Academic Writing Skills: Reach Your Full Potential

The fact that your classmate can complete their university essays with closed eyes, doesn't mean you have to be able to do that too. Every student comes from different educational systems, teaching methods and schools. Our Advice Centre have put together useful information to help you improve your writing and reach your potential.

If you take a look around your classroom (or Teams call), you can clearly see yourself and your peers doing the same course, consuming the same teaching and learning, and tackling the exact same assessments. But what you can’t see, are the many different routes that each one of you may have taken to lead you to your place in your course.

Our Advice Centre helps hundreds of students with academic issues every year and knows what a difference it makes when the right support is accessed. Our advisors want to encourage you to assess your writing skills now (you know if you find writing tricky) and make the most of the support offered by the uni. Different life journeys leading you to university can also mean a lot of different skill sets which in turn means that when it comes to submitting your first essays or taking your first exams, your approach might be completely different from the person next to you, due to the different teaching methods in their previous school, their different routines, and so many more reasons. This is normal, and it’s okay.

Assessments and exams prior to university may have looked different from what is now expected of you to complete, and this can sometimes be daunting. If you would like to improve your academic writing skills, or if you find the prospect of your upcoming assignments a little intimidating, the university can help you.

The centre for the development of academic skills (CEDAS)

CeDAS offers courses, workshops, information, and resources to help you develop your writing, referencing, general communication skills, maths, stats and numeracy skills. CeDAS aims to enable all taught students at Royal Holloway to achieve their full academic potential.

CeDAS also provides a Proofreading Scheme. This fee-for-service scheme is for postgraduates who want to have the final draft of a dissertation or project proofed before submission. Work is carried out by private arrangement with professional proofreaders listed on the scheme’s register.

The CeDAS team provides a range of group sessions, 1:1 tutorials, drop-ins, and resources tailored to studying in your specific subject area. These activities, delivered both online and face-to-face, address key aspects of academic writing and communication, maths, stats, numeracy, and studying independently. Find out more about the support available.

Contact details

For all general enquiries, please email CeDAS@royalholloway.ac.uk or phone them on +44 (0)1784 443368.

The CeDAS Helpdesk is located in Founder’s West 141, and it opens from Monday to Friday, 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00, except Wednesdays, where it opens from 10:00-12:00 only.

Avoiding plagiarism: An online learning resource

Royal Holloway has invested in the production of a high-quality, multi-media, 'always-available' online learning resource. 

This 60-minute interactive online course is designed to ensure that students across all discipline areas follow best practices in referencing, paraphrasing, and using citations. Many departments will require students to participate in this interactive course as part of their studies, and this participation can be tracked and reported.

Turnitin and how to use it

In addition to the online plagiarism course content, Royal Holloway makes widespread use of Turnitin, the world's leading originality checking and feedback service.

This compares students' essays with a number of web-based resources and provides academic staff with detailed 'originality reports', which highlight and provide links from student assignments to resources with similar content.

Further Support

The Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Our advisors hold drop-ins on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon 13:30-15:30, and in-person every Wednesday 13:30-15:30. You can find more information on our events calendar and can join the virtual drop-ins using this Zoom link

Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with any questions or to ask for a different meeting time.