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How to Write an A Paper

December 26, 2015 by ProofreadingPal in Essays, Writing Guides

You read the assignment carefully. You cite your sources perfectly. You stick to the scope of the class. You answer every last question. You submit your essay with pride.

You get a B. You feel, quite rightly, frustrated.

Just what the #@&! do you have to do, you wonder, to get an A?

If you’re like many students, you may decide to take it logically. The other grades are easy enough to quantify.

Basic Grading Scale

But no.

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The problem lies with the word “superior.” As with all the other terms, it is placed in relation to the task. While it’s true that A work is usually superior to the work of other students in the class, that’s not really the point. But A work isn’t just superior to B work; it’s superior to the assignment.

No matter how lovely and full of effort, if the best a paper can do is still limited to the strict instructions of the assignment, then it earns a B.

A work goes above and beyond.


A papers still follow the assignment. Going “above and beyond” while responding to an assignment to write an essay on the influence of global warming on US politics doesn’t include writing it as a haiku instead.

Polar bears all die.
Snowcapped mountains become myths.
I have an ice maker.

No. That’s an F for “did not do the assignment.” An A paper has to do everything a B paper does and more. And because a B paper completely fulfills the assignment, that means the “more” must come from within you.

avsbpaper1At some point, A work stops being satisfied with following the directions and takes ownership of the assignment. Like the hitman on the trail of the guys who stole his car and killed his dog, it’s personal.

Let’s go back to the example of global warming’s effect on US politics. After getting to the B level by having an opinion on the topic and supporting it as instructed, your possibilities for A work include the following:

See the pattern? You don’t just do more work; you do something with that work to make a better point. And what do you know? We can get a logical progression after all.

You Are Told to Provide Support for Point “Alpha”

See? Now it’s easy as pie. Well, to explain.

The rest is up to you.


Julia H.

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