Tutor profile: Anna L.
I don’t know how to start my paper!
Introductions, or the start of the a piece of writing, can be daunting! Try approaching this tricky task a little differently with a blast draft. A blast draft takes away the pressure of starting your paper perfectly because you’re not starting at the beginning. - you’re starting with the very first thought that comes into your head on the subject. Don’t worry if it’s not the catchy hook you think you need, that can come later. For now, just work on getting all of your ideas on paper. Once you have about a page of writing, go back and reread your ideas. What themes or topics emerged? Consider using a reverse outline - which of the thoughts you have now should go first, second, third, and so on? Try developing those ideas first. Once you have an idea of what you want to say, go back to that introduction. Now that you’ve seen what you have to say, how can you prepare the reader for exactly what’s to come? See? You started without having to start at all.
Subject: Study Skills
How can I study for a vocabulary test?
Research shows that recall and repetition are key to helping gain new memories. Flash cards are a great way to recall the definitions of words. A common mistake with flash cards is simply reading them and unfortunately, this won’t help. You need to actually try to remember each definition BEFORE flipping the card over and reading the answer. Memories are sort of like muscles- they need exercise to be strengthened! Another way to help yourself integrate new vocabulary is by actually interacting with it. Try generating sentences that correctly incorporate the words you want to study, or make a mind map with the word to be mastered in the center, surrounded by related words you already know well that can help you remember the new word’s meaning.
What is tone? How do I find the tone in a piece of writing?
Ever heard someone say, “watch your tone?” What do they mean? Tone is all about attitude! Or in this case, a writer’s attitude toward what they are writing about. Skillful writers express tone through word choice, punctuation, and other stylistic choices. If you are attempting to analyze the tone of a piece, look for clues about how the author feels. Scanning the text for words with strong denotatative and connotative meanings can give you some ideas. Are the words chosen to express the subject mostly positive or negative? Flippant or serious? Now, look at punctuation - is the author using punctuation to express feeling (e.g. exclaimation marks can show excitement, whereas question marks may indicate uncertainty). Finally, consider italics, parenthesis or dashes. If they are present in the text, why might the author have made those decisions? How are they impacting meaning in the text?
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