Coursework Writing Skills | Critical Essays

Coursework Writing Skills

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Coursework often carries a heavy weighting of your final grade, so you have to make sure it really reflects the amount of work and learning you have done throughout your course.

Learn to manage your time

The factor that lets most people down with coursework writing is time management. Too many people think ‘I have months to finish this, no need to start now…’ and then leave it all to the last minute. If this sounds like you then you had better read on!

The beauty of starting your coursework as soon as it is set is that you have the opportunity to let your ideas breathe and mature. Without a doubt, the first thoughts you have will be the ones that look incredibly naïve by the end of your coursework writing. What I usually do when beginning a project is to jot down my initial thoughts and prejudices, however ill formed, as soon as I can. I will then use these as the beginning of my research trail. Even if you are not entirely sure what your final essay question will be, you can begin to sniff out the shape of your essay by picking an aspect of the topic you are interested in and reading as widely as possible around that idea.

Improve your note taking

It is imperative that you write notes as you read, especially when the reading sparks off related tangents of thought. The skill that coursework writing is supposed to test is your ability to develop your thoughts independently. You can show that you have this skill by finding out what other major thinkers have said about your topic of coursework and then by re-interpreting their opinion and adding your own slant to the question.

After you have read as widely as possible you should go back to your notes and look at any trains of thought which you might like to develop. You can then go and research these further and see where they lead.

Make the most of your university library

Your first port of call should be your university library’s essay search engine. If you do not know what yours is, or how to use it, your first task will be to find out! Usually university libraries will run regular courses on how to search for secondary material. You can either search for an author you know has an interest in your topic or you can search for the topic itself. I usually search for a keyword, for example ‘women and twelfth night’ and see what comes up.

You should try to read a range of essays from different dates; there will usually be one or two ‘canonical’ works on any topic in question, so try to find out what these are and what the commentary has been on them since. You should also look to see what has been said most recently as this will show your tutor that you are able to keep up to date with arguments and trends in criticism. This will also help you to make sure that you are not reinventing the wheel. Tutors have to read lots of tedious coursework writing in which students rehash the same old arguments, so try as hard as you can to say something new and challenging.

It is always interesting to see where your initial thoughts can lead and you must see your coursework writing as a journey, but remember: you can only get somewhere interesting if you allow yourself enough time to meander along to your destination. It is usually what we find out by accident along the way that makes the journey, and the destination, worthwhile!

If you need help with your coursework writing, then see how Critical Essays Limited can help you on our Academic Writing Service and Full Content Editing Service pages.  Alternatively, contact us directly for a confidential chat.

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