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Transkills: supporting transition to University


You will spend a lot of your time at Cambridge writing essays, but surprisingly few students can define what an essay is, or have thought about why they are asked to write so many of them. A 'supervision essay' is likely to differ from the kinds of essays you submitted in school or college.

At Cambridge there is no single 'correct' way to write a successful supervision essay; expectations will differ between disciplines and between supervisors. You may have previously been used to writing your essays after you have been taught a particular topic and you will probably have had the opportunity to polish and redraft. At Cambridge, a supervision essay is often far more exploratory and is intended to become the focus of subsequent supervision discussion rather than a response to taught sessions. It may feel more like a first draft than the kind of perfect, polished essay you normally submit. Ask your supervisors if you are unsure of their expectations.

Draft out one or two definitions of 'an essay' before comparing your answer below. Keep in mind that expectations will differ between for example, literature, history and linguistics.


Now click here to access a comparison answer.