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.
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.
Once you know what the prof wants, you can write a one sentence reference that you can refer to whenever you feel like you’re going off course.
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.All this should take you no more than 10 or 15 minutes.It may seem counter-intuitive, but using time to get organized saves you time later, and makes the writing process so much simpler.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.that the prof hands you the assignment, and it will only take 30 minutes. Let’s deal with the first one right now: Looking at what the prof wants you to do.The first important step in writing a paper is taking some time to understand what the professor is looking for.This paper better be formatted in a particular way! Your profs aren’t trying to bust your chops (they do, in fact, have other things to do than make you miserable)—they’re trying to streamline the grading process.Also, watch for specific requests about format changes and due dates. These are no-nonsense statements/compromises that the prof needs you to abide. Imagine you have 75 papers to grade written by your 75 students.In this case, you can see five discrete categories, each with its own stakes, and the number value that corresponds to your performance: The prof will take the rubric and keep it within reach while grading.Along with making notes on your paper, the prof will also check off your performance in each category—summarizing your performance in that category: If you have a hundred-point paper, each one of these categories is worth 20 points.