Essay Writing

Anything to do with studying at University or college, from classes and coursework to classmates and student life

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Catwoman42
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Essay Writing

Postby Catwoman42 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:23 pm

I have just started a 3 year part time course, but I'm struggling with the essays. I've been told that they are incoherent and rambling and not logically written. Of course to me it made perfect sense. I spoke to a tutor and we're going to discuss it when we next meet, but it's so frustrating! I can get my ideas across verbally. Fed up!

lwest200
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby lwest200 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:38 pm

I know how you feel, i used to be like that with essays during uni. Just keep trying and spend as much time with tutors as you can. I felt it helped putting titles in bold for each section of an essay and then when the essay was finished i'd remove them. That way it's all been written in small chunks and I wasn't over loaded. I could never write an essay without any structure help like that and really made a difference.

lauraECFan
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby lauraECFan » Fri May 24, 2013 10:55 am

What I usually do (done a sort of essay on sharks which was 10 pages long easily) is find something I am interested in to do the essay about then again it depends on if the essay is about a certain subject which for that I would suggest looking for the part that interests you most for example if its about books do it on a series you like

Hope this helps
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Willr0490
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby Willr0490 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:27 pm

When I was studying my degree, I used to write my essays as a series of individual sections. That way, I could devote a set amount of words for each topic I had to cover in order to answer the question.

PhilB
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby PhilB » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:46 am

I left my last job for pretty much precisely this reason. I could get there at degree level using the right methods and approach, I got comments on bad punctuation and grammar but still did enough to get a high 2:1 (missed a first by half a percent) and then a PhD. I really struggled in a work environment when I was time constrained though, and didn't just need to do it but needed to do it really quickly. Fine doing presentations, calculations, drawings/figures etc but it all falls down when it comes to essays and reports.

Things that have helped me are:

- learning foreign languages. English is a horrendous mongrel language based on 4 historic languages (latin, gaelic, saxon and nordic all having a heavy influence). As a result it lacks any consistent structure and is not phonetic. The vast majority of foreign languages are much more sensible and do have structure and are phonetic. The implications of this are massive, dyslexia for example is practically non-existant in many countries because the writing is so much easier for the brain to process. If you can learn the structure from a foreign language it gives you something to apply to English in parrallel - it may not be perfect but should be functional.

- doing a report writing course. It really helped me to understand how to structure sentences and paragraphs. Simple things like keeping paragraphs short makes them easier to read. Putting key points at the start of the paragraph and emphasis can be applied by using short 'Sun' style sentences.

- mind mapping to plan what needs to be covered in the essay, and where it should fit in. If you try to do a mind map and you find that the different branches don't feel right or merge/diverge too much then rip it up and start again with different starting branches.

If there's anything you want to discuss further feel free to get in touch, and good luck with the course.

Catwoman42
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby Catwoman42 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:26 am

Thanks for all the replies and good wishes. I really like the idea of writing in sections. My final essay this year is about me, so I've done an essay plan and am writing it in sections, over time. No point n putting myself under pressure by leaving it until the last minute. I keep meaning to have a look at mind mapping, does anyone find it useful?

rosie
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby rosie » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:45 pm

Mind mapping is often really recommended for dyslexic and dyspraxic students as it can help getting thoughts onto paper. There is software called imagination which is really good for this.

Nyx
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby Nyx » Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:40 pm

Every point and idea you want to make, you should mind map them before you write the essay so that you have a clear plan of what you want to talk about.

susanjones
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby susanjones » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:04 pm

My son was told about Tony Buzan and mind maps and he bought one of his books and it really helped.
He has also got help from his uni with breaking down coursework assignments into chunks. His student officer at uni will also proof read his assignments and essays. You don't get an allowance for that thru the DSA payment but now colleges have the ball in their court and apparently they have to offer more than they did before in the way of backup.

Susan.

Thesim01
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby Thesim01 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:32 pm

I have just started a 3 year part time course, but I'm struggling with the essays. I've been told that they are incoherent and rambling and not logically written. Of course to me it made perfect sense. I spoke to a tutor and we're going to discuss it when we next meet, but it's so frustrating! I can get my ideas across verbally. Fed up!



Yes i understand your problem but i want to suggest you first of all you have to discuss with your tutor on which topic you face problem,tell him about whole problem what are your weak points he understand,after that you not get any solution then go through websites which gives basic ideas to learn how to write an essay,how to follow step by step.I hope this is enough for you,if you have any query then you can ask on this forum community,i will surely help you....


