As students, we have a lot going on. Back-to-school season means more assignments, research, essays, papers, and reports. Generally, more writing, and writing takes a lot of time.
But hey - it’s the 21st century. Despite the lack of time, we cannot complain about the lack of tools and apps that help us do everything we need to do - better, faster, and cheaper.
The essay writing process
By utilizing the latest writing tools for students, we can greatly improve our processes and grades.
The right tools can help students in various ways:
- They can help you manage your time more efficiently.
- You'll be able to automate tasks such as checking grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- They can improve more advanced aspects of writing essays like language, structure and tone, for better overall readability.
The writing process can be broken down into three main stages: conceptualize, create, and check.
Let's examine each stage, and see how to optimize each one to save us time and get the job done efficiently.
Stage 1: Conceptualize
First, we must conceptualize what we intend to write about. Are you having trouble getting started on your writing assignment? These tools can help.
Topic and title selection
Choosing the right topic and title is crucial to your success. Are you familiar with first impressions? That's what your paper's title and topic do.
Using a free tool like EssayTopicGenerator, which takes in keywords and generates topic ideas in seconds, gave me lots of ideas.
These are just rough ideas or thought starters, as you can see from the screenshot. Take a look at these titles and try to turn them into something.
I would choose option 23. Aside from being clearly worded, it also gives me a fascinating new angle to study: how capitalism can develop within communist states.
Define your thesis
To write a successful paper, you will need a strong position or perspective. For many students, writing a thesis can be a challenge.
By using Wordtune, I was able to turn my thoughts into more carefully considered words and make my final thesis statement as compelling as possible. In addition, I selected the option for it to generate suggestions with a more formal tone, which made them sound more academic.
You could benefit from services such as ThesisStatementWriter if you only have disconnected ideas and need help formulating a basic thesis.
Do your research
In academic writing, you need to gather and analyze existing research. This is not only to build your knowledge, but also to ensure your own work adds a unique angle without repeating others. Zotero and ReadCube can be really useful assistants to collect, organize, annotate, cite, and share research easily and quickly; and Pockt and Memonic can help larger teams easily access all the curated and collated research painlessly.
Your arguments will be more persuasive if you use high-quality references. Organizing them smartly is not enough. It's difficult to read, comprehend, connect, write, and build upon several GBs of research documents. How do you do it without missing your deadline?
While speed reading and skimming may help you get through your reference research, they do not guarantee comprehension. Wordtune Read promises to read and summarize complex research papers, reports, and essays tirelessly.
I pasted a link to a 5,000-word essay into the panel, and within seconds it summarized all the key ideas and concepts. The Spotlight option, on the right side of the screen, highlighted all the keywords that needed my attention.
Rather than spending weeks reading through mountains of information, I could focus on the real challenge - making a strong argument based on what's already out there. The ability to analyze more papers with Wordtune Read added to my perspective. This made my own research and arguments much stronger than they would have been if I had only read a few.
Stage 2: Create
Putting a mere idea into 2,000 words or more is the heart of the assignment. Smart writing tools can really make a difference here.
Prep your outline
All your research and ideas are in place - now it's time to create the frame that will hold your essay. Bubbl.us, MindMeister, Miro, and MindMup are all virtual mind mapping tools that help you brainstorm, get ideas flowing, and build your own outline by connecting logical ideas in the research.
It's not everyone's cup of tea to write, and it's even harder to write well. Your job as a student is to come up with a compelling, evidence-based argument that proves or disproves your thesis. It's time to flesh out the outline.
Wordtune made my sentences sharper, smarter, and tighter. While I wrote, it was like having my favorite English teacher improving my writing, sentence construction, and rephrasing my thoughts on a one-to-one basis.
Writing for academic purposes is not creative writing. It should be properly organized and argued, usually in the third person, in a formal tone. You should also use the most appropriate vocabulary, especially subject-specific terms and jargon. By using Wordtune, you can improve your tone and style, as well as choose the most appropriate words.
Ludwig is another writing assistant that helps you write better while on the go. With its multiple contextual options, it describes itself as a 'sentence search engine'.
Collaborative assignments are common among students. Google Docs is a helpful tool for writing with a team. Tutors, experts, and even parents can be granted read, comment, or edit access to it, and version control is maintained.
Similarly, Miro helps larger teams collaborate and brainstorm visually, allowing complex ideas and perspectives to come to life. This is particularly useful for distributed and remote teams, since everyone can work on weekends or even during breaks.
For more complex or advanced assignments, distributed teams may have different roles assigned to them. A student working on a product launch assignment at a business school may assign one member to research, another to design, and another to conduct market research.
Depending on the team, a collaboration tool like Trello can keep the project on track, flagging bottlenecks, delays, and upcoming deadlines as they arise.
Structure your text
Once you've written all your words, check the flow. Do all the sections, heads, and subheads follow the right themes? Is it possible to group and consolidate themes that repeat themselves? A friend can give you feedback on whether they understand the gist of your argument by skimming the flow.
You can check whether all the key points of your argument are covered with a tool like Wordtune Read, which will summarize and highlight key points from your essay (remember we used it to summarize and distill our research material as well?).
Stage 3: Check
Now that all your thoughts and ideas are on paper, it's time to tidy up. Smart editing tools are more than capable of helping you, and you need an objective third party:
The use of tools like Hemingway editor ensures you won't overlook anything when it comes to editing your content for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. In addition, sentences that are too long, too short, too complex, too passive, too repetitive, or just the wrong tone will be highlighted.
With Wordtune, you can flesh out short sentences and fill in content-thin paragraphs, as well as shorten long or complex sentences without losing meaning. Use Wordtune if you get a low readability score - which measures how easy or difficult it is for someone to comprehend your content - to tweak and rephrase your sentences, and improve sentence variety and paragraph transitions.
Bottom line: smart tools enhance the quality of your content, not just speed up the editing process.
- Copy and plagiarism checks: like millions of others, you can quite comfortably trust tools such as Wordtune and Hemingway to ensure there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors in your copy. Use Plagscan to ensure you don't inadvertently copy existing material into your essay.
- Citations and biblio: following any writing convention, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago style, and writing bibliographies and citations of your references, will make the rest of your assignment process a breeze. It's easier than ever to source and cite research with apps like BibMe, Citavi, EndNote, and Citethisforme.
Write essays with confidence, speed and style!
You can find the right task and tool with this handy chart.
As long as you have these tools at your disposal, you will be able to ace this school year.
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.