Essay writing open university

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She believes the gap in her education was to blame but, according to some academics, many of the current crop of students gearing up to A-levels will feel exactly the same when they start university this autumn. Margi Rawlinson, academic skills co-ordinator at Edge Hill University, says it is wrong to think that only so-called non-traditional students wrestle with writing essays.


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Over the last year, part of Attlee's role has been to offer one-to-one sessions with students to help them develop the skills needed to complete a well-written assignment. That can make life considerably easier for you if somebody bothers to tell you," she says. You know, 'and then this happens, and such-and- such an academic says this about it, and then this happens, and so-and-so says that'.

Week 4: Writing well-organised essays - OpenLearn - Open University - SWE_1

With the ability to think or write analytically "there's no end of the reading you can do," she says. Kate Brooks, principal lecturer and student experience co-ordinator in the faculty of creative arts at the University of the West of England UWE , has carried out research into students' experience of the transition between school and university, and says that essay writing featured strongly in their comments. In the workshop sessions she runs, she tries to explain that, in fact, writing is a small element in creating an essay.

We try to get across that it's a much more cyclical process; do some research, draft a bit, read some more, think, consider what you've written, redraft I'll explain that it's like that for academics, too — after all, I don't just sit down one day and think, 'Right, I'll write a book! Some universities are now actively addressing the problem in individual faculties or by creating generic cross-subject courses delivered by their study skills departments.

But some students resist the help on offer. Attlee's one-to-one sessions are voluntary and very popular.

Open University Essays: Useful Tips to Write Them Effectively

After reading - After your reading, it is often good to summarise all your findings on a page. Again, a spider diagram can help with this. Bringing together the key points from your reading helps clarify what you have found out, and helps you find a pathway through all the ideas and issues you have encountered. If you include brief details of authors and page nos.

Course learning outcomes

It also helps you see how your initial response to the question might have changed or become more sophisticated in light of the reading you've done. It leads into planning your essay structure. Planning your essay makes it much more likely that you will end up with a coherent argument. You need to work out what to include, and what can be left out. It is impossible to cover everything in an essay, and your markers will be looking for evidence of your ability to choose material and put it in order. Brainstorm all your ideas, then arrange them in three or four groups.

Not everything will fit so be prepared to discard some points you can mention them briefly in your introduction. Writing a summary - Some people plan best once they have written something, as this helps clarify their thinking.


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If you prefer to write first, try summarising the central idea of your essay in a few sentences. This gives you a clear direction for working out how you are going to break it down into points supported by evidence. You can then use one of the methods below to write a more detailed plan. You can then order your ideas by numbering the arms of the spider diagram. This method is flexible and creative, so is good to use first even if you like to order your points in linear form afterwards.

Example of a spider diagram. It can be a brief outline of the main point per paragraph, or a more detailed plan with sub-points and a note of the evidence to support each point e.

If you know you tend to write too much, cut down the number of individual points in your plan. If you find it difficult to write enough, expand on some of your points with sub-points in the planning stage. No plan is perfect, so be prepared for your ideas to change as you write your essay. However, once you have an initial plan it is much easier to adapt it and see where new things fit if your thinking does change.

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Essay and report writing skills

These four areas can form the basis of a practical tool to help you develop your academic writing. As you go through the rest of these pages, you will explore these four areas of the checklist in more detail. The activity below, from the University of Southampton, gives you some ideas of what you need to think about when revising your writing. This website is developed and maintained by Online Student Support Services. This page was last updated on 13 February at Find your personal contacts including your tutor and student support team:.

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