Why Turn Your English Degree into a PGCE?
02 Mar 22
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You’ve just started your journey with the University of Bolton and your first assignment has come through. It’s fair to say that the required standard for essay writing at university is a considerable step up from what you’ve experienced during your school years.
But before turning to Google to search for ‘how to write a first-class essay’, have a look at our guide! Stay tuned for some top tips for essay writing to help you ace those assignments...
Structure is KEY!
We can’t talk about top tips for essay writing without talking about structure. Every piece of writing tells a story and needs a beginning, middle, and end. The best way of achieving this is to plan your essay structure before you start the work of writing the essay itself.
Determining your goal; what do you want to achieve with your essay? This gives you the foundation you need to plan your content. You may also find it beneficial to make a list of keywords and terms from the question itself. You can use this as a starting point for research on the subject.
If you want to learn how to write a first-class essay, the first fundamental fact to remember is that writing is the most linear of activities. If you have a clear introduction, main body, and conclusion, then you’re off to a winning start!
Understand your marking criteria
You can’t expect to receive that 70%+ grade on an assignment if you don’t understand where your marks will be coming from. Be aware of what your examiner will be looking for in your writing before you put pen to paper and make it part of your essay planning process.
You might be wondering where to find this information. The simple answer is to check your module handbook. This would be the course information that your lecturer would have handed or sent you in your very first lecture in a paper or digital format. It’s an important document to keep safe. It will be yours to refer to throughout the year and key to module success.
Often displayed in a table format, you should be able to find a full breakdown of the requirements to meet each academic level, from a below 40% fail to a first-class standard. Assignments are typically scored based on presentation, referencing, knowledge, spelling and grammar, structure, coherence, and finally, critical analysis (a term that you may find yourself hearing a lot during your university lectures!).
Are you good at finding both sides of an argument? Do you enjoy playing devil’s advocate? This can come in useful when writing your assignments. Essay questions are quite broad, with no set right or wrong answer that will receive the top marks like a maths or science exam. When it comes down to how to write a first-class essay, you'll have free reign to decide what your content is going to be; providing it is accurate and relevant to the question, of course.
Brainstorming is a huge help when it comes to creating content. No great essay can be written without ideas showcasing where your writing intends to go. Brainstorming brings out your best creative ideas. Whether you are best at generating mind maps or simple jotting a few words down in a notebook, this can be a great way of ensuring that your writing stays clear and concise and achieves your objective in a logical manner.
Don’t forget to reference!
Plagiarism is the act of taking something that has already been published in someone else’s work and using them without reference to pass it off as your own. At university, committing plagiarism is a serious academic offence when writing your assignments. In some cases, it can lead to expulsion from university if the offence occurs multiple times.
Whether you are required to use Harvard or APA referencing, taking the time to understand how to use it correctly is one of the top tips we can give you for essay writing once your planning process is complete and you start writing. This is where you will score top marks for your knowledge, referencing, and most importantly, your critical analysis!
There we have it! Our top tips for writing a first-class essay. At Bolton University, we are proud to support you with our supportive learning environment and dedicated team of lecturers to hopefully help you gain a first-class degree. That’s #UniAsItShouldBe!