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7 Simple tips to improve your academic writing skills

7 simple tips to improve your academic writing skills
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As students make a transition from high school to college, semesters and academic years tend to end with academic papers. It is not uncommon for writers to confuse academic writing with casual writing – there is, however, a vast difference. If you grasp the difference between formal and informal writing, you’ve crossed half the bridge. Below are a few simple tips to start you thinking about your journey into the academic writing tasks.

Don’t beat around the bush

Get to the point. Do not beat around the bush, using extra words or putting in information that is not needed or required. Keep it relevant and keep it focused. Always have a clear sense of what it is that you want to discuss and take a more heads on approach.

Provide evidence

Make sure your statements are backed up by evidence and research. Academic writing is formal and used for research. There are few places for opinions or highly personalised statements. Good academic writing focuses on facts, figures, and evidence – it can express your stance on a topic but must be done with facts and evidence.

Avoid clichéd statements

Some writers feel that clichés add a formal touch to the writing when in reality it only lowers the quality score of the paper. However, it is best to be clear and concise. Using too many big words or clichéd phrases might take away from the paper in terms of clarity.

Maintain a formal tone

Academic papers need to have a formal tone. Since there are no opinions or slang, the tone itself needs to be formal. In order to maintain a formal tone, the basic rule of thumb is to avoid informal words like abbreviations or slang words.

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Focus on the topic

Once you decide on a statement or topic, then your focus should only be on the selected topic. The best academic papers steer clear of the author’s opinions and focus on the statement itself. Remember that your opinion, whilst important, is not what academic papers require – instead the focus should be on the question that the paper is based on.

Check for grammatical errors

Proofread to the point of exhaustion. Even when you think your paper is error-free, check for punctuation, spelling, and other grammatical errors. It is human to miss out and make mistakes that lower the overall quality of one’s paper. Therefore, it is a good idea not only to proofread your work but also run it through online grammar checkers to make sure it is perfect.


Learn to self-critique. Read your paper as a third party and see if it has the kind of clarity you want it to have. Separate yourself from it and see if it successfully conveys the kind of tone and information you want it to communicate.

Conclusively, it is best to know what you’re talking about. Keeping it clear, short, and relevant is the key to good academic writing. So as long as you avoid an opinionated paper, and focus on the issue at hand – you’re good.


Academic Writing Success | Academic Writing Coach Reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2017

(2013, May 31). Academic Writing Skills. Retrieved December 20, 2017, from the web

10 Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing. (2012, February 23). Retrieved December 20, 2017, from the web

Lawan Dalha

Lawan Dalha

An applied linguist with research interests in academic writing and computer-assisted language learningView Author posts

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