Writing academically with scholarly merits is quite a challenge without having to worry about one's sources and whether or not they are appropriately cited. Perhaps the reason why some students face difficulties when it comes to writing from sources is the ability to understand those sources (Howard, Serviss and Rodrigue, 178) and, whether the student can write from the sources while at the same time implementing a unique approach and voice. It is inconsequential that a student has a good background in written English if they have insufficient research skills, then they have a hard time coming out convincing and proving their points and arguments.
Writing successfully from a source material and coming up with original arguments and thoughts depends on how deep a student is willing to delve into the research sources to come up with a unique interpretation that can adequately support the original paper without resembling or borrow anything from the original paper other than references. It is obvious now that standardized tests like SAT and Toefl are significant if you wish to have a college career, though some colleges do not make these tests a requirement, most do. For admission into severe colleges and universities in the United States, high school students are required to take one these tests-especially SAT. these tests serve a purpose of determining a student's aptitude and readiness for a college education. However, since essay-writing can be a big part of these tests, many problems may arise from a student's essay-writing capacity and external constraints. Personally, my experienced position is that challenges associated with standardized essay tests administered by college boards and college placement institutions are a result of minimal exposure to analytic paper in middle school and high school. Inadequate skimming and scanning skills, failure to distinguish main points, sub-points, and examples; and lastly inability to have enough time to integrate sources based on academic structures also form a significant part of this inneficiency.
How can a student analyze a paper with proper care under time constraints as seen in standardized essay tests if he/she was not previously exposed to analytical essays in middle and High school? A good understanding of the structure of an analytical paper can go a long way to assist a student in tackling an essay test, but this will require a stable background in this form of an essay. I have always had a better understanding of expository writing to the point that it became a default form with which I approached essay writing. I was, of course, aware of different forms of writing essays but somehow the unintentional or I could say passive reliance in shaping arguments into an expository framework, suppressed whatever I knew before of other ways to write a paper. I cannot say that for the fact that this is common, but I think that students have a useful way of sticking to what it is they understand most especially if it can come in handy in solving different problems, this can have disastrous consequences.
Shirley, for instance, and many other students show a tendency to be credible in an academic writing task (Kantz, 80) to the point that it limits their ability to be persuasive rather keep them on the course of telling a story concisely. When faced with the problem of coming up with the most basic structure of an analytical paper which would then help me build upon quickly, it became clear that I was going to spend more time than I had counted upon trying to examine and interpret the paper as it is without resorting to my response of it.
One of the main problems learners come across during standardized tests the inability to distinguish between main points of a paper and sub-points, which is perhaps has a lot to do with strict timing. However, I believe that long-term practice in organizing points in a paper, which is a skill that should be natured from the beginning of High school, cannot be affected by time constraints since the skills are practically ingrained in a student's mind, and they can employ with little thought. However, last minute preparations including cramming of writing structures usually result in little to no help at all when the pressure amounts to finish one's work. When we fail to understand how to organize our thoughts into points and sub-points whenever possible, it becomes difficult to follow the narrative and most of all, we may end up mistaking texts from narratives/story. And doing this will almost always lead to story-driven papers instead of point-driven papers (Kantz, 78) and end up making the same mistakes that Shirley does in Margaret Kantz's article. Another problem that mostly goes unnoticed but can shape the entire outcome of a student's score in standardized tests is employing the skills of skimming and scanning.
When presented with text or multiple texts, it's essential that I quickly skim-read through them to get an overview of what the texts are talking about and most importantly, which text or part of a text is most relevant and calls thoroughness. Scanning for specific words and sentences that carry the entire idea of text can save a student too much time of having to go through a whole text. Lack of these skills can be the main course of possible plagiarism whether by copying and removing some words by employing summarizing-and-deletion technique or interchanging a word for another (Howard, Serviss and Rodrigue, 178) because, after all, time is ever of the essence.
Integrating sources into one's paper, according to me, is the third most problematic experience when writing an essay test. Incorporating sources in research writing is challenging for students, but it still is essential in academic writing. To properly cite a source which one can easily follow, a student is required to be keen, and most of all have enough time on his/her plate, or else they risk plagiarizing the entire content. To be able to use one's sources effectively, a student must make sure they are correctly representing the information on their sources and are citing those sources correctly (Howard, Serviss and Rodrigue, 179), however, this is not a simple feat when you have little time to complete your work. Efficient use of resources can be enhanced by fostering mastery f the citation techniques used in academics.
Academic writing can be challenging in many ways which may not have anything to do with a student's ability to write in proper English. When taking standardized essay tests, students are expected to be able to articulate their points of view, but when the time is also a looming factor, it can be challenging to think rhetorically and understand that facts and opinions are both claims if you are not used to doing that.
Howard, Rebecca Moore, Tricia Serviss, and Tanya K. Rodrigue. "Writing from sources, writing from sentences." Writing and Pedagogy 2.2 (2010): 177-192.
Kantz, Margaret. "Helping students use textual sources persuasively." College English 52.1 (1990): 74-91.
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