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Top 20 Online Tools for Academic Writing


The strict guidelines and high expectations associated with academic writing tend to intimidate even the most confident writers, so I've compiled this list of the top 20 online tools for academic writing. If you utilize the tools available through these 20 websites, you can approach academic writing with confidence.

  • The Purdue Online Writing Lab features detailed guidelines and explanations to help you adhere to each particular style guide (such as AP , APA , MLA , and Chicago ). If you need to cite sources in your academic writing, the Purdue Owl is an essential online academic tool. The Purdue Owl is thorough and organized, so you can find information and answer specific format questions quickly. The site even includes sample papers of each citation style so you can see formatting examples and how the citation guidelines apply to an actual paper.
  • The University of North Carolina Writing Center is a comprehensive online writing resource that is available whether you attend UNC or not. UNC's Writing Center offers tutorials and tips that will answer all of your academic writing questions.
  • Trello is a site that makes it easier to work with co-authors and collaborate as a team. You can create custom boards, assign tasks, and manage information on the easy-to-use visual platform.
  • The Hemingway App uses artificial intelligence to analyze your text for run-on or complicated sentences, passive voice, and other habits that weaken your writing. The Hemingway App uses a color-coded system to highlight different issues and provides suggestions for how to reword the sentence.
  • Marinara Time is perfect for anyone who struggles to stay on task. The Marinara Timer provides a customizable adaptation of the Pomodoro technique so you can choose work intervals and break times that work best for your schedule. If time management doesn't come naturally to you, the Marinara Timer is here to help.
  • Trinka is an online grammar checking and language correction tool designed specifically for academic and technical writing. Flowery phrases that are suitable for an English 101 paper are inappropriate in formal academic writing, so Trinka will highlight phrases that are too casual or colloquial and provide suggestions for alternatives. Trinka offers both free and paid options to serve a variety of budgets.
  • Readable is a free online tool that uses artificial intelligence to score the "readability" of your content. The site will also evaluate other aspects of your writing such as your average number of words per sentence and syllables per word, and it will assign you a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level to identify your text's approximate grade level. You can just copy and paste your text onto their documents page, and it will generate a readability score for you. They only give you one free readability assessment, so use it wisely if you don't have the money to pay for their subscription service.
  • Omni Calculator is ideal for academic writers who need a little external assistance with document planning and pacing. The Omni Calculator prompts you to enter your total word count and project's due date, and then it tells you how many words you need to write per day to stay on track. It calculates your average words per minute, keeps track of how much time you've spent writing, and estimates how long it will take you to finish the project. As long as you remember to use it, the Omni calculator is a useful tool for those of us who struggle with time management.
  • Paper Panda is a free browser extension that gives you access to previous studies and academic papers that otherwise might be inaccessible. If you keep encountering paywalls that prevent you from reading relevant studies that you want to cite, check out Panda Paper.
  • The Nuts & Bolts of College Writing is full of useful tips that are particularly tailored for academic writers. If you are looking for advice regarding clear and effective writing, look no further.
  • OneLook is an online thesaurus that suggests alternate words when you just can't think of the exact word you want to use or you've used the word "evaluated" too many times and you're desperate for a good synonym. OneLook even lets you choose the part of speech that you're looking for so you can narrow your results.
  • Phrase Bank is an online databank of phrases that are commonly used in academic papers and scientific journals. If you keep typing the phrase "for example," in your paper, visit Phrase Bank's Giving Examples page to find out what phrases other academic writers used. Phrase Bank offers suggestions for restating just about every part of a standard academic paper.
  • Grammark is an online tool created by Mark Fullmer that will evaluate your writing for passive sentences, academic style, nominalizations, sentence variety, wordiness, transitions, and a few other issues. However, Grammark clearly states that it does not check for fragments/incomplete sentences, comma splices, tense shifts, subject-verb agreement, apostrophe errors, or idiotic ideas, so it should not be the only tool that you use to check for grammar and punctuation errors.
  • Google Docs is a great online resource for collaborating with co-authors, and it also saves your work to the cloud so you won't have to worry about losing all of your hard work.
  • Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Outline Maker provides an easy-to-use outline format to help you plan your academic paper and conceptualize your thesis. To generate your personalized outline, fill in the basic text boxes on this simple website and input your title, thesis statement, and your main points along with your supporting evidence for each point.
  • Mendeley is a free reference manager that enables you to store all of your sources in one searchable place. Mendeley is available as a website add-on or as a downloadable reference manager to help you keep track of your sources as you write. The platform also provides space for you to record your thoughts, notes, and comments on the material.
  • EasyBib will help you generate in-text citations and a references list. The citation generator will adhere to your specified format, but it will not recognize typos or misspellings if you type the information incorrectly, so it is essential that you review the citations to ensure that they are correct. Every time that I've worked with a client who used an online citation generator, I have found errors in the citations, so check yours carefully.
  • Zotero is another free online citation generator that will help you organize your sources and cite them according to your specific citation style. As with any citation generator, make sure you proofread each citation and ensure that you've spelled names correctly and entered accurate years and page numbers.
  • is an online recording and transcription tool that will transcribe scientific interviews, meetings, or focus groups so you don't have to. Otter's live recording and transcription services will make it easy to get accurate participant quotes and statements.
  • XMind mind mapping tool is ideal for visual thinkers who organize their thoughts best with a mind map or visual web.

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Academic Writing Success

11 Fantastic Online Writing Tools for Free in 2022

by Suzanne Davis | Feb 10, 2022 | Writing Resources , Writing Technology

“ Suzanne, I have the perfect online writing tool for you.”

11 Fantastic Online Writing Tools Free

I receive many emails from people telling me about an excellent new app, tool, or website for writers or students. And since I tutor academic writing online, I try all kinds of writing tools and resources to see how they work, and experiment.  My goal? Find things that make the academic writing process easier and improve the quality of an essay, paper, or another project.

Only a small number of resources and websites are my go-to choices because I’m looking for online writing tools that make your writing life simpler. I don’t want to recommend online tools that are challenging to manage and require a lot of training to use. The writing process  doesn’t need to be harder. 

Today, I’m sharing my top 11  online writing tools for free that will help you achieve your writing goals.

Let’s look at how they can help you.

11 Online Writing Tools for Free in 2022

11 Fantastic Online Writing Tools and Resources Infographic

Online Tools for the Writing Process

#1 jamboard for prewriting.

Jamboard    Jamboard is a Google Extension you can use to help you develop and plan out your writing ideas. It is perfect for prewriting because you can brainstorm and organize ideas using “sticky notes.” There are 2 ways I use Jamboard for writing. 

The first way is to come up with writing ideas.  To do this, start with an open-ended question like: What can I write?   Type every idea you have on an electronic sticky note.  You can change the color and size of the sticky notes and move them around in any order.  Here’s an example of a Jamboard with my ideas for writing a personal narrative. 

Jamboard for Brainstorming

Jamboard example for Brainstorming Writing Ideas

The second prewriting activity you can use Jamboard for is to develop ideas on a topic.  You can use the boards for creating blog posts or essay content.  Create sticky notes for main ideas using one color; then, add supporting details to each of those main ideas on sticky notes of a different color. 

Here’s an example of some ideas I have for a blog post.  You can see all my supporting details are in yellow, and my main topics are in aqua. 

