The most common mistake students make when writing a paper is not understanding the assignment. What this means is that they lack clarity as to what exactly needs to be written. The first thing that needs to be done before starting on a paper of any kind is an in-depth analysis of the assignment itself. This helps a student develop a mental map of what they’re going to write, and also provides direction for them as they go about their work. You can’t simply start writing unless you know what you’re going to say, and how you’re going to say it. Without this crucial step of reading the assignment carefully, many students find themselves lost halfway through their work with no idea where to take it.
Another common mistake is to have a lack of research on the topic. Writing a paper without any background information will not only lead to poorly thought out arguments but also bring about an inherent incompleteness in what you’re saying. It can be difficult to find time for extensive research, especially if one has multiple other commitments outside of schoolwork, yet it’s often worth taking the extra time to gather reliable sources that strengthen your arguments and provide new ideas for possible angles of approach. This way, your work becomes richer and more creative as you incorporate different perspectives into it rather than having it all come from your own head. If there are key points you try to make throughout your writing, then they need support either from the sources you’ve cited or from your own findings.
Another common mistake is to use incorrect language and format for a paper. This includes things such as incorrect punctuation, not using proper citations, and an overall lack of clarity in the sentences themselves. When writing a paper, you need to make sure that there are no grammatical mistakes, as those will take away from the credibility of what you’re saying. It also needs to be clear how one sentence flows into another because without this flow it will be difficult to read and understand. When writing a paper, clarity is key; if a reader cannot understand exactly what you mean then your point gets lost among words that don’t fully convey what you intended them to say. There are many resources out there to help with grammar, punctuation, etc., so there’s no excuse for not using them properly.
One last mistake that students make is to use flowery language when it isn’t necessary. While you may have a very good point to make, writing in a flowery language only serves to cause confusion for the reader who doesn’t know what you mean by “the manner of his discourse was thus evocative of the tempestuousness that is emblematic of our condition as human beings in this world.” The assignment didn’t ask you to write in an overly complicated way; rather, it asked you to write clearly and intelligibly so that anyone can understand what you’re trying to say. This means that if you can get your point across with simple language then there’s no reason to use more complicated sentence structures and vocabulary. It will only serve to make your work more difficult for a reader to understand, and not in a good way, so be wary of using it when writing a paper.
Avoiding these mistakes can help enhance your chances of writing a paper that will stand out among peers and impress professors.