Every student knows how tiresome and complicated the process of writing can be. Even the brilliantly written content doesn’t provide any guarantee that you will get an A-grade as there are other factors influencing the teacher’s decision whether your paper is worth an excellent mark or it should be improved (Types of papers). It is really great if you don’t experience difficulties with the paper writing and have the flow of words on the topic, however, good writing skills aren’t enough to succeed. You should learn more about the formatting requirements. If you neglect them, you risk to get a bad mark. If you want to be sure that the paper will impress your teacher, craft it taking into account all teacher’s instructions.
The written assignment is given to students in order a teacher can check out which knowledge they have gained during the study course, how attentive they were listening to the explanations, and how responsible they treat formatting guidelines. Everyone knows the proverb “ Meet by clothes, see off by mind”. The same is here. The good formatting plays the role of the clothes for your paper. Make sure it looks great both inside and outside.
Check Out Which File Format Your Electronic Document Must Have
According to the general guidelines, academic assignments are performed in MS Word or Open Office 365. There are several formats you can choose from: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx or .rtf.
You should avoid the following formats: html files, web pages, CAD files, Visio (.vsd), PowerPoint (.ppt), PDF s (.pdf). This also refers to zip files. You may wonder how is that if your teacher, for example, asked to submit a zip file. Yes, if someone asks to send one of the above-mentioned file formats, you should do this, however, according to the general guidelines, they aren’t submitted.
If you have doubts concerning the choice of the file format, you should contact your teacher and find out, which one is preferable for the course study. There are other things you should pay attention to when formatting your paper. Check out if you know what else to keep in mind when you format an academic assignment:
- Fonts: Verdana, Calibri, Tahoma or Arial are fonts you are recommended to choose from. As for the color of the font, it should be the black text on the white page background. Any other color is unacceptable. This is possible if only your teacher has asked you to highlight some important points and allowed to use some other bright colors for the text. Remember that it is necessary to use 11-12 point for your text.
- Spacing: 1.5 or double spacing is the only possible variant. In most cases, it is 1.5. The double spacing can be used with the aim to have some space for remarks. Keep in mind that long questions should be written from a new page while short ones can have just a line between them. Your file should be left-aligned.
- Headings: Remember that both underlining and italics aren’t acceptable for your heading. It is recommended to use bold. Some types of academic assignment don’t have subheadings while for others this is a must-have. For example, usually short pieces of writing like essays can be written without subheadings. You can use them if you want but they aren’t obligatory. If you are writing a longer work, or the paper, which aim is to outline certain points, you should have subheadings. For example, when writing a report it is necessary to have at least a couple subheadings, which will make it easier to read it.
- Title page: The title page is the must-have thing for every academic paper. It is the so-called face of your work. Make sure you know how to format it in the correct way. The title page should have the name of the topic, the course information, the name of the student who performed the work, the date. Moreover, you should center this information approximately one third of the way down the page.
- Numbering: There is no need to number the title page but all the rest of your paper should contain numbers. If your work contains tables or figures, number them and label clearly. Keep in mind that you should place captions above the table. However, if you need to format captions for figures it is better to place them below. The reference list shouldn’t contain numbers.
- Headers/footers: Each page should contain either a header or a footer. This doesn’t refer to the title page. What should you include? The name, the course number, the page number, the assignment number.
- Word count: You should check out the words number after you have finished writing. Keep in mind that it is possible to exceed the number of words, or vice versa, decrease only within 10%. Use the convenient word count programme, which will allow you to check out the word number quickly. The title page, references, and appendices if you have any, shouldn’t be included in the word count.
- References: Every academic assignment should contain the references in the end of the paper. They are written on a separate page named “References”.
- Appendices: It is not obligatorily to have appendices, however, if you have them, keep in mind that you should place them on a new page. Write “Appendix” if it is the only one. In case, there are more than one, you can name them using letters A, B, C, etc., depending on the number of appendices. Such information is included only if it is not possible to write it in the main body of the paper, or if your research should contain some practical results of the research.
After you have checked out the formatting of all points discussed above, you should have a look at the top and the bottom of the page. Pay special attention to the lines of the page top, the beginnings of paragraphs, the presence of the headings and subheadings (if they are necessary), which shouldn’t be situated alone at the page bottom.
Recommendations on How to Format Hard Copies
Despite the fact that nowadays the preference is given to the electronic gadgets and electronic files. Students don’t write assignments, they print them in most cases, at least doing the hometask. However, hand-written documents are still used as it is much more convenient to work with the printed document when presenting the research to the class. Almost all guidelines above work for the printed versions as well. However, there are certain peculiarities you should be aware of. First of all, you need to ask your teacher whether he expects to see the hand-written work or you’d better print it.
Preparing to submit a paper, you should make sure that the work corresponds to the requirements. It must be printed on A4. You should use either a black pen or a blue one. It is up to you to choose, which one to use. Entrust that your work is written accurately and legibly. If you have noticed a mistake in the text, then use the fluid to make it invisible. However, this method will work only if there is one mistake or a couple of mistakes while it is unacceptable to use a correction fluid on every page. If you have made a lot of mistakes, be patient and rewrite the work, otherwise, the teacher will not accept it at all, asking to rewrite or you will get a bad mark. That’s why you should think about this beforehand and prepare the work free from errors. All tables and graphs should look in the proper way.
Submitting a paper you should remember that it is very important how neat and accurate it looks like. Make sure you have taken into account all above-mentioned guidelines and your work is ready to be handed in. If there are some mistakes, correct them following the tips on how to format electronic assignments and hand-written paper versions.