Jamboard for Organizing Writing Ideas

Jamboard Example for Writing Organization

There are other fun things you can do, such as change the background color and draw a line with a pen. Jamboard is simple to use, flexible, and creative. 

#2 Internet Archive for Online Research

Internet Archive   is an online public library with free books, videos, articles, websites, and audio files.  It has millions of sources from libraries all over the world.  You can find excellent credible primary and secondary sources. 

Type into the search bar your topic, title, or author, or perform an advanced search where you can specify the words contained, date range, author, and types of media.  This screenshot shows you results for the search term “Kennedy Assassination.”

Internet Archive Screenshot of Search Results

Internet Archive Search Results for the “Kenned y Assassination.”

I use Internet Archive to find a lot of sources for teaching and writing.  My students love using it for research because they have access to many different types of media.  When I create Google Classrooms for my students, I always include Internet Archive as a top resource.

#3 Google Docs for Writing and Revising

Google Docs   is similar to MS Word when it comes to composing, revising, editing, and publishing writing.  In  Google Docs you can write, comment, and edit a document with other people at the same time.  

You can use Google Docs with every aspect of writing, from brainstorming to publishing a final draft.  In this image, you can see the menu and document and comment on the side. 

Google Docs Example with comments

Google Docs Example 

Since you can share a document with another person via a link or email, writing is interactive.  Another feature of Google Docs is that it is easy to download a file in a PDF or MS Word format (which is handy when you need to submit a piece of writing as an MS Word or PDF document). 

#4 Google Classroom for Collaboration and Writing Groups

Google Classroom / has been a favorite tool of mine ever since it was available to anyone with a Google Account.  Before 2017, you could only use Google Classroom if your school district used it. 

Since anyone with a Google account can create a classroom, writing groups can use a Google Classroom to share resources organized by topics and add writing for others to read. You can post anything in the stream from an attachment, video, link, or something in Google Drive and email members of a group.  

I use it with my tutoring students as a place to upload resources, share documents, and communicate with them through the stream. Below is a glimpse of a writing classroom I created. 

Google Classroom for Writing

Google Classroom Example, “Online Writing Class Resources and More. “

To create a class:

  • Go to , or select your Google Classroom app, go to the right side and click on the + sign and select “Create a class.” 
  • A box will pop up where you can create the name of your class or writing group.  T
  • Type your information and select “create.” 
  • Next, invite group members by sending them an email, copying an invitation link, or sharing the class code.
  • Start adding materials for your group.

Check out this post and see how to create an amazing academic writing group

Writing Tools for Focus and Productivity

#5 calmly writer.

If you find it hard to concentrate on writing and keep stopping to edit or “look something up,” try Calmly Writer . At the Calmly Writer website, you’ll see 2 choices: 1) The free online version and 2) The Desktop App, which costs #14.99. This blog post describes the free online version (not the desktop app).

Calmly Writer does not have a toolbar like Google Docs  or MS Word. It lets you write without complicated buttons that highlight any mistakes. Which means you aren’t stopping to fix and correct things. Instead, you can focus on composing and turning thoughts into writing. The online program has a blank space.  In the example here, you’ll see a word count tracker and “time to read tracker” at the bottom of the page.

Calmly Writer Example Text

Calmly Writer Example Text

You can choose a light or dark background setting. As you change paragraphs, you’ll see the previous ones fade; it forces you to move forward in your writing. You can set up simple preferences, such as font size, background, and noise (none or a typewriter sound). When you finish writing, you can download your document as a text, HTML, or Word Document file, or you can save it to Google Drive.

#6 Write More

Another tool that blocks distractions and keeps you on track with your writing is Write More .  Write More is a brand new tool (as of January 2022). I set up my account with Write More (currently free). Write More asked me questions about my preferences for a theme (my font style and background color) and word count goal. Other features I could select were whether or not I wanted to have creative writing prompts and email or text reminders at certain times of the day.

Write More tracks my word count and saves my writing automatically. Each piece of writing is saved as a page. In the example below, you’ll see the page I used to write this blog post.

Write More OnlineJournal for Writing Page

Write More Example of a Page

Now, I can open it whenever I need to and go back to it. Also, I can download my page as Word Document, Html, or Text File.  But one of my favorite parts is the analytics because I can see how much I’ve written each day over a more extended period. Looking at my analytics encouraged me to keep writing because I know the progress or lack of progress I made with my writing. I wrote my first draft of this post using Write More! 

I’m not sure how much longer Write More will be free, so try it and register for an account if it interests you.

Online Tools for Organization and Planning

#7 evernote.

Evernote lets you write and record notes on your phone that sync with an online app. There is a paid version of Evernote with more features and storage. However, I have a free account. With the free account, You can save your notes to “Notebooks” around a specific topic.  

Evernote Dashboard with Notebooks

Example of an Evernote Dashboard with Notebooks

As you can see, I have notebooks for blog post ideas, fiction ideas, etc. Since I can record my thoughts on my phone, Evernote helps me capture ideas when I’m away from my laptop. It’s perfect for when I wake up in the middle of the night with a writing idea; I can record an audio note and go back to sleep.

Trello is a popular place for all kinds of planning and collaboration. People can create boards to brainstorm, complete tasks, and keep track of everything they need to do. There is a section for writing where people can create an original board and design it or work from a popular template.

This photo shows you my Trello Dashboard and the templates available.

Trello Workspace Example with Template

Trello Workspace Example

In Trello, you can add cards for different things like checklists, attachments from links, Dropbox, and Google Drive within a template board. You can check off things as you complete them, add bibliographic information with sources, and make sure you finish everything by a deadline.  Here is a card I developed for writing descriptions of academic sources.

 Trello Card Example from a Board

Example of a Trello Card within a Board

There are different types of accounts that include a free option and different levels of paid options. In the free version, you can create 10 boards with an unlimited amount of cards on each board and unlimited storage. However, the free account does not include the features of assigning dates and inviting members.

Writing Resources for Word Choice

#9 visuwords.

Visuwords is more than a visual thesaurus because it also shows you the lexicon around a word. You can see how words fit within a phrase. When you type a word into the search bar, what comes up is a web that shows you both the parts of speech related to a term and the relationship of words (whether they mean the same thing, are examples of, are a type of something, etc.). You can see whole phrases put together.

Visuwords-Visual Thesaurus Example "Curious"

Visuwords Example for the Word “Curious”

In the screenshot above, you can see the parts of speech related to the word “curious.” Each is color-coded: blue for a noun, green for a verb, orange for an adjective, and red for an adverb . The different lines that are solid or dotted note the relationship of a word or phrase to “curious.” For example, the solid blue color circle with the words “curiousness and inquisitiveness” are nouns. The solid gray line shows that they are words for “curious.”  Visuwords is free and runs on donations, so consider making a small donation if you use it regularly.

#10 Power Thesaurus

Power Thesaurus https://www.powe r  shows you synonyms, antonyms, and definitions for a word. It’s community-driven, which means the words and sentences are gathered from multiple sources online. The benefit of that is it expands your word choices. In the screenshot below, I searched for synonyms for “curious.” There are 394 words and phrases. I selected the word “peculiar” and found its definition.

