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Length: 1800 - 2100 words (6-7 double spaced pages) — same as for the original submission of Paper 2
Grade: The rewrite does not replace the existing Paper 2 grade: it is an independent grade. The initial submission and the rewrite are each worth 15% of your final grade. The standards are much higher for the rewrite than for the original paper. If you make only superficial revisions (e.g. fixing typos, adding occasional sentences in response to TA's comments), your grade will drop. If you dutifully respond to most comments, but show no initiative, your grade will likely stay the same. To get a better grade, you must use the feedback and time to produce something fundamentally better.
Revising — even rewriting — a paper, as part of MIT's Communications Intensive (CI) requirement, can be an enormously valuable exercise, but only if you invest the time needed to make it worthwhile. Revision means to see again, to take a fresh look at the overall product and to improve the work in a substantial way. You take the opportunity provided by this assignment — you have as much time for the revision as you did for the original paper — to re-think your paper from top to bottom. Any paper, no matter how good initially, can be improved dramatically with enough thought and effort. These guidelines should help.
How to proceed? Look again at the original assignment and how you answered it. Look at the comments from your TA and then speak with your TA about them. Brainstorm more about the topic in light of new material that has been presented in the course. Revisit the readings. Once you have done this, think about the best possible answer to this assignment. You might be able to work with your existing material, working it over into something much better. But you might also choose to do something entirely new: reconceived, restructured, making new and better arguments, with more complete and relevant data.
At the very least, follow this process:
One of the best ways to ensure success with the rewrite is to force yourself to be ruthless in your revisions. How to do this? Do not simply revise your existing document. Instead, start from scratch with a blank document and do not cut or paste anything. This will force you to reconsider every idea, sentence, and phrase. Even if you want to use a similar sentence or paragraph, having to retype the material always leads to better prose. Since you have as much time to work on the rewrite as you did on the original, and since you will hopefully improve not just the writing but also the thinking behind the paper, similar sentences and paragraphs should be rare. This will produce a rewrite that is fundamentally different and improved.
As the paper approaches its final form, be sure to take the time needed to improve its production values: edit carefully, use citations correctly, etc. Anything else is unacceptable. For instance:
We encourage everyone to meet one-on-one with their TA (and/or the professors) to make sure that expectations are clear and that you have a viable plan. Make good use of our class writing tutor and the MIT Writing Center to produce the best possible paper.
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