Tips and Tricks for Passing ENG 121

By University Staff

How to Pass English 121 | 11 Tips & Tricks for Success

ENG 121. It’s a course that many students, understandably, find stressful.

If you’re an adult learner who has enrolled at the University of Arizona Global Campus after many years away from the classroom, you’ve likely fallen out of the habit of writing papers. Likewise, you may be unfamiliar with many of the rules of writing, rules you’ll need to abide by in order to complete your assignments. We all occasionally find ourselves looking up exactly how to properly place a period in a sentence with a quote, or we may run into trouble when paragraphs lack punctuation or run much longer than they should. 

However, the instructors know this. They are here to help you on your journey to becoming a better writer and will provide the foundation you need throughout your education and later in your career.

“English 121 helps students to not only build the written communication skills they will need in later classes, but also helps them discover their own process for writing,” explains one Global Campus instructor. “ENG 121 gives students space to try different ways to approach what we call the ‘stages’ of writing. Students need to go through each of the stages, but how they approach those stages will be different, so ENG 121 teaches them about writing, provides opportunities to practice writing, and gives students space to find their own writing process.”

All Global Campus students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program must satisfy English Proficiency within the first 15 successfully completed credits. In order to assuage your anxiety, we’ve combined some of the top faculty advice for passing ENG 121 with the best tips and tricks from students who have completed the course. 

With this solid advice, a little bit of grit, and a good dose of determination, you’ll be ready to take on the course. So, take a look at the insight shared below, and then get ready to hit those books.

First, we hear from the faculty.

Faculty Tips for Passing ENG 121

Incomplete work, proofreading errors, and a misunderstanding of the writing lab process are some of the most common challenges faculty see in the ENG 121 classroom. In order to avoid frustration (and rewriting your work), top instructors recommend the following:

1. Read everything, several times.

Browse through the entire course as soon as you have access to it, so you can plan your work accordingly. Read and take notes on the assigned readings, the instructions for graded work, and the feedback in the grade book to have as much information as possible for the next discussion or assignment.

2. Turn in everything.

Even if you don’t think your work is very good, the instructors encourage you to turn it in any way. This way they can identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you to improve your work. Losing a few points is better than earning zero points for missing work. Plus, you may be doing much better than you thought.

3. Reach out to your instructors. 

The instructors love what they do and truly enjoy helping students, so they are always happy to help a student who may be confused by an assignment. When it comes to passing the course, communication is key. 

4. Use the resources at your fingertips

Though the University of Arizona Global Campus classroom is online, students are never alone. There are a number of resources that will directly benefit ENG 121 students — all of them available at your fingertips. Here are three that instructors say you should rely upon as you work toward earning your degree.

The University of Arizona Global Campus Library:

You’ll find the University Library essential for every course, but ENG 121 students should take some extra time to explore the library and become familiar with its functionality. If you need assistance, you can reach out to a librarian 24/7.

The Writing Center:

The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center can help you with punctuation, grammar, and formatting rules. There are even quizzes to test your knowledge and keep your writing skills sharp. Additionally, the Writing Center is your best resource for mastering APA writing style, the format that you’ll use for all University assignments. Instructors recommend you have the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center bookmarked in your browser to quickly find answers to your questions.


Grammarly is a free service you can download as an extension to your browser and use for everything from discussion posts and assignments to emails. The browser extension helps you identify grammatical errors, and the program offers suggestions to improve your writing.

Student Tips for Passing ENG 121

While instructors can provide their expert perspective, having the insight and counsel of your fellow students can give you an even greater advantage. To get some first-hand insight from those who have been in your shoes, we posed the following question in our UAGC 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 11 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. I'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." – 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. 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.

11. 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.

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