Having just completed the first draft of my dissertation, I’m currently reflecting on three years of Law essays at NCH. I’m realising how far I’ve come since my days of writing essays for ‘A’ Level English Lit and Politics – subjects some of you may currently be studying. Inevitably, when you come to university, you’ll start writing pieces longer than you’ve ever written before. My 10,000 word dissertation is the epitome of this. So here’s a few tips for your coursework at school now, which might come in handy during your time at uni too!
1. Planning is key
Knowing what you want to say before you say it is of utmost importance. This is true both for the essays you will write during your ‘A’ Level/IB exams and coursework. Obviously, you will have no idea what you want to say until you do some reading… but read smart: a few books or articles can be more useful to you than saying you’ve read soooooo much but are still no further in your planning. Once you’ve done some reading, start on your introduction and conclusion. They should basically mirror each other. The introduction sets out what you want to say and your conclusion will use the arguments in your essay to explain to your examiner you did what you said you would do in the introduction.
2. Review your work
I’m not fond of doing this myself, but I do see its importance. After writing, take a break and come back to your work with fresh eyes to see grammatical and syntax errors and perhaps a better way of making your point. Try and take advantage of time with your teachers and get them to review your work as well. One thing I did back during my ‘A’ Levels was to not only ask my teacher in that subject but another teacher in the department.
3. Don’t leave it to the last minute
Some people claim to work best under pressure but there is no doubt that allowing yourself the maximum amount of time to plan and write your piece will give you more time to review and re-write afterwards. Try your best to set personal mini-deadlines which will make the final deadline less daunting.
Best of luck with your upcoming writing!