Power Thesaurus Example for the Word Curious

Power Thesaurus Example for the Word “Curious”

The downside of a community-driven website is that information may not be accurate. You’ll want to check words and phrases you are unsure of in a dictionary/thesaurus like Merriam-Webster. Power Thesaurus is free to use, but the free account includes pop-up ads. Hey, they need to make money some ho w . If you want to avoid ads, read more content, and get advanced extensions, you can purchase the Pro Subscription for $29.90 annually.

#11 Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus

Every writer or student needs to have a good dictionary. Merriam-Webster Online combines its dictionary with a thesaurus. Like its book dictionary, you’ll find the meanings of a word and its variations. 

In the screenshot here, you’ll see the essential definitions and complete definitions of the word “curious.”

Merriam-Webster Definition of the Word Curious for a Blog Post

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definitions for the Word “Curious”

If you scroll down the page, you’ll see these options

  • Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Words From…
  • Choose the Right Synonym
  • Did you know?
  • More Example Sentences
  • Learn More About…

The third option, “Choose the Right Synonym, ” helps you find the perfect word that fits the emotion and context of what you are writing. Here, you can see information about choosing synonyms for the word “curious.”

Merriam-Webster "Choose the Right Synonym Explanation

Merriam-Webster–How to Choose the Right Synonym

Merriam-Webster also has an online thesaurus to help you find synonyms, related words, near antonyms, and antonyms. When you use Merriam-Webster, you know that the words you select come from a credible source. You can use it for free, but Google Ads are on the right side and bottom of your screen. It isn’t enjoyable, but you get used to it.

How to Select Your Online Writing Tools

Try out these free online writing tools to discover which ones will help you write better. Consider what you need overall to brainstorm, plan, write, focus, and enhance your language. Don’t add all these tools at once,  but choose ones that make your writing life easier and even more fun!  

And stay tuned for my next blog post, where I look at the best free revising and editing tools for 2022.

Like this list? Please share it and spread these free online writing tools!   

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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples

An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.

There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.

The essay writing process consists of three main stages:

  • Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
  • Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
  • Revision:  Check your essay on the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.

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Table of contents

Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.

The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .

For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.

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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
  • Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
  • Do your research: Read  primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
  • Come up with a thesis:  The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
  • Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.

The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.

1. Hook your reader

The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.

Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

2. Provide background on your topic

Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.

3. Present the thesis statement

Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:

As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.

4. Map the structure

In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.

The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Write your essay introduction

The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.

Length of the body text

The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.

Paragraph structure

To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.

That idea is introduced in a  topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.

After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :

  • Returns to your thesis
  • Ties together your main points
  • Shows why your argument matters

A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.

What not to include in a conclusion

To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:

  • Including new arguments or evidence
  • Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
  • Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Write your essay conclusion

Checklist: Essay

My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).

My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.

My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.

I use paragraphs to structure the essay.

I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.

Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.

I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.

I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.

I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.

I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.

My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .

My essay has an interesting and informative title.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

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Best Online Writing Tutoring Services

Chegg is our pick for best online writing tutoring service

Everyone needs a little writing boost from time to time, whether they're working on a term paper, preparing for the essay portion of a standardized test, or developing niche writing skills.

Online writing tutors are a great solution to any writing issues you or your child might have, with plenty of instructors specializing in every niche imaginable, right at your fingertips. And, thanks to the pandemic and the growing need for flexible learning options, online tutoring options continue to expand.

If you're looking for professional help or a way to boost your creative writing skills, we've reviewed some of the best online writing tutoring services out there.

The 7 Best Online Writing Tutoring Services of 2024

  • Best Overall: Chegg
  • Best for High School Students: Princeton Review
  • Best for Transparent Pricing: Skooli
  • Best National: Kaplan
  • Best for Creative Writing: Wyzant
  • Best for Professional Writing: Business Writing Center
  • Our Top Picks

Princeton Review

Business Writing Center

  • See More (3)

Final Verdict

Comparing online writing tutoring services, frequently asked questions, methodology, best overall : chegg.

  • Price: Starting at about $15.95 per month
  • Grade Level: High school-age and older
  • Frequency: As needed

Chegg makes it easy to find tutors with expertise in your struggle areas. Plus, you’ll be able to submit a paper and receive feedback within 48 hours.

24/7 support

Submit papers for feedback

Plagiarism checker

Different tutor for each use

No real curriculum or lessons

Chegg covers pretty much any subject you might need writing help in, which is a comfort for students. The site has thousands of writing experts, all with their own individual expertise and specialties. Whether students need help with literary analysis, lab reports, or a history research paper, someone can assist.

Chegg’s system allows learners to submit a paper they need help with and have it checked by a suitable expert who can provide feedback within 48 hours, whether it's an answer to a specific question or a general scan of your paper and writing style.

The platform offers a subscription plan for Chegg Writing, which includes a plagiarism detector, free citation creation, and proofreading and grammar scans for an unlimited number of papers.

The writing subscription is $9.95 per month, however there is a free trial. Prices for Chegg study and tutor start at around $15.95 per month.

Best for High School Students : Princeton Review

Use promo code INVESTO15 for 15% off MSRP.

  • Price: Starts at $40 an hour up to roughly $350 to $1,450 for six-month flex plans
  • Grade Level: K-12 and higher education
  • Frequency: One to 10 hours per month, or 10 hours to 50 hours in six months

High school students will benefit from the help of expert tutors that can cater to individuals’ one-on-one needs and specific learning goals. The tutors are available 24/7 for those late-night cramming sessions.

One-on-one tutors plus premade content for academic help

Tutors available 24/7

Heavily vetted tutors include professors, teachers, PhDs and other experts

Can be expensive

No one-off sessions

Princeton Review just might be the perfect fit for high school students looking for help with their writing skills.

Whether they're looking for help on a book report, a research paper, an admissions essay, or something else, they can call on these tutors 24/7 to polish writing skills. Even better: Princeton Review's instructors are categorized by topic, so students can specifically search for tutors with expertise in whatever subject help is needed.

Rather than negotiating rates with individual tutors, Princeton Review offers several different pricing plans, including monthly subscriptions with a set number of hours per month or a more flexible plan allowing access anytime.

Monthly packages range from about $40 for one hour to roughly $340 for 10 hours per month, while six-month flex plans run from approximately $350 for 10 hours ($35 per hour) to around $1,450 for 50 hours ($29 per hour).

These flex plans allow students to log on at any time during the six months, and a session can be as short or as long as they want.

Best for Transparent Pricing : Skooli

  • Price: Starts at $0.82 a minute with pay-as-you-go; as low as $0.65 a minute if you prepay 32 hours
  • Grade Level: Elementary school through college

There’s no commitment needed with Skooli. You can use the platform as needed, and you’ll only have to pay roughly $1 per minute. 

Get help instantly 

No commitment needed

Pay per minute makes rates reasonable

15 minute minimum

No student-tutor relationship, since you’ll book as needed

Since Skooli offers tutoring in plenty of different subjects, you’re likely to be able to find writing tutors who can help tailor your essays to the specific needs of your subject. Writing a history research paper is very different from writing a literary analysis, and you can browse Skooli’s wide range of tutors to find one with the background and expertise to help with your specific project.

You can use Skooli as a long-term tutoring option—either with one specific instructor or different ones each time students log on—but it’s also designed for in-the-moment queries. The pricing structure reflects that: Skooli charges around $1 per minute rather than monthly or even hourly rates, so all time is accounted for while learning.

