your term paper. As soon as you have enough information, start writing. That way, what you read is fresh in your mind and can easily be expanded, trimmed, or tweaked later on. Besides, once you have completed your first draft, the hardest part of your term paper is now out of your way. Expect to do at least two full rounds of revisions before you submit your final copy.

7. Cite away. The difference between a good term paper and an excellent term paper can rest on the sources you cite. You will be citing as you go along, but as you fine tune your draft you will also need to find supporting documentation. Make sure that you cite in the exact way that your professor expects which would either be APA (American Psychological Association) or MLA (Modern Language Association) style references. Make good use of online style guides and consider using Citation Machine to make sure that you do it right.

Set Your Schedule

I made no mention of a schedule, as I am making one rather large assumption: that within two or three days of receiving your term paper assignment, you have already identified your topic.

Once you have your first step out of the way, then moving forward is easy. No, the research may not be easy, but the first hurdle in getting started has been scaled which means if you stay motivated and continue with your work, your first draft should be completed within the next month.

Less pressure on you means much more time for careful editing, allowing you to craft a winning term paper with time to spare.


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Categories: Study Tips