I always get points off on my conclusions. How can I write a better conclusion?
A common issue with conclusions is that professors feel students simply summarize what they talked about in their paper. While it is important to end with an overview of what you've discussed, there needs to be more than that. A good way to think of a conclusion is a "So What?" You've written your paper and argued your thesis, and the conclusion is your way to say why your ideas are important. Try and think about the implications of your argument for the class, the topic, or even society in general.
I have to write a paper on women's rights in Africa, can you help me narrow my topic down?
Of course! One issue students have with international studies is that it's just so broad. Making the topic smaller can be done many ways. Writing about women's rights in Africa is very broad, but choosing one particular aspect of women's rights is much easier to tackle. Start by looking for broad sources on the topic, and then find something smaller that interests you. Issues like lack of family planning and maternal care, domestic violence, and female genital mutilation are big issues in Africa. Finding more information on those topics can show you what you're interested in and make it easier to focus your research.
I have to analyze symbolism and the implications in Hamlet, and I don't know how to do that. How do I figure out what to talk about?
When talking about symbolism, it's helpful to first of all go back through the play and look for words or ideas that repeat themselves. For example, if an author consistently talks about nighttime or variations of the night (seeing the stars, darkness, etc.) then you can usually assume that the particular topic is important to the author for some reason. Though I can't give you the answer, going back through Hamlet to find those patterns will help you. Once you've found a pattern, see the context in which it comes up. For example, if nighttime only comes up when talking about death, then you know that the symbol of "night" is related to death, and you can discuss those implications.