Studying English at Uni? Grab these hot writing tips from a graduate!

by Yasmin Mattocks

Anyone out there lucky enough to be starting university life as an English undergraduate?

As a recent English literature graduate, I am now looking back fondly on my 3 years, realising that there were some very important things that had I known, would have helped me from the start.

writing tips for English undergraduates

Getting behind on your reading is not a position you want to be in.

It is likely that you’re a competent writer if you’re going on to study English at university, but the leap from A-level to university can be daunting. Firstly, getting out of the Point, Context, Quotation, Analysis mindset can be a struggle, and then where are you supposed to go from there?

Worry no more: I’m here to pass on some top tips for studying English at university.

Get the most out of your feedback

Once you have submitted your first assignment or piece of work, it is important to utilise the feedback your professor will have given you.

Do not make the fatal mistake of having a quick glance at it and telling yourself you’ll remember it next time. Take their advice on board and go to them to ask how you can improve.

It is challenging to progress your writing from A-level to university standard if you don’t know how or what to change, and as everyone knows with English there is often no right or wrong answer which sometimes makes it harder.

In the moment, it might feel like an unnecessary effort; after all university life is all about having fun, but if you continue using your professor’s expertise to develop your style of writing, you’ll find it significantly easier to improve your marks.

Keep on top of your reading

This one may sound like a given, but it really is essential. Balancing your university life around your work can take some getting used to, but getting behind on your reading is not a position you want to be in.

Dedicate just a few hours a day to keeping on top of your reading lists, and it means you will be able to get the most out of your seminars and lectures.

Familiarise yourself with your university’s referencing system

for you to achieve your best possible marks, you need to get to grips with the referencing system. This will vary from uni to uni, so it is essential that you are clear on which referencing system they use and how to use it.

At the end of the day, it will all make a difference to your marks, so it is definitely something worth familiarising yourself with.

Talking of referencing, as a writer it is essential to practice academic integrity. In other words, get used to using and interpreting other works without plagiarising them.

Quotations, quotations, quotations…

You will reference more quotations throughout your degree than I care to count. It is important that you understand how to reference a text or prose using the correct italicised text or single quotation marks, and also when to indent when using longer quotations- your professor (or Google) will be able to help you with this.

Again, they are easy presentation marks that can be thrown away if you aren’t careful.

Triple check your work

After you’ve been slogging away at an assignment through the day or, let’s be real here, probably at night, it is tempting to just go ahead and submit it just to get it out the way. Do not do it! Check it, double check it and then triple check it.

It is always helpful to get one or even several of your friends to read it through for you. The best thing to do if you have time is to leave it for a day or so and then come back to it and read it with fresh eyes. An English degree student should not be getting picked up for grammar or spelling mistakes: don’t throw your marks down the drain!

Use all means and facilities available to you!

One of the biggest mistakes students make is not using the wide range of facilities available to help them with their work. Personal tutors and professors will all be able to help you with any query you may have. Societies related to your degree will also contain many students keen to help each other with similar issues, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

article about graduates finding jobs

Yasmin Mattocks

Yasmin Mattocks is an English graduate and animal lover. She is interested in pursuing a marketing career, and is passionate about writing.

Currently she is working in an internship with a marketing company while she pursues her search for a permanent career.

This is the second article in Yasmin’s series on HTWB – we’re so lucky to have such good advice straight ‘from the coalface’ for our student readers!

If you fancy writing a nonfiction book but need some affordable help to do it easily, check out How To Write A Brilliant Nonfiction Book – to help you communicate your message, expertise and skills to the world at large.

how to write a brilliant nonfiction bookGet your copy here:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Amazon Canada

… all other Amazons too.

Print and Kindle.

(And thank you in anticipation of your purchase!)