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'How do I improve my marks?'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I’m in my first year and set to pass and move up to second, but I’m terrified that I won’t cope with the tougher essay marking.

“I failed my first essay and scraped by in my second attempt with 40%. I’ve not failed any since but my highest mark has been 45%.

“I was used to getting nothing under a B at A-level!

“I know 45% is still a pass but with tougher marking criteria in second year I don’t see how I’m going to keep passing.

“Does anyone have any advice on improving essay writing? Or any tips that have helped you master writing assignments?”

-       Anonymous

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Here are a few tips I hope you find useful. I received a First in my undergrad degree and am now studying postgraduate Mental Health Nursing.

    - Write a comprehensive essay plan before attempting to write the essay. Set out each paragraph with what you want to say. If you make a point, make sure you back it up with evidence i.e. a piece of policy or research.
    - It always looks better to paraphrase rather than putting quotes in your essay. This shows that you've understood what you've read and put it into your own words - but still remember to reference what you've paraphrased.
    - Make sure the essay has a logical flow, and SIGNPOST! Try and read your essay as if you are reading it as a third person - things that are clear to you may not be clear to a tutor. Make sure everything is clearly signposted i.e. "Within this essay I will answer the question using evidence from clinical practice I observed on placement, as well as drawing on policy and research documentaion to support this." Something like that!
    - Send drafts to your tutor to receive feedback. This will help steer you in the right direction.
    - Your conclusion shouldn't be a summary of everything you have written previously, it should answer the question you've been given. Also use it to state your own recmmendations and what you would do in the future.
    - With reflective essays, KCL have a wonderful reflective essay plan online just google "KCL nursing reflective essay".

    Hope this helps!

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  • Oh god, you sound a bit like me. I did my access, had top marks in everything and then got 55% on my first essay. I am so disheartened, to the point where I feel I can't even write my next one because I feel so rubbish about it (which obviously won't get me anywhere). I will be using the tips above, I've bought lots of books about critical thinking skills and writing for university, so that may be an option for you. Hopefully this will help. Good luck to you x

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