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Transkills: supporting transition to University


The marking criteria used by the English faculty state that students' work should be "presented in a lucid, expressive and correct style of writing appropriate for the academic context". Writing style is perhaps secondary to the content that it expresses, but poor style can reduce the impact or obscure the meaning of your ideas, so it is worth paying attention to.

Everyone has a writing style, of course, but there are various factors which can mean that a particular style does not do justice to the content, resulting in lower marks.

  • Many students may not have been required to produce much formal writing previously, and may not have had much experience or formal teaching in aspects of style or grammar.
  • Academic style, while similar to other formal styles, is specific to the academic context, and differs slightly according to the subject and level of study. It may take some time for students to identify its characteristics and become familiar with it.
  • Issues with time management, leading to essays being produced in a rush at the last minute, can mean that writing is not well considered or edited. You could look at the relevant sections in the resource on Managing the Process of Writing an Essay for more guidance on this issue.

This resource will cover aspects of style such as the conventions of academic writing, and how to write clearly and accurately. Although it will touch on aspects of grammar, it is not intended to be a comprehensive tutorial on this topic. Further reading will be suggested for those who do want to pursue this, however.

Supervisor's view:

"Please, please be clear! Once you've done that, be lively. Enjoy using words, enjoy putting clear sentences together into interesting paragraphs."

How might I use this resource? 

What is academic style?

Portraying yourself as an academic author

Qualities of academic style

Academic style in exam writing

Site map - Academic style