HOW TO WRITE A PAPER AT THE LAST MINUTE
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Many students put a lot of effort into not doing their work. As the end of the year approaches and final assignments mount, they'll find they have to try a lot harder to not get the work done.
A week ago, tomorrow seemed a long way off, but the deadline looms: The four- or six- or eight-page paper must be turned in. But what if you've skipped a lot of classes or haven't read your textbook? What if you don't even own it yet?!
Then you're in trouble, but of course, it's not your fault. Life is hard and complicated.
At least that's what your professor will say when you get your paper back marked with a letter from the nether regions of the alphabet.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Writing final papers in a hurry is a skill just like, say, painting a fence. In fact, the two jobs have one common technique: use a lot of whitewash.
Here are five easy ways to write a good paper, at the last minute, with limited knowledge of the subject matter. You canUt be completely ignorant about your topic, but these methods may help conceal the flaws.
1.) Your point
This sounds easy, but it's actually the hardest part of the process. The teacher wants you to answer a question or defend a viewpoint in your paper.
Sometimes teachers give you a specific question, while other times you are given a general topic. Either way, the first thing you must do is think about what the teacher is asking for. Once you know that, you have a point to argue.
For example: What caused the fall of the Roman Empire? or Discuss how the fall of the Roman Empire might have occurred.
Think back on anything you might have read or heard in class on the topic, and try to plug in the missing factor that will turn that question into an answer. That's your thesis statement.
One thing to remember is that it doesn't have to be spectacular, or specific. Write about what you know. Don't try to guess "what the teacher wants," and don't be afraid to take a chance.
Keep in mind that a paper is written to defend a viewpoint. If there weren't multiple viewpoints, there would be no need for argument.
A thesis statement: The invention of the aqueduct caused the fall of the Roman Empire.
Just make sure that you can support whatever it is you're arguing. Don't start something you can't finish, and make sure you have in your first paragraph that one simple sentence explaining the point of your paper. With that, you have created a direction for your argument. Now, all you have to do is follow the path.
2.) For why or wherefore?
Don't try to sound smart. Keep your paper simple. A straightforward, easy-to-follow argument will get you an "A" every time.
Sometimes, when we're not sure what we're talking about, we try to use big words. For one, they fill up space and can inflate a three-page paper by almost half a page. But don't do it.
If length is your worry, then manipulate the type font and margins when you're finished.
When using big words to sound intelligent, the opposite often occurs. Last-minute papers turn into jumbled messes of multiple instances of "Therefore, as to whether..." and "Indeed, it is clear the fact that...." We try to mimic the rhythms of scholarly rhetoric, and end up sounding moronic.
For example: Therefore, the aqueducts of the Romans having been made of lead, the water supply for the city may well have been contaminated and caused many to go mad from lead poisoning.
That sentence fluffs up the paper, but is dull and boring. Too many words. Basic bad writing.
A better example would be: Many Romans suffered from madness brought on by lead poisoning because the city's water supply was contaminated by lead-lined aqueducts.
The latter sentence is precise. Remember, good writing is clear writing. Clear writing should include active verbs and simple subjects. Don't think your argument has to be complicated to be good.
A teacher will read a straightforward sentence as an indication that you know what youUre talking about, and, indeed, you will. The trick is pulling the right information from your mind, and stating it precisely.
Take whatever kernel of information you got from the class and narrow it down into simple statements. By doing that, you've taken the reins of your paper, and the rest is easy.
3.) Last-minute research
After scraping together an argument and writing down everything that you know can support it, you may find you've only got half a page of material.
Don't panic. Take your information and quickly look it up in the index of your textbook. Turn to those pages, and see if there is anything you missed (or never bothered to read) that might support your argument.
If there's any chance that your thesis will work, you should find something. When you do, quote it. That's the best way to stay close to what you know, fill up the pages, and still write a legitimately good paper.
Never plagiarize, but don't be afraid to use other people's arguments to support your own. Just make sure you credit them.
Remember, you have your point. Just pour through the book, finding anything that remotely relates to it. Make things work.
Again, take chances. Even if a particular passage only dimly supports your argument, use it. Just make sure that you explain how the quote relates to your point. That's called "putting it in context.". You have to set the quote up before slamming it down into your paper.