For the most part, tutors on Skooli are well-vetted and experienced and hold degrees and teaching certifications, so students can be sure that every minute spent will further their knowledge.

Best National : Kaplan

  • Price: Courses start at $549 (ACT prep) and $1,100 (LSAT prep)
  • Grade Level: From high school admissions through career advancement
  • Frequency: Varies by course

Kaplan is widely known and trusted for online tutoring, and offers test prep tutoring from high school admissions tests through college admissions tests and beyond. 

Robust offering

Help for specific tests

Widely known and trusted brand

Not much offered beyond test prep courses

Not for basic writing tutoring

Kaplan's name and its test prep formulas are top of the line. For students looking for private or group tutoring to prepare for a standardized test or entrance exam, Kaplan’s tutoring program is one of the most comprehensive.

Students can sign up for small-group remote classes with experienced teachers or enroll in private, one-on-one tutoring. Tutoring sessions are highly structured, including multiple full-length practice tests and in-depth explanations for scores. It’s as close as it gets to taking the test before you actually take it.

While a good portion of the tutoring focuses on the multiple-choice sections of these tests, Kaplan tutors also work with students to improve their writing skills and help them learn what the test review boards are looking for in each individual exam. The platform is for serious, long-term tutoring with highly experienced tutors and exclusive materials, not one-time sessions, and the prices reflect that.

Prices vary depending on which test you’re preparing for. If you're prepping for the ACT, you can enroll in an online class with top ACT teachers for $549. If you want one-on-one tutoring, options start at $749. If you're prepping for the LSAT, they offer a live online course for $1,100 and one-on-one tutoring plus a live online course starting at $1,999.

Best for Creative Writing : Wyzant

  • Price: Starts at $25 an hour
  • Grade Level: All, plus adults

Wyzant allows you to search for tutors in your subject matter of interest, including both gen-eds and more creative classes. 

Ability to search for the type of tutor you want

Search within your price range

24/7 access to tutors

Experience is specific to the tutor you choose

Site does not have tutors adhere to a specific methodology

No tutor/student relationship, as sessions are one-off and as-needed

While the majority of tutoring sites focus more on straightforward academics, Wyzant also includes creative writing tutors. Whether you’re a student working on an English class assignment, a creative writing major looking for a little extra guidance, or just someone wanting to dig into creative writing on your own time, there’s likely an instructor for you.

The site filters tutors by broad subject area and then by narrower expertise. Prospective students can view a tutor’s profile, rating, and hourly rate before reaching out. Many of the site’s creative writing tutors have advanced degrees or professional experience, so you can be sure you’re getting genuine expert help.

Wyzant gives students and tutors a lot of leeway to negotiate their own relationships, both in the classroom and in terms of rates. Tutors set their own fees (the average is between about $25 and $65 per hour, although there are plenty of tutors above and below that range), and the platform offers a one-hour guarantee: the first hour lesson with a new tutor is guaranteed to be a success, or it’s free. It’s a great way to dip your toe in and get help honing your craft.

Best for Professional Writing : Business Writing Center

  • Price: $69 up to $595
  • Grade Level: Adult
  • Frequency: Self-paced for four months

Business Writing Center caters specifically to professionals by teaching business writing for reports, proposals, and other important work writing. 

Specifically for business professionals

Classes for non-native speakers available

Self-paced classes may not be for everyone

Greater fee for individualized courses

Business Writing Center (BWC) isn’t your typical tutoring service.

Rather than aiming its services at secondary school-aged students, the site is geared toward business professionals looking to brush up their writing skills. While some of the offerings are more suitable for business people whose first language isn’t English, there are options for one-on-one tutoring and feedback on professional reports, proposals, and other important work documents.

Rather than hourly tutoring, BWC offers its tutoring services through “coaching” courses. The company has a few different specialties, including document writing, coaching for executive writing, and a more general individual training option.

Self-paced courses start at $69, go up to $595, and can last up to four months. They allow students to work on real-world writing projects and get personalized feedback from an experienced teacher.

An online writing tutor can help students and professionals alike brush up on their writing skills so that their finished writing projects are more successful. Since you can access these tutors from anywhere, they can accommodate most schedules and learning rhythms. We chose Chegg Study as the best overall online tutoring service because it's affordable, convenient, and offers a range of writing tutoring options.

What Is an Online Writing Tutoring Service?

An online writing tutoring service is a website or platform that connects students with writing tutors, completely online and remote. These companies may be geared toward a specific grade level or type of writing, or they may be a more general platform to connect students and tutors.

A research study found that students who sought the help of tutors in writing the second draft of essays progressed more and scored higher on their second drafts than those who did not seek help. The same study found that students who used online tutoring services in addition to in-person tutoring in their school’s writing center scored even higher than those who did not take advantage of online tutoring services.

How Much Do Online Writing Tutoring Services Cost?

Online writing tutoring services cover a wide range of prices. In general, there are two basic models: pay-per-session or subscription. For the former, students pay for access each time they use the service for tutoring help. For the latter, students pre-pay for a package that spans a certain amount of time, number of sessions, or even a mini-course that also includes one-on-one tutoring time. Many tutoring services charge $1 per minute or $35 to $60 per hour. Monthly packages can range from about $69 to thousands of dollars.

What Can You Learn From a Professional Writing Tutoring Session?

Adult professionals can expect to gain practical skills they can apply directly to the writing they do in their chosen profession. Some of those skills may include document writing, executive writing, using basic grammar and sentence structure, and writing for non-native speakers of English.

Online writing tutors may also look over previously written documents and provide edits and/or suggestions to help you polish them.

What Features Do Online Writing Tutoring Services Have?

Every tutoring service structures its offerings a little differently, and each tutor may have their own particular style of teaching. That being said, these platforms are usually based around chat functions, either video/audio or text-based (or some combination of both), and many services have some type of screen-sharing and document-sharing capabilities.

Most online writing tutors will focus on helping students apply their knowledge in a practical sense. While some might have pre-planned assignments to develop particular skills (more common in specialized subjects like creative writing or test prep), other instructors prefer to have students come prepared with an assignment they need help with and give feedback to strengthen it.

Online writing tutoring doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and we’ve tried to make selecting an instructor as easy as possible. Because “writing” is such a broad skill applied to so many different settings, we’ve sorted out some of the categories that we think will be the most useful to the largest number of students. The platforms here range from specialized expertise in niches like business writing and test prep to more general essay-writing assistance.

Students seeking a writing tutor may want a long-term preparatory course or help with an individual essay. With this in mind, we’ve included a wide range of specialties and, more importantly, price points, from pay-per-minute instant feedback to formal, highly researched, long-term prep classes that cost significantly more over the course of several months.

Rachel Weill / Getty Images

Al Chibani W. The effectiveness of online and on-to-one tutoring in the writing center on the students’ achievement: a multiple case study . Int Lett Soc Humanist Sci . 2014;41:192-197. doi:10.18052/

academic writing help online

Writing Academically: Help and Tips for Academic Writing (Examples)

academic writing help online

Have you been tasked with a piece of academic writing and are unsure of how to go about it? Or perhaps you're just curious about how academic writing differs from other kinds of writing. Either way, you've come to the right place. In this article, you'll get tons of help and tips to produce a great piece of academic writing.

