Writing Top Mark Essays - 3 Classes in 1 Hour | Shellie Cleaver | Skillshare

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Writing Top Mark Essays - 3 Classes in 1 Hour

teacher avatar Shellie Cleaver, Visual art + academic writing classes

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

26 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Class 1 - Critical Thinking

    • 2. 6 Ways to Critically Analyse

    • 3. Analyse Methodology

    • 4. Analyse Applicability

    • 5. Analyse Exceptions

    • 6. Analyse Cultural Adaptability

    • 7. Analyse Currency

    • 8. Analyse Reliability

    • 9. Flawed Arguments

    • 10. Thanks Thinking Critically

    • 11. Class 2 - Distinction Essays Secrets to Success

    • 12. Reading Extensively

    • 13. Synthesise Concepts

    • 14. Original Thought

    • 15. Error Free Writing

    • 16. Bringing it Together

    • 17. Thanks Distinction Essays

    • 18. Class 3 - Bootcamp Start Your Essay Today

    • 19. Procrastination

    • 20. Analyse the Question

    • 21. Map Out the Essay

    • 22. Write the Introduction

    • 23. Start the Conclusion

    • 24. Body Paragraphs

    • 25. Thanks Start Your Essay Today

    • 26. Academic Teacher Introduction Shellie Cleaver

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About This Class

Join teacher, Shellie, for this 40 minute collection of her intermediate essay writing classes to improve your marks at university.

Shellie is completing her second masters qualification and will soon be a qualified librarian.

She shares her knowledge to help you achieve better university grades.

This class package covers:

