Staying on top of things when you’re a busy student is extremely difficult.

The stress and anxiety experienced are nothing to laugh at. Neither is getting a bad grade or not-so-constructive feedback, especially if you feel like you’ve done your best.

Disappointments like these can cause you to hate writing assignments and fear receiving feedback.

If you’re a student who dreads writing and has no clue what to do with the feedback you get from your writing, the tips and techniques in this post are perfect for you.

They are designed to show you how to improve your writing and learn from feedback to boost your grades.

I know it’s easier said than done, but based on my experiences, you’re writing will improve immensely if you consistently apply the following tips:

  1. Do not use contractions like, “isn’t haven’t, can’t, don’t, shouldn’t, etc”.
  2. Avoid using unnecessary words that add nothing extra like “very, which, that”
  3. Be clear and concise. Do not use obscure or convoluted words, phrases, or sentences, when simpler, clearer, more concise language is possible.
  4. Clichés and colloquialism are frowned upon in the academic world, so avoid them like the plague.
  5. Condense long sentences so they are easier to read and understand.
  6. Confirm that all your acronyms are written with full words the first time you write them. E.g. “Master of Business Administration” first time, then “MBA” thereafter.
  7. Verify that your sources are reliable before using them to support your facts and include in your bibliography.
  8. Do not be judgemental or biased when writing academically. Base your opinions and conclusions on facts and sound reasoning.
  9. Avoid repeating the same word often. Use a thesaurus to help you find different words that mean the same.
  10. Make sure all your conclusions and references are supported by appropriate evidence.
  11. Ensure that each paragraph has one specific idea/thought or expands on a related idea/though written immediately before.
  12. Look for confusing words and ensure that you have used the correct word in the correct context, such as “there, they’re, their”.
  13. Monitor your grammar and punctuation usage, especially tricky punctuation like correct comma and apostrophe usage (possession vs contractions).
  14. Proofread your writing before submitting and check for issues like grammatical and spelling errors.
  15. Remain consistent and remember to use the correct person appropriately. Make sure to use the third person for critical writing, but the first person for reflective writing.
  16. Use words that link one idea/thought to the next, such as: consequently, nevertheless, conversely, however, therefore, additionally, furthermore, in conclusion, etc.

Do you need an extra secret weapon to slay your writing and boost your grades? Download this FREE printable PDF now!

Feedback can be kind or cruel!

Sometimes you may be elated by it, other times, you may feel it’s hurtful or unfair.

Even if you feel the feedback is harsh, if it’s fair, you can benefit from it and produce better writing throughout your student life and beyond.

Use your feedback to:

  1. Identify what you’re doing correct and continue doing those things.
  2. Become aware of your mistakes and discover how you can tweak things to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
  3. Keep your feedback in mind and use it where applicable in your future work. This will improve your study strategies, increase your grades, and make you a better student.

 

To best benefit from your feedback try the following tips and techniques

  1. Examine your essay/assignment and focus first on the positive feedback you’ve received. Acknowledge your efforts and take some time to be proud of these small, yet significant wins. YOU did that!

Make a note of these positive things, so you can replicate them in the future.

Positive feedback may include comments like:

  • illustrates good knowledge, application, and comprehension,
  • clear evidence of good presentation skills,
  • demonstrates a clear ability to analyse, and thinks critically

If anything’s unclear or needs further explanation, don’t’ hesitate to contact your professor for further clarification.

 

  1. When you’re done feeling amazing about your positive feedback, take some time to read the constructive feedback given.

Remember not to take things personally and see this feedback as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Make a note of the negative feedback so you can avoid repeating similar errors in the future.

Seek clarification if necessary and ensure you apply the learning going forward.

Negative feedback may include comments like:

  • limited evidence of research or appropriate reading
  • contains irrelevant material, poor spelling, and grammatical errors
  • lacks consistency throughout

 

  1. Analyse your performance and consider the actions which contributed to the grade you got.

Note those actions that contributed to your positive feedback. This will help you maintain your momentum in the future and get more positive feedback going forward.

Next, make a note of those actions you think contributed to your constructive/negative feedback.

To help improve feedback in the future, make a plan to change or tweak anything that can be adjusted to yield a better performance going forward. Consider questions like:

  • Did I answer the question asked, or was I unsure about what I was doing? Could I have gotten clarification before submitting?
  • How effective were my studying sessions and could I improve any study skills like notetaking, organisation, time management?
  • How well did I proofread before submitting? Is there room for improvement here?
  • If I spent more time on my paper, would I have gotten a better grade?
  • Was I genuinely satisfied with the finished paper that I submitted, or did I honestly know I could do better?
  • Was procrastination a contributing factor to the negative feedback I received?

 

  1. Based on the answers to the above questions, create a plan of action to intentionally improve on the things you could enhance. The sooner you act, the more likely you are to reap the rewards before your next paper submission.

Focus on improving one thing at a time to ensure you get the maximum benefit from each improvement and you don’t become overwhelmed or demotivated.

If you need extra guidance or help to clarify an area, don’t be shy to get what you need. Your grade depends on it.

For instance, if you need to improve your referencing techniques, refer regularly to your school’s guidance on referencing and use apps like Zotero or EasyBib. For managing and citing sources when writing reference/research papers, Zotero’s ideal. You can collect, organise, cite, and share your research work quickly and easily.

EasyBib: Avoid wasting hours creating a bibliography from scratch by using EasyBib. It allows you to easily create a bibliography for your research paper quickly and easily. By scanning/taking a picture of the book’s barcode, or typing the name of the book, you can automatically cite/reference books, journal articles, websites and more.

To make your student life easier and improve your grades, check out the game-changing book “130 Essential Apps & Resources to Achieve Better Grades”

Remember to check your plan of action when writing your next paper to ensure you remain focused and every point of negative feedback is acknowledged to ensure improvement.

 Final Thoughts

Learning is enhanced and grades improved when constructive feedback is received and applied. Don’t take your professors points personally. They want you to do well and learn from your mistakes and grow. If you didn’t do well, it would reflect poorly on them and they’d soon be out of a job.  So, take the feedback you get and use it as a catalyst for future development.

 

Do you need an extra secret weapon to slay your writing and boost your grades? Download this FREE printable PDF now!

 

Good luck & stay strong.

 

Now, GO BE GREAT!