  • Academic writing is a style of writing used in universities and research papers. It follows different conventions from regular writing and is a little more rigid.

This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book .

What is Academic Writing?

Academic writing is a style of writing that's used in academia, which includes higher education institutions such as universities as well as scholarly publications like journals and research papers. Students and academics alike use it.

Here are some places where you'll see academic writing:

  • journal articles
  • research proposal

Academic writing is pretty formal and therefore doesn't allow you to get away with as much as other types of writing. One of the main reasons for this is that it's used to impart knowledge or findings. Therefore it's important that you come across in the right way so your readers trust you. That's why I encourage you to put a lot of thought and preparation into your academic writing, and the tips that follow will help you do just that.

Best Tips for Academic Writing

Below I'm going to lay out my best tips for successful and efficient academic writing . And unlike you might think, it doesn't necessarily involve using complex words or long sentences.

Before You Get Started

There are a few things you should do to prepare before you start writing. First and foremost, you must understand why you're writing. Academic writing is purposeful; there's always a reason for your writing. So what's yours? Are you trying to convince your readers? Or is your goal to educate them? Know what your goal is before diving in.

Planning is a significant and essential part of academic writing. Now that you know your purpose, you can start planning your piece's structure. Not only will this make your work easier to read, but it will also help you reach that purpose. After all, how can you teach anything without a plan? How can you convince anyone of anything without structure?

Not to mention that any academic writing tends to be quite long, so you'll need structure to keep your readers engaged throughout.

Next, you'll want to determine which referencing style you're expected to use. Check which one your institution abides by. This might vary depending on your specialty.

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • MLA (Modern Language Association)

Last but not least: write a draft first. Then, read your draft, make amends where necessary, and pull it all together into one coherent piece.

Use Active Voice

Active voice is when the action is attributed to the subject , whereas the subject isn't actively doing the action with the passive voice.

  • All types of writing prefer active voice, but academic writing in particular.

Here are some examples of sentences in the active vs passive voice:

I hang up my coat on the coat rack when I arrive at work. (active) My coat is always hung up on the coat rack when I arrive at work. (passive) Bees tranport pollen from one flower to another. (active) Pollen is transported from one flower to another by bees. (passive)

Active voice is stronger than passive voice and therefore helps to convey your point more confidently.

Take the following sentence, for example:

All relevant studies were read and it was concluded that the most effective form of medication is the placebo. 

This sentence isn't incorrect, per se. The grammar and punctuation are correct. But it's in the passive voice.

Let's see if it can be improved by changing it to the active voice:

I read all the relevant studies and I concluded that the placebo is the most effective form of medication. 

Isn't that heaps better? Not only is it a tad shorter, but it's also less ambiguous because we know precisely who read the studies and who drew the conclusion. As well as this, it's more persuasive this way.

  • Note that there are situations where the passive voice is a better choice.

These situations include: 

  • When you want to emphasize the action rather than the doer.
  • When the doer is unknown.
  • When writing about a general truth.
  • When trying to remain vague.

Academic Writing Is Not Personal

Academic writing isn't personal. You won't be revealing much information about yourself or your emotions. You should avoid stating your personal opinions and, overall, try your best to avoid letting your personal bias inform your conclusions or arguments throughout your work. You should try as much as possible to remain impartial. Let's take a look at some examples of sentences that aren't acceptable in academic writing and how you might edit them to make them more appropriate.

Avoid putting forth unfounded personal opinions:

I feel it was unfair to place the subject under such stress as this influenced the results. ❌ It is possible that the state of stress the subject was under might have influenced the study's results. ✅

Don't let your personal circumstances influence your decision-making:

I have children myself so I know they would never react that way. ❌ The children's reaction appeared to be out of the norm, which prompted further investigation. ✅

Use of the personal pronoun 'I' has long been frowned upon in academic writing for the reasons stated above. But it's increasingly become accepted. Just make sure that when you use it, it's for the right reasons: not to express your opinion but to discuss your intentions for the paper or explain how you did your research. Those are just a few examples.

Variety is Key

English is a rich and varied language. There's no shortage of punctuation marks, and often, many words exist to say the same thing. Make the most of it! The audience will eventually get bored if a magician keeps using the same tricks. The same goes for your writing!

Avoid Repetition

Synonyms are your friend! If you notice you've used the same word repetitively throughout your text, replace it with a synonym. You can look these up in a thesaurus. Transition words are an example of words that tend to get repeated a lot.

Here are some of the most common transition words and some synonyms for you to use instead:

  • to begin: firstly; primarily; to start with; first and foremost; initially.
  • additionally: also; moreover; furthermore; again; besides.
  • by contrast: conversely; despite; however, nevertheless; yet.
  • similarly: in the same way, by the same token, in like manner, equally, likewise.
  • In conclusion : therefore, on a final note, to summarize, ultimately, the bottom line is.

Use All the Punctuation

Getting your punctuation right has a much more significant impact than many think. The correct punctuation can save you many words and help you get your point across much more efficiently. So many great punctuation marks are underused; what a waste!

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Semicolon : you can use these to mark a pause within a sentence. The pause marked by a semicolon is longer than that of a comma but shorter than that of a period.
  • Emdash : use it to add a new sentence within a sentence if there are already too many commas.
  • Colon : want to introduce a list or idea, provide further clarification, or place emphasis? The colon is your friend, my friend.
  • Quotation marks : in-text citation is very common in academic writing since it's seen as good practice to back up your arguments with other people's work. Just make sure you set them apart with quotation marks.
  • Parentheses : if you want to add a non-essential aside to your sentence, pop it between brackets.

Often a punctuation mark can be swapped for another. Parentheses and emdashes, for instance, are interchangeable when it comes to providing clarity or additional information. Before using any form of punctuation, ask yourself not only if there's a better choice but also if there's a different kind that you haven't used yet that would help keep your text varied.

Conversely, some punctuation marks won't get used very much in academic writing. Exclamation points , for instance, aren't very appropriate unless they appear in reported speech . The same goes for ellipses . Slashes are a little too informal.

Pay Attention to Your Sentence Structure

Sentence structure is key to high-quality academic writing for several reasons. First and foremost, understanding your sentence structure helps you maintain parallelism . Parallelism allows your paragraphs to flow more naturally and improve your credibility. Which of the following sentences sounds better to you?

Subjects were instructed to take the supplement, have dinner and go to sleep. Subjects were instructed to take the supplement. Then, they would be having dinner and going to sleep. 

If you picked the first one, then we agree! In the first sentence, the three verbs are in the present indefinite tense. In the second sentence, only the first one is, while the other two are in the present participle tense. The first sentence is more to the point and sounds more harmonious.

Check out this article to learn more about parallelism and to get it right in your writing.

Paying attention to your sentence structure also affords you something that might seem obvious but that shouldn't be underestimated, and that's awareness. Are you using a good mix of simple, compound, and complex sentences? Are you avoiding too many complex sentences? Are there any run-on sentences or sentence fragments you need to eliminate?

As a wise man once said:

"Knowledge is power." —Francis Bacon.

Adopt Formal Language

Academic writing requires formal language only. Colloquialisms, idioms , and slang aren't going to go down well. One of the reasons for that is academic writing needs to be precise. Using formal language avoids any opportunities for miscommunication since slang and colloquialisms are ever-changing, and not everyone is up-to-date on the latest meanings.

