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Tutor profile: Chaidie P.

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Chaidie P.
Stanford Student, Successful in Tough Humanities Classes
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

I keep on running out of time in timed exam essay situations. I am usually partway through the last body paragraph when five minutes is called. I feel like I really use all the time for writing — how can I avoid going over?

Inactive
Chaidie P.
Answer:

It sounds like the issue isn't that you're just not spending enough of the time writing, so it might be a good idea to revisit your overall approach to using the time. I have found it really helpful to do practice sessions — it doesn't have to be three hours like the exam, something small scale is perfectly alright — and set timers for little checkpoints so that you don't get too behind on time at any point in the process. For instance, you might give yourself ten minutes for planning and outlining, thirty for the body, and fifteen for intro/conclusion (just an example). It is really important to be able to show a complete product, though, so even if you're sacrificing some of the level of detail you are used to in other parts of the paper, making sure you are left with enough time to write a little conclusion and finish your thoughts is important. As I said, practice can really help, especially to avoid that panic at the five minute call, so I would recommend doing shorter practice papers to get used to pacing yourself.

Subject: US History

TutorMe
Question:

Which part of my research paper should I write first? I feel like I haven't absorbed enough about the topic to write it in one fell swoop.

Inactive
Chaidie P.
Answer:

This will depend what stage you are at in your research. If you feel that you are a little shaky on the topic overall, I would recommend actually saving the intro and conclusion for last. Start writing the secondary source section in order to get a more concrete idea of your thesis. Then move on to analyzing the primary sources through that lens, and by then you will have the information to conclude the paper and to do whatever additional research you might want to to adequately introduce it as well.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

My assignment is to create an essay analytically comparing an aspect of two plays. How could I organize it to consider both works in a way that a reader who hasn't read both can follow? And would I just summarize them in the intro?

Inactive
Chaidie P.
Answer:

There are a few organizational methods that could work well based on your preference, such as a paragraph by paragraph approach where you break up your arguments by paragraph, i.e. Play 1 in paragraph 1 and Play 2 in paragraph 2. That is a really good way to organize your thoughts about the two works without getting them mixed up. For the final essay product though, I personally tend to prefer the point by point method, where each body paragraph has a topic sentence relating the two works and then the body of the paragraph examines both works, as the name suggests, point by point. As for the intro, I would recommend looking at the intro as an inverted triangle, likely giving some broader context on the two works as they pertain to whichever aspect you choose to examine, then narrowing to your specific thesis. There is likely no need to fully summarize both works in it unless advised specifically by your instructor.

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