Simply explain why you think it supports your thesis, explain in simple terms what the quote says, and then quote away!
An example of a quote: According to the medical dictionary, "small doses of lead over a long period of time can cause increasing fits of psychosis."
(Then take a chance and make a connection.)
Water rushing over the lead-lined aqueducts carried just enough of the harmful element to slowly drive the entire population of Rome insane. The textbook states that the downfall of the empire began long before the aqueduct came into wide use. But the wealthy began using aqueducts long before they snaked through the city.
(Then, perhaps, another chance and another quote.)
The wealthy held all the political power in Rome, and made almost all decisions affecting the city. As the textbook states, "The ruling class of the Roman Empire was designated by their wealth."
There, you've just made a pretty good argument. Keep digging through the book, and don't be afraid to cheat a little. Remember, the bigger the quote, the longer the setup. You'll fill those pages in no time.
4.) 1-2-3 structure
Now that you've got your thesis, the rest is easy. The next thing to do is plan to write your paper in three parts.
The first is your opening paragraph. That's where you place your thesis statement (either as the first or last sentence.) The rest of the paragraph should be setup; explain your thesis. As a high-school English teacher once told me, "Say what you are going to say." That's step one.
Step two is the long part: "say it." You've got to support the claims you've made in the opening paragraph. Start each paragraph in this section with a straightforward "minithesis," and explain it (see Part 3.)
Here's a good example of a string of minithesis topics:
- The rulers of Rome were wealthy.
- The wealthy had aqueducts before the rest of the city.
- The empire began its decline before aqueducts were widespread.
- [D The fall of Rome is often attributed to poor leadership.
- The leadership was poor because the rulers were crazy with lead poisoning.
There, you've said it. Now comes the third step. "Say that you've said it." A final, wrap-up paragraph should summarize what you said in the second step. End with your thesis statement, but start it with a "therefore."
Therefore, the invention of the aqueduct caused the fall of the Roman Empire.
5.) Don't screw up
Now that you've gone through all four steps of writing a good last-minute paper, don't let stupid mistakes drop your grade.
Proofread. Make sure you cite sources. Manipulate the font and margins a little to meet the page-length requirement, but make sure you don't go too far. If you followed all these steps, you wonUt need to overdo it.
A solid argument is still a solid argument whether it's two pages or 10 pages long. The professor wants to know that you know what you're talking about.
Creating four-inch margins and overlooking obvious spelling mistakes will indicate the paper was a rush job, and may arouse suspicion. Even if there are only the tiniest holes in your argument, the teacher may go back and try to find them.
If you give yourself about five hours to go through these steps, you should come away with a pretty decent paper. Keep in mind that if you had slaved over it for weeks, you probably would get a better grade.
However, the grade you do receive may be worth the time you blew off enjoying the first warm weeks of spring, or the late nights you spent in the bar instead of in the library. Obviously, the more time you have, the better your grade.
Even if you awake and find you have only one-half hour to start and finish a paper or miss the deadline, there is still something you can do.
Go back to sleep.
Rome wasn't built in a day, but it takes a few hours to explain why it fell.
By Haley Osborne
12 February 2015
How to Write Research Paper Fast [Guide]
Research paper is considered as a long term assignment, when you have to spend a lot of time on research and then even more time to put the materials together and write a decent research paper.
However, what if you don’t have all that time? What if you’ve procrastinated too much, and the deadline is tomorrow but you have no ideas, no inspiration and no research materials for your paper. And you don’t want to buy research paper online. Fortunately, there is a plan not only to write a research paper fast, but to do it with the kind of style that will nab you a fantastic grade. Here is a minute by minute guide that will lead you to a complete writing assignment withing 2 hours approx.
15 Minutes: Research Paper Thesis
If you’re going to write a paper that works, you need a solid thesis. Remember, a thesis is the thing that explains what your whole paper is going to be about. For a research paper, you need to make an assertion in your thesis – that’s just a fancy way of saying that you’re going to prove something with your research.
Don’t worry too much about whether the thing you say you’re going to prove is actually true. For now, just write a thesis that boldly shows what you think. If in the course of your research you find that you’re dead wrong, you just change a few words and no one is the wiser.
