Research Paper Rush: How to Write a Quality Research Paper in a Hurry

Sometimes assignments sneak up on you. You look up and realize you have less time to finish that research paper than you thought. Earlier this year, I published a short ebook on Writing Better Research Papers. It’s a quick read, but packed with tried-and-true strategies that will certainly help you raise your grades on written assignments.

But, if you’re in a pinch, here are a few tips that can help you pull off a quality paper even if you don’t have as much time to hurry_reasearchpapercomplete it as you’d like:

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1) Do Not Waste Time Choosing a Topic

If you are given multiple topics to choose from, do not spend too much time picking one. And certainly avoid starting with one topic and then switching topics an hour later.

I’ve done this in the past, and it was incredibly frustrating. Choose the topic you feel the most confident with and stick to it!

Some things to consider when choosing your topic are 1)your knowledge of the subject matter, 2) how easily you can find sources (if required), and 3)whether you can come up with enough content on the selected topic to complete the paper.

2) Just Start Writing

When we’re in a rush, we tend to procrastinate even more due to the stress of time pressure. You cannot afford to do that. Instead, do some focused brainstorming and get words on the page.

Start by making up an introductory sentence and 3 bullet points to support it.

Write for 20 minutes nonstop. Focus on getting a couple sentences under each bullet point.

Do not edit. Do not second guess yourself. Just get ideas on paper. You can clean it up later.

Blank pages are intimidating. So, the idea here is just to get some good ideas written down quickly so that you have something to work with.

At the end of the 20 minutes, look at what you have written, organize it into paragraphs, and keep on writing!

3)Use Your References to Find More References

Most college research papers require you to cite sources that support the argument you’re making in your paper. Sometimes you are required to have a certain number of sources.

Generally citations will come from academic journals or some other type of trustworthy content. Like you, the authors of these articles have to use citations to validate their work.

So, when you find a great article to cite, just take a look at their references page or their footnotes. You will likely find some articles there that you can look up and use as references in your own paper.

You still need to make sure those sources are relevant to your specific topic. But doing this will help you quickly identify useful sources more often than not.

4)Document Citations As You Go

It may seem counterintuitive, but when you’re rushing to finish a paper, it is important that you cite your sources as you go. Many students like to do this after they’ve finished the main body of the paper, however, in a rush, it is far too easy to “forget” (or skip) the citations.

Yes, they can be difficult to format. Yes, it may be time consuming.

But, as a former Conduct Committee member, I can’t tell you the number of students who received automatic failing grades simply because they inadvertently plagiarized due to rushing through their citations.

It’s an unfortunate mistake, but the consequences can be great. So, save yourself some headache and cite your sources immediately after you reference them in your paper.

Obviously, you should always give yourself ample time to complete research papers in college. But, hopefully these tips come in handy if you ever find yourself in a pinch. Good luck to you during finals season! 

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As Always,

Stay Curious. Stay Motivated.

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Overcoming Financial Peer Pressure In College

In this episode, we talk about money!

In college, it’s important to plan a budget and stick to it. But what do you do when you feel pressured to overspend?

That’s what this episode it all about. We’ll talk about some common situations where college students feel financial peer pressure, and I’ll give some suggestions on how to navigate these situations without breaking the bank.

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Don’t Work In A Vacuum

In today’s society, we admire those who succeed through rugged determination, sustained willpower, and pure hustle. We read biographies of famous musicians, athletes, and business executives and aspire to adopt the character traits that made them so successful. Particularly in America, it seems that many rewards await those who are able to “pull themselves up by their bootstrap” and make things happen.

However the truth is, rarely are these success stories built on a foundation of individualism. Rather, if you dig deeper into these narratives, you will find that today’s leading role models have a multitude of people to thank for their success.

Parents instilled a sense of personal drive and determination. Teachers stayed late after school helping with homework. Friends made themselves available as moral support when it felt like quitting was the only option. A professor offered an extension on an assignment to help avoid a failing grade. An advisor made a suggestion that opened the door to a great career opportunity. And the list goes on…

What’s that mean for you as a College Student?

In the midst of studying for exams and completing big projects, it can often feel like we will either succeed or fail based on our own merit.

That is simply not true. There are many resources available to assist students in all areas of their college experience. And no one should feel as if they are stuck on an island.

Your professor and your academic advisor should be your first points-of-contact when you feel yourself beginning to struggle academically .

It may be intimidating to admit a weakness to others, but realize that this is the best way to become stronger.

I used to sit in awe of the students in my classes who just seemed to “get it”. They’ve got all the answers. They even have extra information to add to the instructor’s lesson. And I would think, “if I just study hard enough, I’ll be like that one day”.

But that’s not how it works. Those super successful students often had great study groups, consistent tutors, and previous experience with the subject matter. And all that helped them to master the material and shine in their classes. From the outside looking in, i couldn’t see that. They were not working alone.

So, the point here is this: do not work in a vacuum.

Even if you’re not struggling or falling behind, gather a supportive group of friends and classmates who will support and encourage you during tough times. Be an encouragement to those around you. And do not hesitate to find guidance when you’re a little lost.

Remember, people cannot help you if they do not know you’re in need.

