Words must be spelled and used correctly

1. Choose words that you are certain you can spell correctly.

Spelling - especially in English - is a bear. Of course, the more words that you know how to spell, the better; however, in a timed-writing remember to use only the words that you are certain you can spell correctly.

2. Choose words that you are used to seeing in print in academic contexts.

Meaning is determined by usage. To be judged as one who uses words correctly, one must use words in the same way that the academic judges are used to seeing words used. Since the judges of academic writing are college instructors who have been required to read a great deal during their careers and in the preparation for their careers, their judgment of usage is determined by the usage of words in print-based media within academic contexts. Today information access is possible through a variety of media which can provide information much more efficiently and easily than print, and so many students are more used to learning from multimedia and from hearing and speaking words than from reading them. This presents a problem for the writer of timed essays because to satisfy the judges one must use words that the judges know, and the judges value print-based media. But not even all print-based media are judged to be of value by academics. Many books, magazines, 'zines, songs, and advertisements use words in effective and valuable ways, but the academics tend to value only words used in academic contexts. So, the more one reads materials from academic libraries and from books assigned by instructors, the more likely one is to be judged as excelling in word choice, in diction. Therefore, to insure excellent evaluations of your diction, remember to use words that you are used to seeing in print within an academic context.