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Writing Your Way to Academic Excellence: the Art of Effective Writing

Effective writing skills are an essential requirement for academic success and beyond. In class, writing is an essential component of most assessments, as it enables you to demonstrate your understanding of course material, develop and articulate ideas, and communicate your thoughts effectively. However, many students struggle with writing, often due to a lack of understanding of key writing principles or inadequate guidance on how to develop writing skills. In this section, we'll explore strategies to improve your writing proficiency, from understanding the fundamentals of effective writing to developing a consistent writing practice that allows you to produce engaging and well-crafted pieces in your courses.

Writing:  Note-TakingAirman taking notes

Video IconTaking Notes:  Crash Course Study Skills #1  
The first step in honing your new study skills is to take better notes. This week Thomas will tell you everything you need to know to come to class prepared and find a note-taking system that will help you retain and review like a champ.

Article IconOutline Note- Taking Method
The outline method is consistently ranked as one of the best note-taking methods by researchers and students worldwide. Outlining is a method that’s remarkably well-suited for online learning as it benefits from methodical, self-paced categorization of...

Article IconCornell Note- Taking Method
Cornell Notes are a powerful note-taking method because they create a natural learning cycle within a single document. By reducing, reciting, reflecting, and reviewing your notes, you can ensure high levels of retention and memorization.

Article IconBoxing Note- Taking Method
The boxing strategy takes full advantage of digital-only features such as lasso and shape insertion tools. Boxing notes are becoming increasingly popular among college students using iPads or touch-screen laptops. Notes created with the boxing style are...

Article IconCharting Note- Taking Method
The charting method is a powerful note-taking method for organizing information that can be divided into clear categories. Charting can be done with a wide range of tools, including Microsoft Excel, Google sheets, or even pen and paper. Follow the five steps...

Article IconMapping Note- Taking Method
Initial versions of the mapping method can be seen as far back as in Leonardo Da Vinci’s personal notes from the 15th century. Combine the mapping method of note-taking with active recall and spaced repetition for the best study results. This method is time-intensive but...

Article IconSentence Note- Taking Method
The sentence method of note-taking is very versatile and easy to use, but it’s certainly not the most efficient method out there. I recommend using the sentence method during fast-paced live lectures where you don’t have the time needed to take more structured notes.

Article IconQ/E/C Note- Taking Method
The Question/Evidence/Conclusion notetaking method is a straightforward way to help you connect ideas presented in class in the form of questions and answers. The method is particularly useful in argumentative subjects such as philosophy, history, and literature, as well as...

Article IconFlow Note- Taking Method
The flow note-taking method is a free-form approach to actively engaging with a topic through visually representing relationships between concepts and ideas. The method is flexible and suitable for most subjects. It is one of the more challenging methods to use live...

Article IconREAP Method
The REAP method encourages active reading and critical thinking by breaking the process of reading a text into four distinct stages. The four stages (Read, Encode, Annotate, and Ponder) can be applied to any type of reading material to ensure you are engaging with the material in a meaningful way. The method has...

Writing:  Professional WritingAirman taking notes

Video IconEvaluating Sources
Students are shown how to evaluate sources through 5 criteria: Authority, Accuracy, Currency, Relevance, and Objectivity.

Video IconHow to Write a Good Essay:  Paraphrasing the Question  
Do you sometimes struggle to begin writing an essay when taking an exam? Good news! There is an important writing skill that will help you improve your essay introductions. This technique is called "paraphrasing", and it means rewriting something using different words. In...

Video IconEnglish Essay:  How to Write About ANY Essay Topic
In this video, Jay explains how to write about topics for English Essay writing. After watching this video, you should know how to write a good essay on any topic.

Video IconHow to Write a Strong Thesis Statement
Follow these tips and tricks for help creating a strong thesis statement. There are even examples of strong and weak thesis statements that you can learn from.

Video IconDiscover How to Write a Counterclaim Paragraph & Defend with Rebuttal
In this video, I show you how to straighten your argument by acknowledging the counterclaim and defending it with a rebuttal. As you write an argumentative essay, it is important to acknowledge the argument of the opposing side. In your paragraph, it is important to explain why you are right by why the other side is wrong. I explain the common mistakes and logical fallacies to avoid.

Video IconHow to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper:  A Structure for a Conclusion in a PhD Journal Paper
Every research paper has a similar conclusion. Once you see the pattern in the conclusions, you will start to be able to write a better conclusion for a research paper.

Video IconHow to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper  |  Step by Step Guide
The conclusion of the research paper needs to summarize the content and purpose of the paper, but not to appear too woody or too dry. Each basic conclusion must share several key elements, but you can also use multiple strategies to formulate more effective conclusions, and you should avoid using several strategies to prevent weakening the paper's conclusions.

Video IconPapers & Essays:  Crash Course Study Skills #9
Writing research papers is an essential skill in your career as a student, and this week we’re going to help you do that like a pro. From figuring out where to begin, to finding the best systems, to breaking out of “research recursion system” (maybe just figuring out what that means), we’ve got you covered.

Writing:  ResourcesWriting Class

Video IconDAFH33-337, The Tongue and Quill  
This handbook, together with Air Force Manual (AFMAN) 33-326, Preparing Official Communications, provides the information to ensure clear communications—written or spoken.

Video IconThe Grammar Guide
Check for answers to the most common grammar and writing style questions, or try the grammar checker software.

Benchmark Meter picture

Skill Benchmarks

Skill Benchmarks provide you with a means to assess your competence level in a specific skill. When you complete a Skill Benchmark questionnaire, you obtain a proficiency score for the designated skill. Rather than comparing your score to others, it is measured against a predefined set of objectives established by an expert in the field. The outcomes of the benchmark highlight your proficiency in the skill, and based on these results, Percipio promptly presents tailored content suggestions that address the areas you struggled with. These recommendations are conveniently displayed alongside the results, enabling you to concentrate on enhancing your weaknesses and avoiding unnecessary repetition of knowledge you already possess.

Skill Benchmarks that support Writing:

Written Communication

Important instructions:  When accessing the above links from a computer with a Common Access Card, the links will take you to the Percipio DAF e-Learning platform. To access from a mobile device, the Skillsoft Percipio app is required. The app can be installed by scanning the QR code and following the instructions below.
Percipio mobile app QR code

To access DAFeL on the Percipio Mobile App on iOS or Android devices, you must first add a password to your Percipio account on your workstation:
  1. If you haven’t self-registered, visit https://usaf.percipio.com and login with your CAC using “corporate credentials” and then log out. 
  2. On the DAFeL login page, select “Alternatively, login with your Percipio credentials”.
  3. Enter your official email address or DoDID number and press “Next”.
  4. Under the password field, select “Get password help”. 
  5. Enter your official email address and press “Send”. 
  6. Follow the instructions on the email to setup your password.
  7. Launch the app and enter “usaf” in the site name field.
  8. Login with your DoDID or official email address and Password.
  9. Start building new skills on your terms.

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