Stop Writing Research Papers The Night Before They're Due

Writing research papers might seem like a difficult challenge once you reach college. Forming good work habits early on is a better idea to keep yourself out of trouble with late-night, last minute hurdles. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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How You Can Stay Ahead of the Game

Few masterpieces are put together in one night, and it's highly unlikely that many students can write amazing research papers in such a short amount of time. Procrastination is not your friend when it comes to putting together a quality paper. If you want to hand in the best product possible to your professor, there are some steps you should be sure to take.

1. Make sure you understand the assignment.

As soon as your professor assigns the research paper, look through the information thoroughly to see if there are any requirements you don't understand. It can be easy to put off an assignment that you don't get, so understanding it eliminates one reason to procrastinate. If anything is unclear, talk to your professor right away to get it cleared up so it won't hold you up on starting.

2. Create a schedule.

Now that you know what you're supposed to do, put together a schedule of when you'll complete different aspects, like an outline, research and first draft. The assignment won't seem as intimidating if you're doing a little bit at a time instead of trying to complete it all the night before it's due. You can even reward yourself when you successfully meet your schedule. For instance, when you complete your outline on time, treat yourself to a movie.

3. Get organized.

Being completely unorganized can make things take even more time. Creating an outline will help you know exactly what you need to research and how much information you need for each section. Having all of your research organized will also make it easier to actually sit down and write the paper.

4. Keep track of all your sources.

Having to backtrack to find a source you didn't write down can take up a good amount of time. Even if you're not sure you'll use a piece of information, write down the source anyway. It's definitely better to have it and not need it than to waste time trying to locate it again.

5. Finish a rough draft a week before the paper's due.

If you wait until the night before to write your paper, you won't have time to do much quality editing, which can make a big difference in the grade you get. You don't want to lose out on major points because you didn't have time to read through your work and catch typos. Leaving a week to put together a polished paper gives you plenty of time to look it over and fill in any information gaps you might find.

6. Seek out help if you need it.

There's nothing wrong with asking for help along the way. If you get stuck on something, set up an appointment with your professor to discuss it. Many schools also have writing or tutoring centers where you can get help with your papers.

Reasons to Work Ahead

Now that you have some tips on how you can avoid doing everything the night before, here are some reasons why you shouldn't wait.

1. It can hurt your grade.

Chances are that a paper thrown together at the last minute isn't going to be of the same quality as something that you dedicate weeks to doing. A lower quality paper will translate to a lower grade. Many times research papers can account for a significant portion of your final grade and you don't want that to be permanently damaged because you put together your paper last-minute.

2. You might not be able to finish on time.

Starting a paper the night before your class means you're taking a big risk that you won't be able to finish it on time. Some professors won't accept a paper if it's even a few minutes late while others might actually deduct a full letter grade if it's not turned in on time.

3. You won't really learn the material.

Your assignment is about more than just completing it and getting a decent grade. It's also about learning something. If you're rushing to put your research paper together in just one night, it's doubtful that you'll actually be learning something so much as just putting information together without really processing it.

4. It could hurt your other school work.

If you pull an all-nighter to finish your assignment, you might lose time to complete other work that needs to be done that same night. It could also mean being tired in classes the next day and not learning materials very well. Falling behind even a little bit can make your college life that much more stressful.

Want to make it easier to complete other class assignments? Check out these tips for saving time on college homework.

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