Writing an 'A' paper: Difficulties to overcome

Aug 19, 2013
You are going to be asked to write many different papers throughout your academic career. Each course will have requirements attached to them, many of which will be to write a paper on a subject matter. The type of paper you will have to write will be tied to the type of course it is and what the professor is trying to elicit from you. Papers are assigned for many reasons, but chief among them is to show that you have a command of the subject, and that you have attention to detail. There are many difficulties that you may encounter to getting the desired "A" that you are looking for.

What type of papers are there?

There are many different papers to write in the field of academia. Each has their own purpose, whether to show your opinion on a subject, your understanding of it, or your overall knowledge, or proficiency at being able to do research about it. A professor will chose a specific type of paper to give you a chance to show what you have learned. It is a demonstration of your skills. The problem is that there are so many other factors that can influence the grade that you get. There are some professors who are looking for things that are not always outlined, or straight forward. Being able to read why a professor has assigned something and what they want from it, from you, is the best way to get the grade that you want.

Why some professors appear to be harder than others

There is a reason why students have an opinion about their professor. There will always be personality conflicts between student and teacher which will lead one student to like them over another, but when there are several students all with the same opinion of an instructor, there is usually a reason why. There are some professors who get a reputation for either their easy nature, or their hard to please one, and as a student, you are privy to which professors are which. There are those who seem to be harder to please than others. When you begin any course, it is imperative that you not only get a sense of the amount of work that you will be asked to do, but that you understand the level of professionalism that is being expected.
There will always be those classes which are harder than others. Because of the subject matter, they may be more difficult for certain kids, or because of the person teaching it, it may be harder for everyone. Some instructors seem as if they are not only hard to please, but impossible. The reason why they seem so is because they have an expectation for their students that either they do not make explicit, or it is harder than the other professors expectations.

How to read a professor

The way to get the "A" paper that you desire is not just about coming up with the perfect paper. Of course it is a matter of perfect grammar, spelling, and no visible mistakes, but sometimes it is about something so much more. If you want to get an "A" on your paper, sometimes it is about pleasing the person who is grading the paper. Although the paper will speak for itself and have objective components, there will also be a level of subjectivity which is left up to the professor. There are times when you can have a perfect paper, have all that you thought you needed, and still end up with a grade which is less than expected. What did you do wrong? You did not figure out what it was the professor was really asking for.
When you get an assignment there are some things that you can do to make sure that you completely understand what is being asked of you:
  • Make sure to ask questions of the professor to get clarification
  • Either stay after, or schedule a time, to go over anything you don't understand
  • Understand what frame of reference your teacher is coming from. Are they for or against the subject matter themselves?
  • Ask past students, when possible, what seemed to be important to the professor
  • If they have a student assistant ask for their help
  • Learn to read between the lines of what the professor is asking for
  • Make a list of priorities before beginning. Not priorities according to the paper, but what the professor considers a serious offense
  • Proofread it, proofread it, proofread it
  • Always go by all rules, reread them, and have them on hand while writing the paper and afterward


Although it should not be the case, it is, you are writing any academic paper for your professor. A paper can be objective, or subjective, but in the end, they are all left up to the subjectivity of the professor to grade. Pinpointing exactly what the professor is looking for in assigning the paper is the best way to get the grade you are looking for. Each instructor is supposed to come to class with an unbiased opinion and an open mind, but we are all human, and in being so, that is virtually impossible.
There are all sorts of reasons why a professor does, or does not, like your paper. The key to getting an "A" is to get your professor to not only like it, but to agree with it. By not paying attention to their point of view, or delivering what they are looking for, that is not going to happen. Although they cannot give you a grade that is far off from what the paper deserves, it is possible for them to give you a grade that is less than you think it deserves just because they had a subjective opinion about you, or your writing.
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By Martha Buckly. Martha is a good freelance writer and loves sharing posts on different topics including tips and guidelines for articles and academic writing. Her professional experience helps to create interesting and useful material.
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