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- How to Organize
- Decoding Prompts
- Getting Started: 12 Techniques
- Editing and Proofreading
- BackWords Guide to Proofreading
- Reading Study Guide Strategy
- Blank Reading Study Guide
- Preview and Predicting Reading Strategy
- Annotation Strategy and Active Reading
- Metacognitive Reading and Thinking Log
- Vocabulary Log
- TIPS+ Summary Outline
- Critical Reading Questions
- Reading as a Process
Citation and Plagiarism
- Writing APA Papers: Give Credit Where It Belongs
- In-text Citations: APA
- Writing MLA Papers: Give Credit Where It Belongs
- In-text Citations: MLA
- MCC Library Citation Guides
Types of Essays
- College Admissions Essay
- Scholarship Essay Tips
- Personal Essay Brainstorming
- Timed Writing
- Collaborative Writing
Writing Tips & Helpful Hints
The Writing Process
- Brainstorming (PDF)
Having trouble getting started? Here are some tried-and-true brainstorming techniques to get the ball rolling.
- How to Organize (PDF)
College essays don't come out of cookie cutter molds--they're different for each assignment, class, and instructor! This handout reminds you what to consider when you're organizing your essay.
- Decoding Prompts (PDF)
Sometimes teachers' prompts can seem more like a cryptic riddle to solve than a simple assignment sheet. This trusty handout will help you decipher confusing prompts and understand what your teacher is asking for.
- Getting Started: 12 Techniques (PDF)
Starting a paper is often the hardest part. Check out this handout for more helpful tips on how to brainstorm and get started on your next paper.
- Editing and Proofreading (PDF)
Check out this page for tips on how to make sure you can catch those easy-to-make spelling and punctuation mistakes.
- BackWords Guide to Proofreading (PDF)
Backwards paper your read! I mean, read your paper backwards! This handout teaches backwards proofreading, a fun and effective way to go over your own work when you aren’t able to get someone else to look at it.
- Reading Study Guide Strategy (PDF)
Sometimes the scariest words out of a professor’s mouth can be, “This will be on the test!” This handout can help you to break down assigned reading into smaller categories that make studying easier, such as key terms, connections to class discussions, important quotes and further questions.
- Blank Reading Study Guide (PDF)
Some of us learn best by creating our own plan for studying a chapter. This handout allows you to record the textbook name, chapter, and page numbers at the top, and then fill in boxes underneath with categories so the important things stand out to you in an assigned reading. See the Reading Study Guide if you have no idea where to start with categories.
- Preview and Predicting Reading Strategy (PDF)
What the heck is all of this stuff in italics before my reading assignment actually starts? This note about the author isn’t important, right? Sometimes the parts we tend to skip over can be really helpful in understanding the context of a reading assignment. This handout can help you preview a text and think about what information might be helpful before you even start reading!
- Annotation Strategy and Active Reading (PDF)
Annotated reading may be one of the most useful strategies for reading at a college level. The point is to really think about what you’re reading and connect with it. That way you’ll remember more when it comes to classroom discussions and tests! Check out this handout for some tips on annotation to help you read more actively and effectively.
- Metacognitive Reading & Thinking Log (PDF)
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate” ...wait. Huh? If quotes from a reading leave you stumped, use this handout to record them side by side with an interpretation, prediction, or question. This is a great handout to bring to a class discussion!
- Vocabulary Log (PDF)
Garrulous. Assiduous. Obstreperous. We don’t know what they mean either, but if you’ve got a reading assignment chock full of confusing vocabulary terms, this is the handout for you – a simple way to record words and their definitions for later review.
- TIPS+ Summary Outline (PDF)
If you’re looking to find an author’s main point, this is the handout for you. It allows you to record an author’s main argument and supporting points, which can be especially helpful when you’re writing an essay that responds to a certain article or essay by another author.
- Critical Reading Questions (PDF)
Need to do some major analyzing? Although this handout may just look like a homework assignment at first glance, it can really ensure you cover everything from background information about the text/topic to identifying main arguments and recording any questions you still have.
- Reading as a Process (PDF)
Start here! This asks you to consider what you do before, during, and after you read because reading is a process. Where you read matters. Whether or not you take notes matters. How you take notes matters. What you do afterwards—organize your notes, highlight crucial questions to ask in class, look up the couple words you didn’t know—matters. Think about the entire process to use your time most effectively.
Citation & Plagiarism
- Writing APA Papers: Give Credit Where It Belongs (PDF)
It’s always important to make sure you’re giving proper credit when using someone else’s ideas or information in your assignment. Use this handout to make sure you’re on the straight and narrow.
- In-text Citations: APA (PDF)
In-text citations? APA? Short quotes vs long quotes? Heck. There’s a lot of things to keep track of when you’re writing a paper in APA format. Use this handout to help clarify what’s needed when citing sources in your paper.
- Writing MLA Papers: Give Credit Where It Belongs (PDF)
What does your teacher mean when they say you need to cite your sources in MLA format? This handout will give you a better understanding of what MLA is and why it’s essential that you use it
- In-text Citations: MLA (PDF)
So you know what MLA is. Now how the heck do you use it in a paper? This handout will clarify what you need to do when citing sources in your assignment.
- For more information, check out the MiraCosta Library's citation guides for MLA, APA, Chicago, and more.
Types of Essays
- College Admissions Essay (PDF)
You’ve decided it’s time to transfer. But now you have to write an essay that will help determine your acceptance! Gulp. Admissions essays can be scary when you’re not sure what to write. Let this handout ease some of your fears and get you headed down the right track.
- Scholarship Essay Tips (PDF)
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just say, “I’m awesome, give me money!” and the checks would come pouring in? Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way, so use this handout to figure out other useful things you can say in a scholarship essay.
- Personal Essay Brainstorming (PDF)
You have to write a personal essay, but you’re way too interesting! How can you ever decide what amazing aspects of your life to focus on? Use this handout to help narrow it down and stay focused.
- Timed Writing (PDF)
Writing an essay at home is very different from writing one in class with a time limit, and without any of the resources you're used to having access to. Check out this handout for tips on how to stay calm and write a successful essay.
- Collaborative Writing (PDF)
Do you dread group projects? Check out this handout for tips on dividing the work fairly while utilizing everyone's talents to save time and create a better paper.
Writing Tips & Helpful Hints
- Building Papers (PDF)
Use legos to write your next paper? That's right! Explore how building with toys and other creative activities can help make your next writing assignment clearer.
- Creative Writing
Not feeling very creative? Try a few of these activities to help get your creative juices flowing again.
- Reorganization (PDF)
Ever feel like your ideas are there, but they're all over the place? Check out these fun activities for re-organizing your writing for clarity.