To begin with the end in mind, you need to follow three simple steps: Take a few moments to review the assignment and rubric with a pen and highlighter, making notes and underlining key elements the prof wants to see.
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.
It’s completely unfair to assess a student if the student doesn’t know what’s expected of them. Once you have that rubric and assignment sheet in hand, you’re ready to discern the things your prof will look for when grading the assignment.
This means you can begin with the end in mind, crafting the paper around what you know the prof wants to see.
Make a list of three strengths and weaknesses you have as a writer.
Be mindful of the pitfalls and confident about your high points.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.If you know that, you can write to the rubric and pick up easy points along the way.Universities mandate that professors given students rubrics or some form of assessment guideline.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.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.If the professor does not provide these things to you, don’t be afraid to ask for them.Now that you understand why profs are such format sticklers, take a look at the rubric: The rubric is a list of direct touch points that will be examined by the professor as they grade your work.Take note, they’re specific and they break down your potential performance.