Writing skills

Writing skills


StudyWISE contains a wide range of resources on writing, including:

  • steps in the assignment process - analysing your assignment tasks planning, editing and proofreading
  • writing different types of texts, from essays to case studies, critical reviews to literature reviews
  • example assignments - you can view actual student papers which have been awarded a distinction or high distinction in different disciplines. 

New students are automatically enrolled into StudyWISE, and will find it on their iLearn homepage under 'Student Support: Skill Building and Help Resources'.

If you cannot find it, you can self-enrol using your OneID and password.

Individual consultations with a Learning Adviser

A Learning Adviser is available at the library information desk to answer your questions about academic writing and assignments. It’s helpful to bring your assignment questions, unit guides and/or marked assignments with you. 

Info desk hours: Monday–Friday 12pm to 2pm
(Week 3 to Week 13 and during mid-session break)

Alternatively, you can contact a Learning Adviser online using the form here

Support for HDR students 

HDR students will find targeted support at HDR workshops and learning support.

Learning Skills workshops

Learning Skills 60- and 90-minute workshops are free and there's no need to register. All currently enrolled Macquarie students are welcome to attend.

Most workshops will suit coursework students at all levels. However, there are also workshops that offer more in-depth treatment of a topic. These are labelled as advanced in the list below.

To see when the Learning Skills writing skills workshops are running, view the academic language and learning workshops calendar.

Macquarie students can attend workshops on the following assignment writing skills topics.

Analysing assignment questions

Lecturers say that one of the most common reasons that students don’t do well on assignments is that they don’t answer the assignment question correctly or fully. This workshop will help you interpret questions so that you know what is required. This workshop covers how to:

  • Analyse assignment questions
  • Understand different kinds of assignment questions
  • produce appropriate responses to get better marks

Analysing and planning your assignment (advanced)

Do you often find it challenging to make sense of your assignment task? Are you sometimes unsure of what you should cover and how to plan? This workshop will help you with analysing the assignment question fully, and then how to use this analysis to structure and plan your assignment.

Writing critically

From your first week at uni you'll be told how important it is to think critically. How do you demonstrate this in your writing? This workshop will:

  • Show examples of descriptive vs critical writing
  • Provide important tips for writing critically
  • Give you practice at identifying critical analysis in written texts

Getting started with academic writing

If you are new to writing at the university level, this introductory workshop will give you a useful overview of the features and requirements of academic writing. You’ll learn about the different types of academic writing, about academic style, about the structure of academic texts and what it means to write critically.

Writing about data

Often academic writers need to include data – statistics, graphs, tables, or charts – in their assignments. But how do you incorporate data into your writing, and what is the correct way to comment on the data? This workshop will cover the principles of writing about data and show you how to use data effectively to support your argument or descriptions.

Constructing effective paragraphs

Have you ever received the feedback that your ideas are not clear? Express your ideas more effectively with well-organised paragraphs and see your writing become lucid and concise. This practical workshop will cover:

  • Common problems with paragraph writing
  • How to effectively highlight your main ideas
  • How to relate your supporting sentences to your main idea

Writing better introductions and conclusions

Introductions and conclusions make up 20% of an essay, and are crucial to the success of academic writing. This workshop will focus on: 

  • The purpose of the essay's introduction and conclusion
  • The structure of introductions and conclusions
  • creating organised and effective introductions and conclusions

Essay structure

A strong structure provides the framework for writing a good essay. This workshop will cover:

  • Steps in essay writing
  • Basic essay structure
  • How to present your ideas in an organised, logical way

Developing your essay argument

Do you get marker's feedback saying that your essays do not have an argument? We can help you develop strong and cohesive arguments. This workshop will focus on:

  • What is an argument?
  • How do I formulate an argument?
  • What makes an argument strong?

Reflective writing

Reflective writing assignments are being more and more common in university courses, yet many students are unsure of how to handle this relatively new type assignment. In this workshop, we will: 

  • explain what reflective writing is
  • discuss the place of reflective writing in academic study
  • practice skills and techniques to develop your reflective writing.

Writing in business units

Case studies, case analyses and business reports are common genres in business units. These types of assignments can be confusing if you haven't encountered them before.

This workshop covers the purpose of these assignment types and their structure, language and style. Feel free to bring along any assignment instructions in business units for analysis.

Writing workshop (mid-session break; 1.5 hours)

Every assignment can present different challenges in writing. This practical workshop will introduce essays and paragraphs followed by individual writing feedback and advice. This is a hands-on practice workshop, so bring along assignments you are working on and any questions you might have about improving your writing.

Making your argument flow (advanced)

Want to know how to you effectively present and maintain a consistent argument in your writing? This workshop shows you how to:

  • set up and maintain arguments
  • make your text coherent
  • use appropriate language to link ideas
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