By the time we reach university a surprising number of us are convinced that we should know all we need to know about researching and writing essays. We’re inclined to argue that if we’ve got this far we should know how to analyse the implications of questions, read efficiently, take notes, plan and structure arguments, use evidence, and write light and interesting prose. Indeed these skills are the very thing that has got us this far in the first place, so to admit that we could be better at essay writing seems to be an admission that we’re lucky to have got this far
Learning the skills
In this book you will learn not just the study skills, but the thinking skills too. What’s more, you won’t do this alone. At every step of the ix way a tutor will be by your side, showing you clear and simple ways of overcoming the most difficult problems. And you choose the essay you want to work on, drawn from the courses you’re taking at your school, college or university
The book is a comprehensive essay writing guide
After you’ve read the book and completed the course you’re left with an invaluable guide that you can use to diagnose and deal with any problem you might have in your writing in the future. As it’s broken up into stages it’s easy to identify where the problem is and what you need to do to tackle it. To help you in this, the index can be used to diagnose a problem you might be experiencing, so that you can easily locate the relevant section of the guide.
It forces you to organise your thinking and develop your ideas on the issues
In one sense writing is the crucial step in the process of learning a subject, in that it helps you to get to grips with the new ideas. Without this it’s difficult, if not impossible, to know clearly just how well you’ve understood the subject.
In the same way, it also provides you with the opportunity to get feedback from your tutor, not just on how well you’ve understood the subject, but on how well you’ve communicated this, and where your strengths and weaknesses are, so you can concentrate your energies more effectively
If you’ve planned the essay well, so that it’s got a clear structure, you’ll find, when it comes to preparing for the final exam, that the plan itself is just about the most important revision material you have. It shows you how you’ve come to understand the topic, and how you’ve organised the ideas.
As such, it is the one thing that 1 you will be able to recall and use most effectively under timed conditions. In fact many students who plan well use just these clearly organised thought patterns as their only revision material.