Everyone knows that university courses are basically exercised in showing up to class to get attendance credit and turning in essays to get grades. This transactional trade-off where you perform actions in order to be declared educated puts undue pressure on students to master the art of paper-writing, which is a skill they will almost certainly never use again after graduation. If you need help writing a successful paper or just need a boost to improve your papers, we have a list of fifteen tips that can make all the difference and help you achieve the best results with your papers.

Here, without further ado, are our top fifteen tips for a successful university paper:

  1. Read the assignment. The most important part of writing the essay is making sure you’re writing the right thing. Read the assignment carefully from beginning to end in order to make sure you understand everything and know exactly what you need to write.
  2. Review the rubric. Similar to reading the assignment, it’s also important to review the grading rubric (if there is one) to see exactly what you need to do to meet the requirements of the assignment. The rubric is a guide to grading, so reviewing it is almost like a cheat sheet to show you what your instructor will be looking for.
  3. Create an effective research question. To help guide your research, you need an effective research question. The stronger and sharper this question is, the easier it will be to research the question and develop an effective strategy to find appropriate sources.
  4. Visit your school’s library. Most universities have online libraries, and this is an excellent resource to use to find the best and most scholarly sources to support your research. These sources tend to be more reliable than the sources on the open web, so be sure to look for scholarly or peer-reviewed sources in the library to put your essay on a firm footing.
  5. Create a list of sources before you write. Rather than write your paper and then try to backfill sources into it, develop your bibliography as you research and pull out key facts and quotes, you plan to use, with citation. Once you have this bank of information, it will be easier to draw from it as you write your paper.
  6. Develop a strong thesis. The thesis statement guides your essay and is the main idea that the paper is designed to demonstrate or prove. Use your thesis statement to declaim a specific, strong point of view that you will defend in the paper.
  7. Outline your essay. It might seem like a waste of time, but writing an outline will save you time in the long run. If you know exactly what you need to write, you don’t need to stop to think, and you won’t find yourself running into dead-ends or digressions.
  8. Write the body first. Most students find writing the body of the essay easier. Start with the body so you can get a good rhythm going and develop your main arguments.
  9. Write the conclusion next. Finish the paper with a strong conclusion that ties the major themes together and leaves the reader with a compelling final thought. The conclusion should not simply be a summary.
  10. Write the introduction last. Even the best essays drift a little as you write and discover new arguments. Save the intro for last so you can tailor it to where you end up rather than where you thought you’d end up when you began.
  11. Let your paper sit a day before revising and proofreading. We catch more errors with fresh eyes, so the longer you can wait before you start proofreading, the more errors you’ll likely catch.
  12. Don’t just proofread—revise, too. The editing process isn’t just about proofreading. Read as though you didn’t know the topic to see if your paper makes sense and revise as needed.
  13. Proofread backward and forward. Try reading the sentences in reverse order to find errors you might overlook otherwise.
  14. Review your references and citations. Check every citation and make sure every source is cited correctly, and every statement that needs citing is cited. Avoiding plagiarism requires care!
  15. Consider professional help. If writing an essay is driving you crazy, consider professional help. Online essay writers are waiting for you to call and say, “Write my paper, please!” When you need expert help, a pro can provide the papers you need.