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top tips for essay writing

(21 Posts)
dementedma Sun 29-Sep-13 09:08:51

Does anyone know a good website with tips for essay writing skills. Dd has always struggled with this - we were staggered when she said she wanted to go to university because of this actually -and now the first essay is due. Help!
Also some help with the correct way to reference?

Eastpoint Sun 29-Sep-13 09:10:15

UCL have some good PDFs on their website. I googled 'how to write an essay'.

dementedma Sun 29-Sep-13 09:15:52

Thanks will check that out

englishteacher78 Sun 29-Sep-13 09:18:35

The OU has excellent texts on all aspects of study skills.

MikeTheShite Sun 29-Sep-13 09:19:10

I'm using the study skills handbook by Stella cottrel

goinggetstough Sun 29-Sep-13 09:45:16

Most universities run "how to write an essay" sessions via their learning support centres. I think you normally just have to sign up for them.

EduCated Sun 29-Sep-13 09:58:46

Does her university run academic writing sessions? My old university used to run them, you could go and get help in person. I didn't ever go, but a friend did and found it useful, particularly as they were able to advise note house style for things like referencing.

creamteas Sun 29-Sep-13 11:29:16

I would also suggest that she contacts the learning support unit at her university.

Generic advice can only help so far as the style of essays required does vary a bit between disciplines.

I've learnt a lot from the OU, but not sure if their material is available to non-students? Also, as others have said, each institution will have its own preferences.

Johnny5needsinput Sun 29-Sep-13 11:42:07

Contact student support at the Uni. It depends on the course what format the essay should take.

Johnny5needsinput Sun 29-Sep-13 11:42:52

Same with referencing - it depends on the course what referencing style they will expect her to use.

MollyBerry Sun 29-Sep-13 12:07:32

With the correct way to reference it will depend on what the uni want but if it's Harvard Referencing I have a really good guide that my uni gave me which I can email you if you'd like?

SlowlorisIncognito Sun 29-Sep-13 15:19:24

What course is she doing? The writing style will probably vary a bit between courses.

I know this sounds harsh, but it might be better for her to attempt this essay on her own. This way she will get a more realistic picture of where she stands at the start of her first year, and can look at the feedback to improve.

Otherwise, she should ask her personal/accademic tutor what help is available re- essay writing. This will mean she gets a bit more "in house" help, and it will probably be closer to the style whoever is marking the essay is looking for.

General things:

-The essay should be formal in style, so no abriviations etc.
-She should read it aloud to herself once written to make sure everything she has written makes sense and SPAG is to the best of her ability.
-Do some research first, then make a plan to structure ideas.
-Write the introduction and conclusion last.
-Try to make sure the essay flows from sentence to sentence, and paragraph to paragraph.
-Don't make assertions- back everything up with evidence and a reference.

dementedma Sun 29-Sep-13 15:29:46

Thank you all so much for this. I can help to a certain extent as I used to teach English bit academic referencing has probably changed since my day and I have no idea of the content so couldn't help her with that even if I wanted to. I agree she has to do it as Mich as possible on her own but I know she finds it so hard. She had a record of needs at high school becausemof mild dyslexia and language problems but she didn't tell the uni that as she thought it might affect her application. It is the philosophy essay that is causing the problems as they seem to reference differently to other subjects. I hate to hear her say, as she just has, " yup, looks like I am just thick after all".

Molly, that's very kind of you. If you pm me I will give you my email address.

EduCated Sun 29-Sep-13 16:10:14

It's not too late for her to talk to the university about her needs. They will still help her now, even if she didn't disclose at the time of application. Please encourage her to go, my university had so much help available (software, deadline extensions, using computers for exams etc) but only if people went to them.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 29-Sep-13 17:49:57

Your DD couldn't be more wrong about being open about the difficulties she has encountered adversely affecting her application, and her school should have included it in her reference so that the university can arrange the right support. The understanding and support given to dyslexics is far better in universities than it is in most schools. She should contact the Learning support Unit to access all the help and support available as soon as possible. I, my DD and niece, have all found it tremendously helpful.

creamteas Sun 29-Sep-13 20:22:41

her school should have included it in her reference

Schools can only comment when the applicant has mentioned it.

I would also add to recommendation of disclosing now, and getting the right support in place asap.

She might also be able to claim the disabled students allowance which can help pay for a learning mentor.

iworemyfringelikerogermcguinns Sun 29-Sep-13 23:33:48

Not much to add to the advice given above but YYY to Cottrell and the OU study skills site:

A useful site to help her with referencing when she finds out which style to use:

Your dd should use the type of referencing used in her department; normally this is specified in the course handbook / document or on the Moodle or Blackboard; there are usually guidelines for writing produced by departments but students are not always aware of them. If she can't find this information in course materials she should email the course cooordinator or her tutor to find out.

Re writing: as Slowloris said, styles and genres differ considerably between departments so again, she shouldn't be afraid to seek guidance. Some general advice on different writing genres:

to write more efficiently and effectively she could also look at writing processes:

Most of my links are for non-native speakers but I've used them all myself as they're pretty straightforward. Apologies if she's already doing or knows about these things and I'm stating the obvious! Good luck!

sashh Mon 30-Sep-13 08:26:54

The OU do some great 'how to' books. There should also be some sessions in the library or student support.

eatyourveg Mon 30-Sep-13 12:57:39

ds was given a reading list which had this on it for all level 4 starters apparently

dementedma Mon 30-Sep-13 21:04:04

Thank you all SO much.

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