Writing assignments isn’t a natural process for everyone! The good news is that with a little hard work, anyone can learn to become a great academic writer.
We caught up with CSU’s Academic Literary, Learning and Numeracy (ALLaN) team in the Office for Students for some advice on academic writing. Follow these tips to improve your writing and tackle your next assignments with great skill.
Writing is learning
Writing should be part of all your study sessions. Take notes when you’re reading and try to define new terms in your own words. Review your notes and turn them into mind maps, sentences or paragraphs. Then you can use these notes to develop your essays and reports.
Practice makes perfect
Don’t leave the writing to the last minute. It’s tempting to just absorb a subject and then whip up a great essay the day it’s due. Unfortunately, last-minute writing shows and will frustrate your marker. Make sure you spend time writing your assignments.
Writing and speaking are different
The grammar we use in formal writing is not the same as the grammar we use in everyday conversations. In academic writing you won’t use as many ‘ands’, ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’, and you will need to use correct punctuation too.
Make every word count
Formal writing has to be concise. Anything vague or off-topic detracts from your message, so if it’s not adding meaning to your argument – leave it out.
Reading improves your writing
The more you read, the better you’ll write. As you read, note what works for you as a reader. Remember the flow, structure and style of academic writing. It’ll rub off on you.
Writing is knowing
Writing is one way of showing your markers what you know about the subject. Use your writing to prove your understanding and don’t assume your reader already knows everything about the topic. Define key terms, explain the connections you’ve made and use evidence to back up what you’ve written.
If you’d like some more help with academic writing, contact the ALLaN team in CSU’s Office for Students. You can book an appointment, go to a workshop or just have a quick chat. Appointments are available by phone, Skype and in person. Some services are available seven days a week.