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How can I improve my writing?

Strategies for improvement

It is possible to improve your writing by paying attention to the elements of good writing but also by attending to those issues you find problematic in your own work.

Spend some time working through Writing in Language and Learning Online for tutorials, examples and resources to improve your ability to write at university. Improving your writing can be difficult to undertake as a separate activity from your university study, so combine the two. Begin with those areas which may have been raised as problems in your writing by your markers, first, to ensure you maximise the benefit. See, for example, common problems with academic writing.

A possible approach

Here's one possible approach. Select some aspect of your writing that you'd like to work on. Perhaps you'd like to produce a more coherent, or flowing piece of work. Work through a resource such as using essay writing connectives to understand how this works to improve written communication. Pay conscious attention, then, to how such connectives are used in your readings. Start collecting examples you like of how those connectives are used successfully, and build your own list of useful essay writing connectives and transition signals. Start using them in your work.

Be sure to check the feedback on your assignments to see whether you've improved in this area. Build on this success by focusing on some other aspect of coherent writing such as writing effective paragraphs.

Remember, mistakes are a part of learning. If you are having difficulty, select an alternative resource; discuss this with other students, your family, your tutor; you could also request a learning consultation with a learning support lecturer.

For the issues associated with improving your academic result - your presentation, academic assignment writing, considering all elements of the question, paying attention to assessment criteria and the importance of taking a position - refer to How can I improve my marks? and other relevant issues discussed in Assessment.

Other resources for improvement

  • Check out the answers to related questions in Improve your academic outcomes
  • QuickRef 20 on Editing and proofreading your own work is a useful guide for the all-important editing stage of your assignment preparation.
  • Browse through recommended Library resources.
  • A Library opens in a new window catalogue search will also provide you with useful resources.
  • You may also like to look for a range of useful handouts available from university websites in general. Simply conduct a Google search on 'improving writing', for example, and limit the domain to 'edu'.
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