Example: Cheese is the healthiest snack available, and eating it will make you stronger, smarter, and invincible.
Revision: Broccolli is one of the most amazing snacks available, and eating it is proven to make you smarter, healthier, and more attractive to the opposite sex.
30 Minutes: Basic Research
Okay, now you need some research to support your assertion that broccoli is truly amazing. You’ll need to do some Googling to make sure you get the kind of high-quality support that your teacher wants to see.
In order to not waste your time with ads for Broccolli soup, you need to use a few important search rules that will save you time. For example, you could put in “Brocolli Health Benefits” into your search bar.
This will help, but it may not always lead to the kind of high-quality, non-commercial lead you want. Instead, try adding the term “site:.edu”.
Now, you’re getting that deep research that your professor really wants to see, plus you’re adding in lots of juicy proof for your main ideas. You can also choose site:.org for more great information.
Time-Saving Hint: After your Google search, click on the page that you think is awesome. Then, scan the page until you find what you’re looking for that will prove a portion of your main assertion. Instead of writing down the information now, just copy the URL from your browser and paste it into a new window. Then, you can just go to your previous window and back out to see your awesome search results again. You can even save similar information in different search bar windows.
15 Minutes: Writing Paper Outline
Now that you have your main research ideas organized into different search windows, you can go into your document program and create the rest of your outline around your main thesis. It should look something like this:
I. Intro Paragraph
C. Thesis – Broccoli is one of the most amazing snacks available, and eating it is proven to make you smarter, healthier, and more attractive to the opposite sex.
II. Body Paragraph
A. Main Idea
B. Proof from research
III. Body Paragraph (Repeat as needed)
IV. Conclusion Paragraph
C. Restate Thesis
All you have to do now is fill in the blanks. Copy and paste your proof from research into as many paragraphs as you need to be able to complete your assignment. Then, jot down quick ideas about how you can transition from one idea to the next.
Time-Saving Hint: Don’t worry about spending a lot of time on this, just get down a word or two so that you can get your thoughts in order. You’ll spend the bulk of your time actually writing down full sentences based on this rough framework.
30 Minutes: Writing
Now, you have a good idea of what you’re going to say and how to say it. If you really did complete the outline, you can totally finish your whole paper in 30 minutes – as long as you type fast. Basically, you are going to complete the sentences and transitions that you created in your outline and then make sure that they make sense. Also, you are going to make sure that write a great Hook and Clincher.
Hook: This is the first element of your research paper, and it should get your professor’s attention. This can be an interesting quote, a strange fact, or create a picture in the reader’s mind. Even for research papers, it’s okay to be interesting and fun with your hook.
Clincher: This is the final line in your paper. It should also be interesting and provocative. It should give the reader the final impression you want them to take away from your research and look towards the future, based on your research. For example: In fact, broccoli is so incredible, it’s likely that research will continue to show it’s health and social benefits for years to come.
Time-Saving Hint: Avoid spending time on editing and spelling mistakes. Right now, your job is to write for 30 minutes straight so that you can get all the ideas on paper. You can go back and fix mistakes later.
15 Minutes: Editing
Now, you can fix all the mistakes you made during your mad dash to get the words out. But, you don’t want to waste time on minor mistakes if you’ve made a major one that needs more attention. Here’s how to do it fast so that your paper had the best chance of success:
- Go through your paper and ensure that each paragraph can be directly connected to your thesis statement.
- Make sure all the paragraphs flow. If they are in the wrong order, this is the time to change them.
- Include any citations that need to be added for your research by linking with footnotes inserting the URL (for now).
- Read the opening and closing paragraphs back to back. Do they sound similar? That’s a good thing. If they are exactly the same, that is a bad thing.
- Read your paper to yourself quickly (or have a friend do it). Note any grammar or spelling mistakes and fix them now.
15 Minutes: Citation and Essay Check
You’ve almost finished. Now, you need to insert the correct citation page for all those amazing footnotes or citations you included in your paper. Go to Citation Machine and choose the style that your professor expects you to cite in. Follow the directions for the type of resources you’re including and simply copy and paste the results into your paper!
There you have it! An award-winning research paper in two hours. All it takes is a little planning, some good time-saving methods, and quick fingers, and you can save yourself a huge amount of time and hassle stressing over your writing.
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