Focus On Writing Paragraphs And Essays

It is the most common focus for study consultations among students using Learning Development. A collection of Question lists is available via the Learning Development website.These lists suggest questions to ask of your writing when you are reviewing it.Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there.

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If left unplanned, the reading stage can swallow up huge amounts of time.

Fortunately, there is scope for developing efficiency in several ways: While a certain level of efficiency is desirable, it is also important to remain flexible enough to identify relevant and interesting ideas that you had not anticipated.

As a tutor has said (Creme and Lea, 1997 p41): ‘When my students ask me about essay writing, there are three main pieces of advice that I give them. The Mini Guide: Essay terms explained, and Questions to ask about interpreting essay titles may be useful.

To start you off, and to minimise the likelihood of writer’s block, a useful exercise is to do a ‘brainstorm’ of all your ideas in connection with the essay title. It can be much less stressful to throw all your thoughts down on paper, before you start trying to find answers to these questions.

You can use the writing process to help you think through, clarify and develop your early ideas about how you might respond to the title that has been set: ‘you may not know what you think until you have written it down’ (Creme & Lea, 1997 p115).

As with teaching, it is often not until you try to communicate an argument and its evidence that you find where the gaps are in your knowledge or argument.

Instead, you can catch all of your ideas, in no particular order, on a sheet or two of A4.

Once they are down there it will be easier for you to start to review them critically and to see where you need to focus your reading and note taking.

So don’t be afraid of writing down your ideas before they are fully formed, or in the ‘right’ order.

Writing is an active and constructive process; it is not merely a neutral recording of your thoughts.

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