Essay Writing At Degree Level: The Basics By Laura Gibbs

by | Apr 17, 2019 | Smart Writing Tips

Essay Writing At Degree Level: The Basics By Laura Gibbs

Love Poems By Raihana Summer 2019 By: Laura Gibbs

 

Laura Gibbs

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Essay writing at degree level Laura Gibbs specializing in literary theory, philosophy and James Joyce studies. Laura is a talented, smart and experienced writer and Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Sheffield  UK.

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Essay writing at degree level BA : English: Goldsmiths, University of London

Essay writing at degree level MA: literary studies: Goldsmiths, University of London

Essay writing at degree level Ph.D. candidate: University of Sheffield (2019)

 

Essay writing at degree level Essay writing at degree level


 Essay writing at degree level


 

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1 More posts from Laura Gibbs, Check them out!

all those human rhythms that bind us together and draw the world into a community, those daily

rites, rhythms, rituals

upholding the world like solar bones, that rarefied amalgam of time and light whose extension through every minute of the day is visible from the moment i get up the morning and stand at the kitchen window with a mug of tea in my hand, watching the first cars of the day passing on the road, every one of them known to me

name, number plate and destinations

Laura Gibbs

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Essay Writing At Degree Level

Essay Writing At Degree Level: The Basics By Laura Gibbs

 

Essay writing at degree level

Essay writing at degree level: the basics – Laura Gibbs

 

when i started my undergraduate literature degree my writing was no way near up to scratch. my punctuation and grammar was all over the place, i didn’t know how to properly structure my essays and as a result my ideas were often all over the place. in the second year of my degree i made it my priority to work on this and spent HOURS trying to improve my writing. it took time, a lot of patience and there was a lot of frustration (especially since it wasn’t reflected in my grades until my third year). but, eventually, it really paid off. it’s important to acknowledge that being able to write well can take time and is often not something that comes naturally, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get there in the end. here are a few things i learnt:

  • first things first, sort out your punctuation and grammar. these are easy marks to lose and it’s just a matter of practice. firstly, to find out where you’re going wrong go and talk to someone. universities often have writing sessions or one-to-ones aimed at tackling problems like these. this is where you can show them your essay and they can guide you through what you need to improve on (having someone else point out your common mistakes can be really helpful). secondly, find yourself a copy of hazel hutchinson’s how to write great essays and dissertations. this book was my go-to during second year. it covers everything from structure, to punctuation and using secondary sources, so it is a great way of figuring out the basics. another one i’d recommend is my grammar and i (or should that be ‘me’?).
  • once you’ve got that down, begin to closely read academic essays and secondary sources. whilst these are great means of research, they are also super useful for seeing what an academic essay should look like. take note of the way they structure sentences. what do their introductions look like and how do they shape their ideas? by the end of your degree your essays should essentially be shorter versions of these so it’s a good idea to use them as a base for your own writing.
  • essay structure: throw out your a-level paragraphs! when i first started my BA, i thought each paragraph was expected to contain a point, evidence and explanation (p.e.e. as it was taught to me in school). what i later learned is that, although this is to some extent true, starting a new point every paragraph makes the essay sound choppy and the argument can be stunted and undeveloped – especially as you’ll be writing longer essays at undergrad. rather than doing this, i ended up making just one or two points throughout the essay and spreading this across a few paragraphs each time, using two or three bits of textual evidence, close analysis and lengthy explanation to develop my argument.
  • writing is about rewriting. it’s rare that your writing will be as good as it can be after the first draft. try and finish your essay a week before it’s due (although this is not always possible), have a few days off and then look back through it. at this point, i normally print a hard copy, take a highlighter and read it through slowly, highlighting anything that sounds out of place or could be explained further as i go. this way, you can go back through and tighten things, make your sentences smoother, and ensure your argument is as clear as it can be.
  • finally, and most importantly, don’t  –   try  –  to  –  look  –  fancy. i can’t stress this enough. too many students think they have to use big words and complicated sentences for their work to sound clever and “academic”. that’s not true!! the most important thing is to be clear and concise. show your intelligence off in your argument, not your writing. your tutors want to be able to understand what you’re saying and for it to be easy to read, so don’t panic if you think your essay sounds too simple or “dumb” because you haven’t used big words – it doesn’t!

 

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