Let’s take it section by section, one directive at a time. Go through and find the concepts the prof wants you to cover in the paper. Lord love ‘em, but professors are notorious for giving more information than necessary or saying more than what needs saying, so do your best to boil the assignment down to the essentials with your highlighter: Take note, these macro concepts are often suggestions, not commands. These are the items that must be included in the paper for you to get a good grade.They are the prof telling you how to be impressive, clear, or to raise your grade through a demonstration of your wits and knowledge. Usually they are very specific: Clearly, if your paper uses first-person pronouns, it will irk the person giving you the grade—probably best to stay away from that.This paper better be formatted in a particular way! Your profs aren’t trying to bust your chops (they do, in fact, have other things to do than make you miserable)—they’re trying to streamline the grading process.Also, watch for specific requests about format changes and due dates. These are no-nonsense statements/compromises that the prof needs you to abide. Imagine you have 75 papers to grade written by your 75 students.Your profs know when you don’t take time prewriting, and they know when you’re being wishy-washy or only reading to reinforce your opinion. Also, you should be using scholarly research, which means no random Googling and picking the first things you ping.Take a look at the first section of the assignment sheet.Remember, the rubric for the course on the assignment sheet you’ve been given, you will find a general rubric in the class syllabus, or the professor will include a rubric with an assignment sheet.
Once you know what the prof wants, you can write a one sentence reference that you can refer to whenever you feel like you’re going off course.The prof will add up the categories and multiply that number by 4 to get your grade: 4 5 5 4 5 = 23 x 4 = 92.To get an A on this paper, you have to perform with excellence in 3 categories and above average in at least 2 of the other categories. Which three categories are you going to absolutely kill in? All it takes is attention to detail—Microsoft Word has all the tools you need to score perfectly there.Make a list of three strengths and weaknesses you have as a writer.Be mindful of the pitfalls and confident about your high points.See where the prof tells you exactly what your paper should be?Also, take a look at the section at the “Requirements” section.Take a look at this assignment from an actual college professor: Yow!Even with bullets and commands that’s a lot of text.Imagine just how much variation and diversity would occur between those 75 people and their papers if the prof left it all to chance—all of these students like different fonts, would cite things differently based on their preferences, and would hand in widely varied papers, at least doubling the time it would take to read those papers. Make that prof love you by following these directions.If you follow the directions, this prof will direct their ire elsewhere.