Summer reading (and writing and synthesising)

From June onwards each year the University welcomes pre-sessional summer students taking courses to improve their English before the autumn semester begins. The ILRB offers many resources that could be of help to these groups as they adjust to university life in Wales.

For example, take a look at the 10-question Academic style quiz, which calls for close, careful reading of sample passages of writing, with thorough explanatory feedback provided for each response. The quiz helps students recognise and understand some of the key elements required to produce concise academic writing which conveys an appropriate formality of tone and style. Use it as an ‘appetiser’ for an advanced class, as a pre-test of their competence levels, or set it at the end of a course of teaching which has been pitched at a more modest level.

Students unfamiliar with UK approaches to assessment sometimes struggle with concepts like synthesising secondary sources they have read. The two Understanding synthesis quizzes, tailored for biosciences and social sciences, plus a Synthesis activity may help here.

You can also direct students to the online tutorial on Academic writing style. This is aimed mainly at taught postgraduate students, to be followed at their own pace, and gives guidance on structuring work, writing in an appropriate style and also on revising drafts and proofreading before final submission of an assessment. This tutorial is the penultimate of the Writing at postgraduate level suite, which also includes tutorials on Understanding your assessment task, Finding appropriate sources, Evaluating information, Developing critical arguments and Plagiarism, citing & referencing.

Further guidance is available on Grammar, Vocabulary and Academic Writing via online tutorials available from the English Language Support page on the intranet.