How to Pass English 101

Instructor: Leah Salyer
English 101 is an entry-level English class that most college students take their first semester in college. Read on to learn more about what this class entails and how to work to pass the course.

Review the Basics

Before you start English 101, you'll want to make sure you're feeling confident in your understanding of basic grammar and writing. Some high school classes focus less on basic writing conventions like sentence structure and proper grammar and instead, place more emphasis on literature and authors. Brushing up on the basics will really help you hit the ground running. By doing this, you won't have to try to remember basic grammar rules when you're trying to write an essay.

Consider checking out these video resources on Grammar Help and Writing to help you master conventions in writing. You'll encounter lessons on punctuation, clauses, verb tense, sentence structure, clarity, diction and a whole lot more.

Use your Resources

Typically, professors and colleges will provide a number of resources for you to use. Don't be shy about taking advantage of all the resources that are available to you because they can impact your learning experience in a positive manner. Some examples of possible resources are outlined below.


Most college professors will assign you two texts for English 101. The first text is traditionally a book of essays or similar writings. When using this textbook, it's important to read any assigned writings at least two times. The first time, simply enjoy reading through the text. The second time through, you'll want to take notes and write down your thoughts. This will help you when it comes to questions in class and will serve as a reminder of what you've read, and it will also help with your comprehension of the material.

The other textbook will likely be a writing handbook. This handbook will be invaluable to you throughout this entire course and possibly even your entire college career. The writing handbook is designed to give you all of the information you need when it comes to composing an essay. There will be information on brainstorming your ideas, creating outlines, creating drafts, editing, how to revise your essays and more. Take a look at this textbook once you get it to make sure you know how to find the appropriate information when you need it.

You may also wish to check out these collections of lessons on Source Materials, Revising an Essay and Reading and Understanding Essays. They can be used as supplemental resources to your textbooks.

Writing Centers

Most colleges offer writing centers or something similar to allow their students the opportunity for extra help when it comes to composing essays. Typically this will include a tutor or someone who will be available to work one-on-one with you. When you're stuck in your writing, and your writing handbook isn't helping, visit your school's writing center and see if a fresh pair of eyes can help you create a better essay.

Be Prepared for Essay Writing

In English 101, you will absolutely be writing essays. As a recent high school graduate, you may be most familiar with the 5 paragraph essay. In college, you'll have to move beyond this type of writing, and you will likely learn how to develop and organize ideas in a new way. You will have to create essays that are more in-depth, have different themes and are longer.

Take a look at these lesson collections on Parts of an Essay and Essay Writing to get some additional help with essay writing. In these resources, you'll encounter various lessons on argumentative, personal and persuasive essays. You'll also learn how to write for your audience and structure your essay.

Avoid Plagiarism

Make sure you understand what plagiarism is and do all that you can to avoid it. If you are struggling to word your sentences in a unique way, ask for help from your professor or college writing center. Plagiarism will really get you in trouble with your professor and the university as well. Make sure your work is your own and not the work of someone else.

Think about reviewing these lessons on What is Plagiarism and Paraphrasing without Plagiarism to expand your knowledge of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

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Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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