Not only this, but it just doesn't sound quite as professional. Can you imagine reading a journal article that said:

The study found that a circular desk layout is the cat's pajamas ; it increases focus tenfold.

It would be pretty entertaining, that's for sure, but not great for the writer's credibility.

We also avoid contractions in academic writing. In case you need a refresher, contractions are shortened versions of longer words made using apostrophes .

don't ❌ do not ✅ I'm ❌ I am ✅ there's ❌ there is ✅ we'll ❌ we will ✅ they'd ❌ they would ✅

Be Clear and Concise

We've discussed using various words and punctuation and using formal language to come across as knowledgeable and credible. But another great way to do that is actually to keep things simple.

We can often overcomplicate academic writing and think it needs to be full of complicated words and complex, long sentences to show how clever we are. Don't get me wrong: flashy, clever words are great, and you can use those in your text. But what's even more important is that your reader understands what you're saying and can get to the juicy information quickly and efficiently.

Use a Mixture of Sentence Types

It can be tempting to use long sentences when writing academically, especially if you have a word count to reach since it helps you get your words in. They do have their place. But don't overcomplicate a sentence just for the sake of it. If a short, simple sentence suffices, just do that.

There are four main types of sentences you can choose from:

  • Simple : uses only one clause They have lunch at midday.
  • Compound : joins two simple sentences together with a coordinating conjunction They have lunch at midday, but they were late heading out today.
  • Complex : joins a dependent clause and an independent clause together They were late today because of meetings.
  • Compound-complex: two simple sentences together plus a dependent clause They have lunch at midday but were late heading out today because of meetings.

It's normal to repeat yourself in academic writing. After all, you're trying to prove a point, so using many arguments to back it up is normal. But watch out for unnecessary repetitions and redundancies.

This can often happen by using words that mean the same thing. Take the title of this section, for example: "Be Clear and Concise." Imagine if I'd called it "Be Clear, Concise, and to the Point." The 'to the point' bit would be redundant because it means the same thing as 'clear and concise.'

The English language has so many words that you can always find the exact right word for what you're trying to say.

Last but not least, check your work. Don't just hand it in as soon as you've finished it. You should always proofread it at least once. And consider using a spellchecker; they can often help you catch some errors you might not see by yourself.

Some people like to proofread their work out loud, as it lets you hear things you might miss if you were just reading in your head. That's a personal choice. My advice? Try both and see what works for you.

Concluding Thoughts on Academic Writing

That brings us to the end of this article with tips on academic writing. I hope you found it helpful and now feel armed with all the tools you need to produce a great piece of writing!

Let's summarize what we've learned:

  • Academic writing is for writing essays, research papers, books, and other academic work and is used by researchers and students alike.
  • The use of formal language is required.
  • Familiarize yourself with your institution's reference style guide.
  • Don't include personal opinions or let your personal bias influence your writing.
  • Use the wide variety of words, punctuation, and sentence structures available to you.
  • Be clear and concise.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy the others in our Grammar Book . It's a free online database of grammar articles to help you with your writing, just like this one. Check it out!

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11 Best Tools and Services for Online Writing Help

Academic writing can be interesting, and it can be tedious. It can be engaging, and it can be repellent. Yet, almost always, it is challenging and rather tiresome. To save you time and effort, we’ve selected 11 tools to assist students with writing. These include utilities, apps, websites, and services (free, freemium, shareware, and paid).

However, we don’t stop at just listing the tools. We want you to use them as efficiently as you only can to nail every task a college or university may dump on you. To this end, we’ve matched tool suggestions with the five generally accepted stages of writing: prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and finally, editing and proofreading. Some also add one more step – presentation or publishing. Yet, as students more often submit their assignments than publish them in scientific journals, that’s something we omit for the sake of focusing on more important stages. Read on to find out more!

Prewriting Assistance Tools

In academic writing, the prewriting stage typically includes brainstorming and mind mapping , which result in a topic selection. Yet, we must admit that there actually are no tools for brainstorming except for, well, your brain. At the same time, you can use handy digital tools to help your gray matter churn out, write down, and connect ideas.

The very first thing you’d obviously do, if not given the exact topic by a teacher, is google a collection of topics on the subject of your interest. And hardly will you find a better place to explore potential theme options than (1). The website hosts one of the largest open-access sample databases on the Web, with close to 100.000 papers, each expertly crafted by a free essay writer . Sort them out by paper type, issue, or keyword(s). You’ll get a selection of great topic ideas to work with and develop in something excitingly original and absolutely unique. Moreover, the WowEssays blog offers posts with even more topic ideas conveniently arranged in themed entries.

Once you hit your topic idea, a lot of stuff will start circulating in your head inadvertently. Some of it might be really crucial for your upcoming piece. Not letting a thing slip away is the task for virtual mind-mapping tools, with (2) being one of the handiest ones. With this tool, you can quickly and easily enter, structure, and connect your notes. As a result, Bubbl lets you capture initial thoughts, ideas, and arguments; come up with the paper’s overall concept; and build its general framework. The tool can be used for free, with limited functionality, of course, or purchased for personal use for $6 a month.

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Planning Help With Writing Assignments

Anyone knows that even the best-laid plans often go astray. Fortunately, it’s almost never true about academic writing. On the contrary, if you think out your plot and figure out precisely what you need to do in advance, the chances of success will increase drastically.

Arguably the best website to help students with writing, in general, and planning their papers in advance, in particular, is Purdue Online Writing Lab (3). Launched and supported by the eponymous university, this resource will help you understand the fundamentals of correctly structuring all major college and university papers. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to develop an outline for your piece smoothly. Additionally, thanks to the most recent APA, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, AMA, and ASA style guides, you’ll know how you’d need to cite sources in your work. If you don’t bookmark this website right now, you should be prosecuted for levity.

Once you are ready to implement the content organization insights you’ve uncovered with the help of Purdue OWL, we suggest you create a detailed paper outline with Dynalist (4). A minimalistic, intuitive interface masks the app’s remarkable functionality and numerous customizable options, including synchronization with your Google account. Create an unlimited number of outlines in various themed folders using numbered lists, markdowns, cross-linking, and other helpful features. Uncommonly for freemium, most of them are available in the free version, while the full app’s potential will cost $9.99 a month to unlock.

Drafting Tools & Online Paper Writing Help Services

Okay, now we’ve come to writing itself – or rather drafting, sketching your high school, college, or uni paper. To get it done, you’d need sharp focus and proper word choice. For starters, you can watch the infamous motivational speech by Shia LaBeouf – some find it really helpful (though the vast majority just uncontrollably start laughing out loud for some reason).

The former can be relatively easily achieved by using Freedom (5). This hardcore utility is a must-have if you need silence and focus to write. With Freedom, you can block websites (or the Internet completely) and apps on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Chromebook, and Linux. Just select the instances shut out, set the timer, and start putting words together! After all, you might not really have an option not to write as one of the app’s features prevents browser restarts or computer reboots from lifting the block until the timer is off. In that context, the app’s name sounds quite sarcastic, doesn’t it? But that’s fine as long as it helps you finish the job for $8.99 a month, $39.96 a year, or $79.99 forever.

