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How to score high marks in creative writing at MA level

(7 Posts)
studentmature Tue 07-Mar-17 10:11:25

I am a mature student who's gone back into education after a very long time. My subject is completely new to me, and to my disappointment I didn't score as highly as I would have liked in the first modules I took. I spoke to my tutor about it, and she said that I shouldn't fall into the trap of chasing grades and should enjoy the process rather than focus on the outcome.

I am doing the MA not just to enjoy the process (although I am enjoying it, immensely) but to improve my writing to the best it can be. I am ready and willing and hungry to learn, so I'm disappointed about being brushed off like that. Reading between the lines, I think she feels that a student either has that ability or they don't, and nothing is going to give me those extra marks I want. But I prefer not to have such a defeatist attitude. Are there any tutors or students who can recommend me resources that I can use, which will give me practical tips on how to do better at MA level? I have looked online but found only the general 'avoid adverbs', 'show don't tell' type writing advice (which I stick to of course).

HilairHilair Fri 10-Mar-17 22:28:12

She'd absolutely not brushing you off. Her advice is very sound.

Marks are not the final or best indication of quality. There are many other ways of assessing and giving feedback about quality of achievement.

You need to get rid of the reductive mindset of your post, and think about what you really want to achieve.

Who was it who said of someone that he knew the price of everything and the value of nothing?

User006point5 Sat 11-Mar-17 16:20:10

should enjoy the process rather than focus on the outcome
Eh? That's ok for a hobby, but surely doing an MA, you want to improve? How is chasing grades a trap? Has she told you exactly why she didn't award a higher mark?

If she doesn't want you focusing on the outcome, ask her how you can improve your process. wink

CustardShoes Sat 11-Mar-17 16:23:20

and she said that I shouldn't fall into the trap of chasing grades and should enjoy the process rather than focus on the outcome

I would say that the tutor means that the OP should not think of her grades or marks, but rather focus on the process of writing, learning to write, and practising writing.

It's very good advice. Students who think that their degree education is about getting good grades are focusing on the wrong thing. Look at the title of this thread: it's not "How can I write better?" it's "How can I get better grades?"

Not the same thing.

User006point5 Sat 11-Mar-17 16:36:20

But surely a lower mark is the indication that there's something missing in the writing? Can the teacher not analyse the writing to say what that is? Otherwise, surely the writer might head off in the wrong direction - perhaps working on her style, when the tutor's concerned about huge holes in her plot. (Disclaimer: I'm not in education...)

Alice212 Sat 11-Mar-17 16:42:10

hi OP
I don't have an MA but I have had - guilty confession coming up - some interest from a publisher on a novel (which I still haven't bloody finished and yes I am here on MN).

I would be very annoyed with that feedback. She must be able to give some idea of what is missing or what you can improve on.

I have been on a couple of cheap short courses and they can do that.

I also think that there's a very big source of income from people studying to enjoy study and the fact that someone might want to be excellent gets lost in that fact.

I would ask her again - say you feel you need more guidance. I have a feeling "guidance" will make her see it differently.

CustardShoes Sat 11-Mar-17 21:54:28

You're all missing the point that the OP didn't ask how to improve her writing - she asked her tutor how to improve her grades.

If I have a student come to me with a question like that, I tell them I'm not interested in them improving their grades. But I am open to a discussion about their work. If they keep coming back to marks, I tend to close off the tutorial pretty quickly.

Tutors don't appreciate "grade grubbing." We want students open to learning.

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