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idontgetsarcasm
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby idontgetsarcasm » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:50 pm

I've found a few things that help with essays:

1. Writing each paragraph in a different colour: helps you differentiate between paragraphs more easily so if you want to add to them, you can find the right place more quickly. Obviously change the colour back to black at the end.

2. Powerpoint: Writing each paragraph on a different slide of a powerpoint presentation is really helpful to be able to look at each paragraph separately and switch between them easily. Added bonus is that it's really easy to rearrange paragraphs into a different order.

3. Printing out essays to edit them: I don't know about other people, but I find it incredibly hard to edit something on a computer screen effectively. So I print out my essays, often one paragraph per page to make it feel more manageable, and edit with a coloured pen, before transferring the edits onto the copy on the computer.

4. Writing first and last sentences of paragraphs separately: After writing most of my essay, I come up with improved first and last sentences for each paragraph and write them on a page in order, making sure that each paragraph links to the next so that it reads like an essay synopsis. This makes essays flow better.

idontgetsarcasm
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby idontgetsarcasm » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:16 pm

Also if you can express it verbally you could record yourself, then transcribe and edit.

nickye
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby nickye » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:54 am

These are all great ideas. I'm studying with the Open University - English Literature - which I love and have just finished the first year (AA100 - The Arts Past and Present).

I was getting quite stressed out over my essays sometimes - although they turned out well in the end - but sometimes the stress would get to me and I couldn't switch off.

I found making mind maps really helped. I'm not usually a very visual person, but I ended up making so many lists and notes which went I went back were too hard to work from. A mind map really helped me to focus.

Also I kept referring back to the question to see if I had answered it - my tutor made me laugh when she told me I don't to 'shoehorn everything in' that I know about a subject.

I think also working in short bursts can be good - and coming back to it later. Or set aside a time to concentrate on different points within the essay.

I really love going back to studying. I didn't go to university when I was 18 although I had a place - I have always kicked myself, especially as this was back in 1987 when there were no tuition fees!! Still, I have been able to get a student loan now at the age of 47 which I'm really pleased about. I wish I had known about dyspraxia earlier in life - I think a lot of the reasons I found it hard to think about going to university was a kind of struggle with everyday things (like using buses and opening tins). I just thought I was a bit of an idiot (event though I did well academically I used to get stressed by all the thoughts in my head and it took me three years to learn to drive). However, I try to put this behind me now.

I hope this might be helpful, and I certainly found the other comments helpful - I may try writing in different colours as well.

Thanks
Nicky

someonesmum
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby someonesmum » Fri May 19, 2017 2:44 pm

Hi there. I'm new here and I hope it's ok to ask. My son needs to get good enough at essays to do them a) confidently and b) under pressure in exams. Does anyone have any information about report writing courses like the one philB mentions?
Thanks - E

Tom fod
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Re: Essay Writing

Postby Tom fod » Sat May 20, 2017 11:55 am

someonesmum wrote:Hi there. I'm new here and I hope it's ok to ask. My son needs to get good enough at essays to do them a) confidently and b) under pressure in exams. Does anyone have any information about report writing courses like the one philB mentions?
Thanks - E


someonesmum wrote:Hi -
I hope it's ok for me to be here.
I'm a mum to two young adults who are both dyspraxic and dyslexic. Pretty sure their dad is too.
I came across this site looking for ideas to help with the current challenge - writing university essays under pressure.
My daughter is getting there thanks to a GCSE English teacher who broke everything down (so she knows about how to structure paragraphs etc) and a love of colourful mind maps.
My son didn't learn such a clear structure in English and has never needed the mind map habit.
He avoids writing because it is such hard work. At school he had a scribe so he is not used to using technology.

Advice or ideas from people who have been there and done that would be brilliant - thanks - E


Hi E

I guess it would be preferable if it were your son hereof his own volition, but I do understand why you are keen to prepare him with the skills for writing dissertations and also doing this under examination conditions. I know I'm fortunate that i'm quite written word focussed, though I'm by no means perfect and I'm not appreciably dyslexic..

Have you or he spoken to the University about specific specialist support that could be available to him to enable him to develop his ability in this area.. I suspect the report writing course PhilB referred to might have been one an employer provided but don't let discourage you from further searching.

We get a fair bit of spam on this site where advertisers offer essay writing services. I imagine university tutors reinforce the message that these are not worth the paper or the pain of expulsion but I can see how students might be tempted to use such a service so they can party instead.
Tom
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