Graduate Success

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Preparing for Academic Success at the Graduate Level
Michelle Carlton
Comm/600
June 10, 2013
Rick Bushman

Preparing for Academic Success at the Graduate Level
In beginning the road to a Master’s Degree, there are several important factors that contribute to success. It is imperative to understand the proper way to format a paper as a graduate student. There are specific requirements that must be met when writing at the graduate level. It is important to understand your own strengths and weaknesses in writing to be successful. Another factor of success as a graduate student is the ability to demonstrate effective time management skills and stress management skills.

Characteristics of Graduate Writing
Expectations are higher when writing at a graduate level. Papers are required to be written in the style promoted by the American Psychological Association (APA). This style is referred to as APA style. It is described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2010) (Dunn, 2011, p. 7).

Dunn (2011) states “APA style papers rely on a standard organization, one prescribing where and how particular information should be placed for maximum benefit to readers.” (p. 7)

APA style is simply another means to organize and present research. Originally developed in 1928, this style enjoys widespread use by researchers, writers, editors, publishers, and students in the psychological community, as well as in for writing in business, criminology, economics, nursing, social work, and sociology (Dunn, 2011, p. 7).

When writing in APA style, a paper must be formatted according to guidelines. This includes proper margins, font, style, and spacing. All resources must be cited properly. All APA style papers will include a title page, and a reference page. There are many resources that can be used for assistance with writing in the APA format. This includes the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010) itself or using the University of Phoenix Center for Writing Excellence. Although the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010), provides guidelines that must be followed, it also acknowledges that there are always exceptions to the rules and that sometimes using good judgment is necessary (American Psychological Association, 1994, p. xxiii) (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 5).

Strengths and Weaknesses
In evaluating my own strengths and weaknesses in writing, I was very surprised to learn that I do not know as much as I thought about writing and grammar. I thought that I had a good grasp on writing because I write and correct large reports for a living. In taking some proficiency tests in the Center for Writing Excellence, I realized that I was wrong.

I took the Grammar Mechanics Mastery Test I in the Tutorials and Guides section of eCampus. I scored a 64% on the test. When I took the Grammar Mechanics Mastery Test II, I scored a 72%. I found my strengths to be in capitalization, run on sentences, punctuation, and use of apostrophes. My weaknesses are in the areas of clauses and modifiers.

The ability to identify your own strengths and weaknesses in writing is a very important part of being successful as a graduate student. When you are aware of your weaknesses, you can use resources to improve in those areas. The Center for Writing Excellence contains numerous resources that can be helpful to students seeking improvement.

Best Practices for Time and Stress Management
Time Management
Time is valuable. There does not seem to be enough time in one day. That is why it is so important to manage time wisely. Everybody’s situation is different regarding...
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