Tips and Tricks for Passing ENG 121

How to Pass English 121 | 12 Tips & Tricks for Success

ENG 121. It’s a course that many students find stressful. And it’s understandable. 

Afterall, Ashford students are adult learners, many who have returned to pursue a degree after several years away from the classroom. Others may have excelled in courses other than English but struggle with writing papers. No matter the reason, some students’ writing skills can be a bit rusty. 

It’s fairly common, in fact. There are a lot of rules to writing, and if it’s something you don’t do every day, you might need a little practice to get you up to speed. Even the best will find themselves looking up how to properly use a comma or what constitutes a run-on sentence. 

But that’s exactly why ENG 121 exists: to ensure that all students have the tools and skills they need to succeed in college and beyond.

As such, all Ashford students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program must satisfy English Proficiency within the first 15 successfully completed credits. 

But if you are a student who is required to pass ENG 121 in order to continue pursuing your bachelor’s degree and are feeling stressed about the course, or you’re considering returning to school but your writing skills are preventing you from taking the leap, fear not. 

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be sharing valuable tips, tricks, insight, and peer-to-peer advice on all our social channels that we hope will help you face ENG 121 with more confidence and pass with flying colors. 

To kick off our series on ENG 121, we posed the following question in our Ashford Connections Facebook Group:

“If you could give 1 piece of advice, tip/trick, or recommendation to a student that's about to take ENG121, what would it be?”

Below are the top 12 tips given by your peers.

Tips for Success

Follow this sage advice from your peers, and you'll be on your way to completing the course with more confidence.

1. Review the instructions carefully: 

"From week 2 to week 5, you will be working on a critical response essay. You got this. Just read the directions clearly. 'm 50, haven't been in school since the 80s, and I have an A- in my 4th week." – Carrie V.T.

2. Stay calm and work ahead::

"Don’t panic, first off. You are capable of so much more than you think. Don’t be shy about using the writing center! They have step-by-step instructions about everything from citing sources to using APA formatting. Don’t be afraid to glance ahead at future assignments so that you know when things are due. Work ahead and take the quizzes when you’ve got some extra time in the first week or so." – Amber C.E.

3. Keep the communication open: 

"Communicate with your instructor if need be. Look at the fine print and follow your gut! Be at peace before you start, and you’ll be ok!" – Tabitha B.

4. Read other books: 

"My advisor told me to read 'The Essentials of Writing.' It was a small book and helped me a lot." – Jennie L.M.

5. Don't procrastinate: 

"Do not wait till the day it’s due to start any work, especially if writing papers is something you struggle with." – Abigail M.

6. Have a plan:

"First and foremost, take the schedules they give you of the class and look it over for all five weeks. Break down what is needed for each week and start asking about finals and papers early. The biggest part of this class is not letting assignments sneak up on you. Then breath and relax. To be honest, this is what I do for every class and it ends with me being really prepared and feeling less stressed. It has led to my success and put me in Honors College." – Susan H.

7. Speak up:

"Don’t be afraid to ask questions! No matter how simple it is, it’s important. Message your instructor and ask for help if you find difficulty with anything!" – Monique G.

8. Utilize resources wisely: 

"Use Grammarly. Use the writing center. They are such a lifesaver." – Brianna C.

9. Do your reading:

"Read, read & re-read the textbook!" – Sharon J.

10. Prep for the next course: 

"Read ahead and learn what you can. You will need it for ENG 122.” – Carrie V.T.

11. Listen to your advisors: 

"My advisor had me read 'The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition.' This is like a reference book and breaks down what most professors are looking for. – Jenny L.M.

12. Turn to your higher power:

"Pray, pray, and pray. God has got you." – Rhonda H.

Be sure to check back for more content that will help you succeed in ENG 121, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get real-time tips.


Written by Ashford University staff

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Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.