Academic writing advisory service (awas)

AWAS is one of the things of which we’re most

proud in the College of Arts and Law. It’s one of the innovations that we’ve made educationally

which have been rolled out right the way across the University. The main difference that I found between A-Levels

and coming into undergraduate study was the type of writing that you had to do. So, with undergraduate study, you are expected

to have formulated a very strong argument, supported with lots of evidence which at A-Level

what you’re expected to do is just understand what you’ve been taught, but at undergraduate

you’re expected to take that even further, understand it and develop your own ideas. And so coming to AWAS, what that helped me

to do was develop my own voice within the historical community. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made

at my university because I was really struggling with putting my ideas forward and putting

sort of, structuring my work and I was very despondent with my results because I thought

like I knew the stuff that I was learning and just couldn’t put it down on paper and

because of that I’ve improved a lot in my writing and my grades have improved and overall

I just got to agree my degree better. And it’s really based around you. One of the

first questions that you’re often asked in a tutorial will be ‘What do you think is good

or bad in your essay?’ So you have to be really, you have to really

know your essay, know your arguments, and it encourages you to think critically about

your own work and make sure that what you’re saying isn’t ambiguous, it’s coherent. One of the methods that I found really helpful

when visiting some of the tutors that they’ve advised is kind of like colour-coding your

work. And using different colours or highlighting them or whatever and you can kind of like

trace your argument throughout your essay and you can see how you’re tracing that. You

can see where it’s underdeveloped or overdeveloped or where it is developing. I found them extremely at offering writing

advice that I could apply to all my essays so there were lots of tips and guidelines

and they were sort of advice that you wouldn’t necessarily get taught in normal lectures

but they’re extremely helpful in structuring essays and bringing those marks up and they’re

definitely worth going to see. Going in and sitting down with them and picking

your essay apart in ways that you never thought you would and analysing ideas you never thought

you had really helps to build yourself as a writer. It helps me think more critically about things

that I do, so often I’d write something and not necessarily look back on it with a critical

eye but now I try and look at it from an outsider’s point of view, much like an AWAS tutor, to

critique myself more, not in a self-deprecating way but in a way that I can improve my work

and my communication either over email, letters and face-to-face. I definitely found that the skills that I’ve

learned from the AWAS tutorials as well as helping in my essays, they’ve also been helpful

for writing CVs and job applications and they’re definitely going to be worth it later on as

well. An opportunity arose to become the publicity

officer for the Academic Writing Advisory Service and that’s been really fantastic to

reference in job interviews because you can reference the skills like the visual communication,

being able to work as part of a team and being able to learn new skills.

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