Academic writing embodies an intellectual expression of students’ abilities and acquired knowledge. When students know how to express their ideas in an academic manner, they should adhere to the standards of scientific research. Besides various particularities of researching and writing, students should be aware of the structure of the required format.
Students have to work with fundamental academic styles, which they should use in academic writing. There is a golden rule: when writing any paper, students have to find the balance between the actual analysis of the topic and a specific writing structure. Papers will look meaningful if students cite each piece of information in accurate manner. They should also use relevant quotations within the text, and provide a synchronized reference list.
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Complying with the acknowledged guidelines makes the potential of every work more visible. Professors can check the scope of students’ investigation and creative ideas. They may also test the logical sequence of the thoughts. Sometimes, when student’s research paper comprises various expedient ideas, a flawed structure can make professors pay attention to technical drawbacks.
Despite your creative striving, you have to learn how to format a college essay and follow the precise rules. You should always keep to the required writing format, as it makes up a significant part of your grade. You should also understand the purpose of every academic style standard and the reason for proper referencing.
The Most Popular Writing Formats: MLA, APA, and CMS
- The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Modern Language Association (MLA) are ones of the widely used academic formats, also called "Schools of Style".
- MLA style: If you study Humanities (to become a journalist, a linguist, a teacher, or an artist), you have to compose many academic tasks following MLA guidelines.
- APA style: If your educational program comprises Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, or Economics, you should work with the APA style. The American Psychological Association periodically updates the rules of the academic formatting. So, it is always possible to find the newest version on the site of the association.
- CMS style: Many undergraduates majoring in Humanities, such as Arts and Culture, Literature, or History, use this formatting style. Nowadays, the 16-th edition of the CMS formatting rules remains topical.
When you learn how to properly format an essay, you find out many useful but quite tedious structural rules related to spacing and margins. The importance of such minor nuances is determined by their allocation of references in conformity with the materials presented. Also, you should not confuse the specific identifications of Bibliography section, which differs depending on the necessary style. For instance, in MLA, bibliography is marked as "Works Cited”. In APA, the same is called “References”.
Sometimes, it can be a challenge for you to memorize all the formatting rules within one style. You should do this as you may use the same format for all your classes within the selected academic area. So, your chances for diligent writing even in experimental fields will be high if you master the three schools of styles.
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Get the Latest Updates
If you have to follow a particular college papers format, you may benefit from the review of the latest guidelines on all the three popular styles. It is significant to see the difference between the writing styles in case you need to avoid formatting fusions. Paper styling knowledge predetermines the ultimate accuracy of every new written work you are going to produce. You can view all the recent updates of the trendiest academic formats via the following official sources.
High school students already know that APA and MLA are the most frequently implemented academic styles. These formats keep their relevance for higher academic levels as well. Students rarely use the CMS format while working on their academic papers. Hence, literary students and professional authors apply this style in their written works. As opposed to the undergrads, writers, journalists, and scholarly authors create a balance in their oeuvres due to CMS on a regular basis.
You may think that the constant updates in the formatting guidelines can lead to fewer benefits, as you always have to memorize them anew. Yet, the major alterations are related to attributing online sources. It encourages students to search for new information, avoiding the outdated material.
Check the Format Styles Updates All the Time
Just imagine the extent of your accidental fiasco if you fail to check the updated version of the required formatting style. You may complete a thought-provoking paper, but the only mistake may be that you have failed to format your Reference List following the latest requirements. Such an innocent flaw may lead to some problematic issues.
APA Formatting Errors Students Recurrently Make
There have been various findings on common apa mistakes. All of these findings emphasized a typical inaccuracy in the majority of the papers – ambiguous referencing of the Internet sources. Besides, the formatting inconsistencies were related to the obvious reason – students failed to check the renewed guidelines for writing assignments. Students should use decent referencing and cite different materials as requested. They also have to research a particular topic in detail and focus on groundbreaking concepts. Students should learn how to present all ideas into insightful paragraphs, avoiding neglecting the original sources. Referencing is the key to every successful scientifically grounded work.
Although certain arrangements in the format instructions are needlessly scrupulous, students learn to follow the standards and make the final assessment of their papers unbiased. Students who usually cite all the authors as requested tend to produce exceptional Bibliography pages. After tackling tedious formatting structures, they can handle more complex academic challenges related to the ideas’ generation.
Typical MLA Format Errors
MLA is a common graduate school paper format used in Liberal Arts or Linguistic Studies classes. Professors usually ask their students to format narrative, descriptive, argumentative essays, or book reviews, following MLA instructions.
Diverse teachers working with foreign languages and literary criticism noticed reoccurring errors in the MLA-formatted papers. They found mistakes both in the produced content and the presented references. The typical writing issues are:
- Wrongly placing a period before and after the parenthetical citation;
- Putting an inverted comma that closes the sentence after the citation in parentheses;
- Putting a speech mark within commas and periods after them.
- The typical MLA-related issues in the “Works Cited” section:
- Failing to follow the alphabetic arrangement of cited sources (the paradox is that this rule seems to be the easiest, yet this mistake remains the most common);
- Blending the features of MLA and APA formatting styles. Some students use initials for the first names, when MLA style predetermines indicating full first names along with middle-name initials;
- Omitting the physical location of the published source. For example, the place of publication is London, and the publishing agency is L. R. Price Publications Ltd. According to MLA guidelines, it should be: London, L. R. Price Publications Ltd, 2021, but a student specifies only L. R. Price Publications Ltd, 2021.
- Lack of knowledge of the guidelines for the correct usage of quotations marks;
- Failure to underline or italicize the required sentence.
You ought to avoid making such mistakes if you keep an MLA handbook before your eyes when writing the assignment.
Get Professional Help from Academic Formatting Pros
Adhering to long lists of rules is boring, but as a result, it makes the preparation of every new paper much easier. You may likely succeed if your writing reflects relevant and authentic resources. Still, the main secret is citing the material following the required formatting style. Most professors suggest that you should revise pertinent information from paper-formatting manuals to make sure all the standards are up-to-date.
The role of the resource center at your university is also of great importance. Every academic library is full of different resources, both hard copies and online material. You can always address your academic advisor to assist you in finding the most relevant information on your subject. In considering occasional style guide modifications, it is sound to rely on experts available on your campus.
Be Attentive to the Changes in Academic Styles
The main difference between mla and apa format is in the disciplines that students use them. The MLA style is suitable for literary efforts and all the subjects within the scope of humanities. The APA style covers scientific works in the technical fields of study.
To make formatting standards less frightening, students should master only one academic format that suits a certain discipline best. Yet, referencing and citing guidelines tend to change over time. So, you have to read through the updated versions not to miss the essential improvements.
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All students with excellent skills in academic formatting can compose outstanding and unique papers. Following the rules of the main “Schools of Academic Styles” will help you become an ambitious scholar.