Next, pick the right words to convey what you need to communicate with your paper. There’s nothing better online in that regard than (6). The portal shows you the endless beauty of words through a set of general and subject-specific dictionaries and encyclopedias, as well as a thesaurus and idioms. With TheFreeDictionary, finding proper words for your piece – whatever it is – wouldn’t be much of an issue.

Unfortunately, keeping focus and expanding your vocabulary might not necessarily be of much help while writing a paper for college or university. Even they cannot break writer’s block or put off the looming deadline. To overcome these adversaries, you’d need fast academic writing help from real masters of their craft – online custom writing services. We do understand that the idea of paying someone for composing your essays or doing your math homework – and how you use them – requires a more profound discussion; yet, for better or worse, that’s not the subject of this article. But learning where to get your assignments done quickly and accurately is. So, arguably the most highly skilled creative, research, and essay writers can be found on the PaperHelp website (7). Placing an order based on individual writing instructions with the service takes minutes, and then everything is on them – choosing the best-suited writer to fulfill the assignment, controlling the compliance with your requirements, informing you about the order progress, checking content for originality, and finally, delivering it right to your email inbox. What’s not to like?

While writing is still a predominant task for any student, acquiring highly specialized STEM assistance, in general, or competent help with programming assignments , in particular, is getting increasingly demanded service. If you’re looking for something like that, (8) is your go-to place. All-round calculations and problem-solving services, along with expert computer science assistance by practicing coders, make the website a jewel in the crown of STEM help companies.

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Online Writing Help with Revising and Improving Your Paper

Once you are done with writing the first paper iteration, it’s a rule of thumb to just put the draft aside for a day or two – if you have time, that is. Then, look at your writing from a new angle, from a new perspective, with a fresh eye, etc. Call it whatever you want, the core idea is that sometime later, you might want to change some (a lot of) things in your piece to make it look, well, more consonant and whole.

After that, run your piece through Hemingway Editor (9). The app has a free web-based, no-registration-needed interface (and a $19.99-worth desktop version) that checks and rates readability and style. Academic writing doesn’t tolerate hard-to-read sentences and overall content vagueness – the thing that Hemingway is meant to eliminate from your papers. As a result of the app’s English writing help, your piece should become significantly easier to read, simpler to apprehend, and more pleasant (for a teacher, that is) to look at.

But is it original? Or it may have instances of borrowed content? The Scribbr anti-plagiarism checker (10) will provide, perhaps, the most reliable answers to these questions. It is powered by the notorious Turnitin, covering 8 million publications and 99 billion web pages. It can compare your text against unpublished works. However, with all those features, the Scribbr plagiarism checker isn’t cheap. You’ll have to pay $19.95 for checking a document of up to 7,499 words; $29.95 – for up to 49,999 words; and $39.95 – for 50,000+ words. Is it worth the money? Well, it’s up to you to decide. The only thing we can say for sure is that if a teacher finds plagiarism in your paper, it’d cost you way more…

The Only Proofreading Utility You Need to Polish Your Piece

The final touch to your paper has to be – obviously – proofreading. For this task, you will hardly need more than one tool. And undoubtedly, it is Grammarly. Sadly, the free web-based version is limited to grammar, spelling, and punctuation checks, along with basic conciseness suggestions. For only $12 per month, the Premium version of this service unlocks features accessible on multiple platforms. Instantly gain clarity in your writing with text simplification and vocabulary enhancement suggestions presented as complete sentence rewriters and word alternatives; complete within ten seconds! Tone refinements are also available at no additional cost to ensure that you perfect your papers. Plagiarism detection comes as the icing on the cake, proving how essential Grammarly has become for top-notch academic writing.

There you have it – 11 must-use tools while you write your paper. These tools help you create an outstanding piece to wow your teacher and peers and, eventually, ace the task. As controversial as the saying ‘The end justifies the means’ is, in the context of productive academic writing and the ever-rising tuition fees, it is almost always true. You know why? Because fortune favors those who use all the help they can get to get the job done – and the utilities, apps, and services mentioned in this article do just that.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Thesis and Dissertation: Getting Started

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The resources in this section are designed to provide guidance for the first steps of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They offer tools to support the planning and managing of your project, including writing out your weekly schedule, outlining your goals, and organzing the various working elements of your project.

Weekly Goals Sheet (a.k.a. Life Map) [Word Doc]

This editable handout provides a place for you to fill in available time blocks on a weekly chart that will help you visualize the amount of time you have available to write. By using this chart, you will be able to work your writing goals into your schedule and put these goals into perspective with your day-to-day plans and responsibilities each week. This handout also contains a formula to help you determine the minimum number of pages you would need to write per day in order to complete your writing on time.

Setting a Production Schedule (Word Doc)

This editable handout can help you make sense of the various steps involved in the production of your thesis or dissertation and determine how long each step might take. A large part of this process involves (1) seeking out the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific document formatting requirements, (2) understanding research protocol limitations, (3) making note of deadlines, and (4) understanding your personal writing habits.

Creating a Roadmap (PDF)

Part of organizing your writing involves having a clear sense of how the different working parts relate to one another. Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining. It is important to remember that you can create more than one roadmap (or more than one type of roadmap) depending on how the different approaches discussed here meet your needs.

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Digital Writing Assistant

Supported with grammarly for education.

Digital Writing Assistants are tools that can quickly review your writing and provide timely and personalized feedback on how you can improve its readability and sentence structure. This service is a tool that can support your writing now and offer suggestions on how you can improve it in the future.

Grammarly for Education is a self-service digital writing assistant that is accessible through VDI or as an application downloaded to your device.

Key features and benefits

  • Comprehensive Writing Assistance: Grammarly provides in-depth writing suggestions, covering grammar, punctuation, style, and tone, to help you express yourself with clarity and confidence.
  • Academic Writing Support: Tailor Grammarly to your academic needs, whether you’re working on an essay, thesis, or research paper. Receive genre-specific suggestions to enhance the quality of your writing
  • Plagiarism Checker: Ensure the originality of your work with Grammarly’s plagiarism checker, helping you maintain academic integrity and avoid unintentional plagiarism. Seamless Integration: Access Grammarly across multiple platforms, including your favorite word processors and web browsers. Write with confidence, knowing that Grammarly is there to support you wherever you are.

Available to

Service cost, core service - provided at no cost.

Provided at no cost to students.

Note: If you are not a student and are interested in using Grammarly, please contact your Department Administrator for more information.

How to get started

Sign up for your Grammarly account: 

  • Visit:
  • If you have an existing account using your email address, you will be prompted to join the Harvard T.H. Chan student Grammarly for Education when you login .

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  • If you have a Grammarly account using your personal email address and would like to move to an HSPH Grammarly account, first change your Grammarly account to use your @hsph email address by following the instructions here . Then sign in using your Harvard Key at

Install the Grammarly application:

  • Grammarly is installed on Student VDI and can be launched from the start menu.

Note: SPH IT can provide you with limited troubleshooting assistance and guidance on best practices for its effective use.  For more information on features or advanced topics, check out the Grammarly support portal .

What happens when I graduate? 

When you graduate, your student Grammarly account will automatically be converted to a free account. If you would like to continue to use Grammarly’s paid features, you can purchase a personal license.

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ChatGPT vs. Microsoft Copilot vs. Gemini: Which is the best AI chatbot?


Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed how we work and play  in recent months, giving almost anyone the ability to write code , create art , and even make investments . 

Special Feature


The Rise of Generative AI

A new wave of AI tools has taken the world by storm and given us a vision for a new way of working and finding the information that can streamline our work and our lives. We show you the ways tools like ChatGPT and other generational AI software are making impacts on the world, how to harness their power, as well as potential risks.

For professional and hobbyist users alike, generative AI tools, such as  ChatGPT , offer advanced capabilities to create decent-quality content from a simple prompt given by the user. 

Keeping up with all the latest AI tools can get confusing, especially as Microsoft added  GPT-4 to Bing  and renamed it to Copilot,  OpenAI added new capabilities to ChatGPT , and Bard got plugged into the Google ecosystem  and rebranded to Gemini.

Also: Microsoft Copilot Pro vs. OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus: Which is worth your $20 a month?

Knowing which of the three most popular AI chatbots is best to write code , generate text , or help build resumes is challenging, so we'll break down the biggest differences so you can choose one that fits your needs. 

Testing ChatGPT vs. Microsoft Copilot vs. Gemini

To help determine which AI chatbot gives more accurate answers, I'm going to use a simple prompt to compare the three: 

"I have 5 oranges today, I ate 3 oranges last week. How many oranges do I have left?"

The answer should be five, as the number of oranges I ate last week doesn't affect the number of oranges I have today, which is what we're asking the three bots. First up, ChatGPT.

You should use ChatGPT if...


1. You want to try the most popular AI chatbot

ChatGPT was created by OpenAI and released for a widespread preview in November 2022. Since then, the AI chatbot quickly gained over 100 million users, with the website alone seeing 1.8 billion visitors a month. It's been at the center of controversies , especially as people uncover its potential to do schoolwork and replace some workers.


The free version of ChatGPT, which runs on the default GPT-3.5 model, gave the wrong answer to our question.

I've been testing ChatGPT almost daily since its release. Its user interface has remained simple, but minor changes have improved it greatly, like the addition of a copy button, an edit option, Custom Instructions , and easy access to your account. 

Also: How to use ChatGPT

Though ChatGPT has proven itself as a valuable AI tool, it can be prone to misinformation . Like other large language models (LLMs), GPT-3.5 is imperfect, as it is trained on human-created data up to January 2022. It also often fails to comprehend nuances, like it did with our math question example, which it answered incorrectly by saying we have two oranges left when it should be five. 

2. You're willing to pay extra for an upgrade

OpenAI lets users access ChatGPT -- powered by the GPT-3.5 model -- for free with a registered account. But if you're willing to pay for the Plus version, you can access GPT-4 and many more features for $20 per month.

Also: How to write better ChatGPT prompts for the best generative AI results

GPT-4 is the largest LLM available for use when compared to all other AI chatbots and is trained with data up to April 2023 and can also access the internet, powered by Microsoft Bing. GPT-4 is said to have over 100 trillion parameters; GPT-3.5 has 175 billion parameters. More parameters essentially mean that the model is trained on more data, which makes it more likely to answer questions accurately and less prone to hallucinations.


ChatGPT Plus, which runs using the GPT-4 model, did answer the question correctly. 

As an example, you can see the GPT-4 model, available through a ChatGPT Plus subscription , answered the math question correctly, as it understood the full context of the problem from beginning to end.

Also: I tried Microsoft Copilot's new AI image-generating feature, and it solves a real problem

Next up, let's consider Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing chat) , which is a great way to access GPT-4 for free, as it's integrated into its new Bing format. 

You should use Microsoft Copilot if...


1. You want more up-to-date information

In contrast to the free version of ChatGPT, which is limited to being an AI tool that generates text in a conversational style with information leading up to early 2022, Copilot can access the internet to deliver more current information, complete with links for sources. 

Also: How to use Copilot (formerly called Bing Chat)

There are other benefits, too. Copilot is powered by GPT-4, OpenAI's LLM, and it's completely free to use. Unfortunately, you are limited to five responses on a single conversation, and can only enter up to 2,000 characters in each prompt. 


Copilot's Precise conversation style answered the question accurately, though other styles fumbled.

Copilot's user interface isn't as straightforward as that of ChatGPT, but it's easy to navigate. Though Bing Chat can access the internet to give you more up-to-date results compared to ChatGPT, I've found it is more prone to stall at replying and altogether miss prompts than its competitor. 

2. You prefer more visual features

Through a series of upgrades to its platform, Microsoft added visual features to Copilot, formerly Bing Chat. At this point, you can ask Copilot questions like, 'What is a Tasmanian devil?' and get an information card in response, complete with photos, lifespan, diet, and more for a more scannable result that is easier to digest than a wall of text. 


All about the Tasmanian devil on Microsoft Copilot.

When you use Copilot, you can also ask it to create an image for you. Give Copilot the description of what you want the image to look like, and have the chatbot generate four images for you to choose from. 

Also: How to use Image Creator from Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator)

Microsoft Copilot also features different conversational styles when you interact with the chatbot, including Creative, Balanced, and Precise, which alter how light or straightforward the interactions are. 


Both the Balanced and Creative conversation styles in Microsoft Copilot answered my question inaccurately.

Finally, let's turn to Google's Gemini, formerly known as Bard, which uses a different LLM and has received some considerable upgrades in the past few months.

You should use Gemini if...


1. You want a fast, almost unlimited experience

In my time testing different AI chatbots, I saw  Google Bard catch a lot of flack for different shortcomings . While I'm not going to say they're unjustified, I will say that Google's AI chatbot, now named Gemini, has improved greatly, inside and out.

Also: How to use Gemini (formerly Google Bard): Everything you should know

Gemini is speedy with its answers, which have gotten more accurate over time. It's not faster than ChatGPT Plus, but it can be faster at giving responses than Copilot at times and faster than the free GPT-3.5 version of ChatGPT, though your mileage may vary. 


Gemini answered accurately, like GPT-4 and Copilot's Precise conversation style.

The previous Bard used to make the same mistake as other bots on my example math problem, by incorrectly using the 5 - 3 = 2 formula, but Gemini, powered by Google's new Gemini Pro, the company's largest and latest LLM. Now, Gemini answers the question accurately.

Also: Apple's new AI model edits photos according to text prompts from users

Gemini is also not limited to a set amount of responses like Microsoft Copilot is. You can have long conversations with Google's Gemini, but Bing is limited to 30 replies in one conversation. Even ChatGPT Plus limits users to 40 messages every three hours. 

2. You want the full Google experience


Google also incorporated more visual elements into its Gemini platform than those currently available on Copilot. Users can also use Gemini to generate images, can upload photos through an integration with Google Lens , and enjoy Kayak, OpenTable, Instacart, and Wolfram Alpha plugins.

Also: 6 AI tools to supercharge your work and everyday life

But Gemini is slowly becoming a full Google experience thanks to Extensions folding the wide range of Google applications into Gemini. Gemini users can add extensions for Google Workspace, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Flights, and Google Hotels, giving them a more personalized and extensive experience.

Artificial Intelligence


ChatGPT vs. Copilot: Which AI chatbot is better for you?


Google reportedly rebranding Bard to Gemini, adding 'Advanced' subscription service


The best AI chatbots: ChatGPT isn't the only one worth trying


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