If you haven’t checked out the podcast yet, I encourage you to do so. Below is a link to it in iTunes. I’m a natural introvert, and I found that listening to podcasts is a good way for me to connect with other people. Of course, we all need to reach out and make face to face connections. But, if you need an encouraging word, and some great tips for making moves in college, I’m here to offer that to you over audio. So please click the link below, follow our growing podcast, and leave us a 5 star review if you like what you hear 🙂


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Places to Find New Friends in College

In this episode, I discuss some great places to find new friends in college. You may be wanting to get involved in new activities, learn new skills, or get more involved in your community. These are all great reasons to go out and make new friends. Don’t be shy, put yourself out there, and expand your social circle!

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Tips for Success in STEM Classes

STEM is an acronym that stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics”. While you may or may not be a STEM major, you will have to take at least a few STEM courses in order to satisfy the requirements of your degree. Many liberal arts and social science majors feel intimidated by STEM classes, because they don’t see themselves as “math” or “science” people. And, even if you are a technical major, you may find that STEM courses require a different type of approach than your high school math/science did. In this post, I’m going to give you 6 tips for being successful in STEM classes:ID-100162139

1) Understanding vs. Memorization

In high school, I received pretty good grades in courses like chemistry and math. I knew all my formulas. I could tell you what scientist came up with what theorem. Still, when I got to college, I struggled with these same subjects throughout my freshman year.

What happened?

In college, professors do not want you to simply memorize facts about the subject. They want you to be able to APPLY that knowledge to solve problems. In fact, in many courses, you are given all the formulas you need during tests and quizzes.

2) Find Alternative Explanations Online

We all learn differently And, sometimes, even after hearing a professor explain a concept multiple times, you still do not quite grasp it. If you find yourself in that situation, remember that you can always seek clarity by searching online.

In a previous post, I discussed internet resources for college students. On Youtube, Khan Academy, and a number of other sites, you can find tutors working through various scientific and mathematical problems. Whether you’re learning to perform algebraic computations, write out chemical reactions, or graph an equation, you will definitely find plenty of help online.

3) Visit Office Hours

Even if you are doing great in class so far, make sure you are a regular in office hours. Drop by once every other week or so to let the professor know you are actively engaged in the course. This goes for non-STEM classes as well. You can say “Hey Dr. Allen, I know we just finished discussing XYZ. I think I understand it pretty well, but do you mind looking over the work I’ve done on this problem just to make sure I’m not missing anything?”. Your professor would certainly be glad to take a look.

If there is a concept you do not understand, try not to just show up at office hours and ask “how do I do this?”. Professors like to see that students have already put effort into figuring out solutions. So try to work a problem all the way through on your own, even if you know you’ll get an incorrect answer. Take your work to the professor and let him/her advise you on where you are going wrong.

Often, you will find that you are not as far off the mark as you may have thought.

4) Find a Small Study Group

In STEM classes, I have found group study to be extremely helpful. You get the opportunity to explain your thought processes out loud to others, which further cements them into your own memory. You can also watch as peers work through problems you may find more challenging. This highly interactive method of study is good for completing long homework assignments and preparing for upcoming exams.

Group study is also good for reviewing material you may have missed because you were late or absent for class for some reason. Many professors begin lecturing as soon as the hour begins, so even being 5 minutes late can cause you to play catch-up. If you have formed a study group, each member of the group can share notes with any member who needs them.

5) Practice Practice Practice

My computer programming instructor said it best: “The more time you spend doing complicated things, the better you get at doing complicated things”.

He taught us that the only way to learn to write good code was to WRITE and WRITE and WRITE until it became second nature.

This will be true for your classes as well. Whatever subject you are studying, do not simply complete the work assigned to you and move on. Repetition will serve you well in STEM courses. Go over problems and processes until you can do it in your sleep.

Some skills will not come quickly. For me, I did not REALLY start getting comfortable with programming until the last couple weeks of the semester. So, if it takes you a little while to hit your stride, that’s okay. Just keep at it.

6) Ask For Help ASAP

In college, classes move quickly. You may cover multiple chapters each week. And professors may or may not review old material. That being said, it is up to YOU to ask for help when you need it. Do not get left behind. Here’s a simplified example:

If you do not learn to add, then you cannot multiply. If you cannot multiply, you cannot divide. If you cannot divide, you cannot understand fractions.

If you find that you are struggling with addition, do not wait until the professor is teaching division to finally raise your hand and ask for help. By then, you may be too far behind to catch up.

As soon as you feel yourself slipping, go to office hours, get a tutor, find a different textbook to learn from. Do whatever it takes to keep up.


Whether you are a Physics major, or an English major fulfilling a Mathematics elective requirement, you will need to know how to find success in STEM courses. The tips in this article will help you get started down the right path. Do not work in isolation. Work with groups, professors, and tutors to ensure you are getting the proper understanding of each concept.


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If you have additional tips that have helped you be successful in STEM courses, share them below in the comments. Don’t forget to share this article with any friends you know who might benefit from the tips shared here.

As always, you can reach out directly to me with questions or comments at or via the Facebook group.

Thanks again for reading,


Stay Curious, Stay Motivated!


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