Term papers aren’t small assignments. After all, by their very definition, you are expected to write a paper that shows that have sufficiently mastered everything that you have been taught in a particular class. Not only that, but you have to pick a topic and write about that topic in a way that proves your knowledge. It’s no wonder that people usually dread big writing assignments like this. After all, not only is the pressure on you to remember what you have been taught, you also must be sure that you demonstrate the full depth of your knowledge while sticking to a single topic. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to get out of a term paper assignment. However, there are a few instructions that you can follow for getting the best start possible on your paper. Let’s discuss topic selection, taking notes, and writing your term paper title page.

Term Paper Topic Selection

When it comes to writing term papers, your options are a bit limited. Unlike research papers or essays where you often have free reign over your topic selection, as long as it is related to your academic discipline, you will have to choose a topic that has been specifically covered in your class. However, this does not mean that you have no choice at all. If you think of all of the topics that you covered in class, chances are, you will see that there may be a variety of potential subtopics within each major topic area. You may also find that you take a particular topic and drill into it a bit more than you were able to do in class. Remember that a passing term paper demonstrates that you understood the subject matter, a good term paper demonstrates that you have taken the time to analyze the subject matter, and a great term paper shows that you have done these things and drawn intelligent conclusions from the information you were given. To make this happen, choose the topics that were covered in class that were most interesting to you. Then, go check your grades and pick the topics for which you got the best grades. Choosing the right topic will make everything else much easier as you continue to learn how to start a term paper.

Taking Notes

Now that you have selected a topic about which you are interested and knowledgeable, your next step is to research, review and organize your old notes, and create a new set of notes for your term paper. Even if you have a lot of detailed notes that you have taken during lectures or study periods, it is a good idea to create a new set of notes specifically for your term paper. These notes can be harvested from your existing notes, as well as from new resources that you find while researching the topic that you have selected. As you review your notes, you’ll refresh your memory about a lot of things, and you will be able to select the specific items that will help you to write a great term paper. In addition to this, you will also be able to organize your notes in the best way possible for a term paper. Chances are your existing notes were meant to help you pass tests and quizzes. You’ll also want to do a bit of new research to pull in some information that will allow you to write a very robust and complete paper. In order to make this process work as best as it possibly can for you, consider using color coding to keep your notes organized, or better yet, go paperless and use an online app or tool and keep your notes in the cloud. This way they are accessible from anywhere, and you can search through them for specific keywords.

If you want to, or if it is required of you, you may choose to use your notes to create the outline that will become the basis of your term paper rough draft. However, if you keep your notes organized and they focus only on what needs to be in your term paper, you may find that writing an outline is an unneeded step. In any case, you should do what works best for you, and what is required by your instructor.

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Your Term Paper Title Page

If you don’t take a moment to think about it, your title page may not seem very important. In fact, you have probably written many papers before and just thrown a title page together at the very last minute. However, the title page is important. It is the first thing your instructor will see when they begin reading your term paper. Isn’t it important to get off on the right foot? A good title page shows your instructor that you pay attention to details, that you have taken the time to think of a compelling title, and that you have followed the rules for creating a title page as determined by your particular citation format. If you want to write a great title page, here are a few steps to follow.

  1. Take some time, at least an hour, to compose a good title. It should accurately reflect what you are going to write about in your paper. It should also be attention getting. You want anybody reading your paper to become interested in what you have to say, the moment they see your title.
  2. Do some research on your citation format. Depending on the one you have been told to use, there might be very specific instructions that you have to follow about where things are placed on the page, the font you use, the spacing, what goes into the header and footer, whether or not you have a header or footer, and a variety of other rules. However, you should also remember that any specific instructions from your professor or department head take precedence over any other instructions or information that you have.
  3. If you do not have a specific format that you are supposed to adhere to, just be sure that your title is centered and that you include your name, instructor’s name, class name and section, and other relevant information in addition to your title. You should also use the same font that you plan to use in the rest of your term paper, however you can use a larger size for your title and subtitle.