One of the biggest things I have started to understand about academic skills is that they are completely different from skills that were required for essays in school for example. A much higher quality is expected from you and in order to get good grades in University assignments, it is essential to get the basics right. You have to be able to improve certain aspects of academic skills, these are:
Punctuation; spelling and enhancing your vocabulary; punctuation and grammar and shaping your texts: sentences and paragraphs. Each have equal importance and are all vital in making your academic writing as fluent as it can be and to the best quality.
Punctuation can have your reader understand exactly the message you are trying to convey but it can easily mislead them if you use any punctuation incorrectly. Examples of this can be if certain punctuation marks are inserted in the wrong place in sentences, it will completely change the meaning of the sentence and can make it ambiguous.
Spelling is such a simple concept but it is so important. If you completely misspell a word in your assignment then you will be marked down, irrespective of whether your essay was very good. Also, if you spell a word wrong such as ‘ your’ which has a couple of different spellings, it will change the meaning, which could lead to it not making sense anymore.
As you are a University student, you are expected to show the maturity of one. One of the ways to do this is to ensure your vocabulary is ever expanding. Thesauruses are always handy when writing an essay, to make sure it is at the required academic level. Never insert bigger words all the way through the essay just to sound better. It will become obvious that none of the words are your own.
Grammar is essential when you are a student and are writing assignments. McMillan and Weyers (2012) state that “it is an integral and expected component of academic writing” and “without it your writing may be nonsensical, illogical or ambiguous”.
Shaping your paragraphs and sentences together is the basis of writing academically for University. They ensure that your whole essay links together and flows smoothly throughout. This will give your marker an easier job and will allow them to easily understand what message you’re trying to convey through your essay.
Overall, I feel that the academic skills are vitally important in giving you the best chance of success in essays and assignments. Master the basics and you will be well on your way to writing an essay that will achieve a high mark.