- Critical Thinking

- Distinction Essays

- Essay Writing Bootcamp

Meet Your Teacher

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Shellie Cleaver

Visual art + academic writing classes


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1. Class 1 - Critical Thinking: critical thinking is a skill central to academic success. It is something that your markers are looking for when they assess your essays, and it is a skill that it is essential to learn if you're going to do well. But it doesn't necessarily come easy to people. And so today we're going to look at what critical analysis and critical thinking is and different ways of integrating that into your essay writing. So there are six different approaches that you can take. Teoh critical thinking the first is to agree with the point of view and to support that with evidence. The second is to reject a point of view and support that with evidence. The third is to agree with some aspects and to discuss the points that need either further research. All the aspects that you are not convinced by the fourth is to discuss two opposing views and to talk about what is different between them. The fifth is to use two views to create a new view, so discussing the two different views and pulling parts from them to build a new perspective and the third is to connect different ideas to actually build a new perspective 2. 6 Ways to Critically Analyse: There are six aspects of a theory or an idea that you can critically analyze and being aware of this will help you in building them into your essay. So the first is methodology. The second is applicable ity. The third is except exceptions to the rule. The fourth is cultural adaptability. The fifth is currency and validity and the sixth is relevance. We're going to explore each of these in detail now. 3. Analyse Methodology: methodology is the very work supporting research in academic circles, so it involves the way that research is conducted. The research methods used the's all of the critical specific circumstances that informed that research and either make a credible or not credible and analyzing methodology is one way Teoh include critical analysis into essays. It shows your marker that you are thinking about the, um, how the information that you're reading has been generated. You're not taking for granted as being sound. You're actually looking at the methodology, thinking about it and making a decision for yourself as to whether it mates, um, academic standards and whether it's convincing as a piece of article sorry, a piece of evidence to support an I. D or a point of view when analysing methodology. There are some questions you that you may consider to pump your thinking. What is how were the conclusions reached? So you're reading through ah, research paper and your taking note off all of the introduction and the methodology, the research, all of the discussion, and then the conclusion and you're seeing whether they all correlate. Whether it makes sense to you, you may consider, are the ideas based on data. And is that darter reliable? So you're looking at where they drew their daughter from, and whether you believe it is academically sound, you can look at their methods and their samples. Um, have they used, proved and accepted methodology in researching in taking their samples for their research? How how has their approach to these aspects impacted the results and therefore, how credible you consider it to bay? And then you can also investigate whether there are ideas that have been tested by others with similar methodology, and does this help to affirm the results from the study you're looking at? 4. Analyse Applicability: in critical thinking when looking at applique ability of a theory or an idea you're looking at, how useful it is and you're looking at. Add its application across various industries. Perhaps, you know, you're looking at how many circumstances under which this theory can be used, and this helps to give you a point of discussion about the theory questions that may prompt you when considering the applicability off. A theory or idea is how can this point of view or theory be used, has it being used by others and explore that use and use it as a base for the discussion. You can also do some research to determine whether there in our any arguments against this point of view or this theory, and that will give you some insight into how the industry has viewed it and whether they accept it or whether there's some problems with it. This is all very good information for you to integrate into your essay to demonstrate critical thinking and analysis. 5. Analyse Exceptions: you're looking to critically analyze a theory or an idea. One way to approach it is to consider other any exceptions to this. So the theory may state that this isn't applicable in this certain context, and exploring this gives you a chance to analyze it and be critical about its validity and its use and to explore it. From that point of view. Some questions that may help to prompt you in this aspect of critical analysis is, does this theory have any exceptions to the rule? And if so, why in which context are these exceptions and why? And what changes to the theory would allow it to be adaptable to these contexts? This really is an opportunity for you to still deep into the theory or the point of view, and to really pull it apart and understand it at a base level. And by doing this sort of critical analysis, you're showing a depth of knowledge which your market will reward 6. Analyse Cultural Adaptability: another angle to approach critical analysis of a viewpoint or a theory is to examine how culturally applicable it is. So perhaps it's tied to a specific society or a specific nature of specific industry and to investigate this will reveal things about the theory and whether it is applicable broadly across different cultures or whether it really only has used in a very specific context. Here's some questions to prompt you. Does the theory work when applied to other cultures or societies? Does the theory only work in a specific context? And if so, why is the culture so central to the theory? Actually working? By examining these questions, you might gain new insight into the theory and be able to present original thinking on the topic you're writing about. 7. Analyse Currency: the time frame in which UM on article or resource is created does bear influence on its usefulness to a researcher. So this is an important consideration. Few. If you're examining a theory or a viewpoint, you need to look at the context off when it was created. And this will give you information about the influences that may have affected that, um, creation off the viewpoint or theory, and it will give you the bearings that you need to critically analyze it. From today's perspective, is the theory embedded in a specific time frame and if so, why does this theory have any relevance now? And has it been updated since its first publication? By investigating these questions, you will gain a better understanding off its relevance to today and the context within which it was created. And you can use this to be critical in your analysis of the theory and in its relationship to the issues that you are exploring 8. Analyse Reliability: consideration off the relevance of a theory or a point of view is essential in critical thinking. By assessing its relevance, you are questioning and investigating whether the theory or point of view is worth pursuing , whether it is off interest to your topic area and whether it is actually in line with what it is you are writing about. There's no point, including analysis off a theory which is not relevant to what you are studying. So if, for example, you've been told to examine a particular theory, it's likely that it is relevant. But keep in mind that it may not be, and that may be a point of critical analysis and discussion in your essay to prove why this is no longer relevant. Sometimes relevance also relates to changes cultural and societal changes. So what was relevant in the 19 twenties is likely to not be relevant today because our thinking has changed. Our values have changed. Technology work. Everything around us has changed. So relevance is a Kate issue to investigate for critical analysis. Does the theory make sense to you? If not, counter arguments may change your mind, so this means keep an open mind until you have investigated and researched. Does the theory have relevance to you and your experiences, and how does the theory relate to your topic? 9. Flawed Arguments: It's really easy, generally in life, to accept what an expert say says is correct. But your job as a student who is doing some research and writing an essay is to be critical in your thinking. This means that simply being an expert is not proof enough for you, and what you need to do is actually read the theory and look for flaws in the argument. Because if you can identify a floor in an argument and actually back it up with evidence, this is high end critical thinking and is what the top students do. So this will be an interesting approach to critical analysis and thinking for your essays. Therefore, common argument floors To look out for the first is incorrect assumptions about a connection between two things that have found together. So someone has done some research, and they have found A and B together. They may make assumptions that they're actually related in that there's a connection, and this is not always the case, so keep an eye out for that. The second is false correlations where a reliable relationship between two things is incorrectly presumed. These sort of connections must be proven. The third is to look for gaps in arguments on gaps where they ought to be supporting evidence and to consider whether all relevant aspects have been considered. Can you think of some other aspect of the topic that they have failed to address, and finally, false analogies where things are compared that are not similar enough to bake compared, This is a gap and a floor in an argument that you can address when you're critically analysing a theory or a point of view. 10. Thanks Thinking Critically: thanks for joining me on this class on critical thinking. I hope it's really helped you gain insight into how to integrate critical thinking into your essay writing. If you've enjoyed this class or found it useful, please like it or leave a review. And I look forward to seeing you in the next class all the best. 11. Class 2 - Distinction Essays Secrets to Success: Welcome to distinction Essays, Secrets to Success. My name is Shelly and I will be your teacher for this class. I'm a librarian and I've studied a masters and I'm completing my second master's in library in ship And I've written many, many essays. I've also been editing university student essays for over two years now, So I have a really good idea of what an essay should involve and what helps to lift people's marks upto a higher mark than they used to. And I'm looking forward to sharing some of my knowledge to help you improve your essays, and this is a really interesting topic to look into. What is it that makes a distinction s a different to the lower grades. What is the market looking for? What is expected of you. It's not simply a reasonable attempt at the assignment. They're actually expecting ah lot Mawr. So the four K points we're going to explore our extensive rating synthesizing concepts, original thought and error free rushing. So let's get stuck in 12. Reading Extensively: So the first thing you need to show in your essay if you're going to achieve a distinction or higher is that you've read extensively. This means reading beyond the materials presented in the course, this mains reading more than a handful of other you know, sources, journal, articles, books. This means actually following a trail. So you're reading an article, and maybe there'll be something in that article that sparks interest in another. And then you go and explore that one. What you're demonstrating when you've read extensively is your showing a proactive and independent approach to your learning. You've not simply done what you've been told to do. You've taken an independent interest in it and you've pursued that yourself. And you really seeking, um, you as a person, assuring that you really want to understand. And through all of this rating, you understand complex concepts. You are able to take the ideas more broadly. So, um, concepts may overlap with different theories may overlap with other industries. There may be connections that aren't immediately obvious, and by extensive reading you actually are able to present an educated opinion. It's more than simply fulfilling the requirements you've shined that you've actually become , um, on independent learner who has an academic interest in the content and has taken their learning very seriously into a really, really high level, so extensive rating is essential, and it gives you the capacity to fulfill the next three steps. 13. Synthesise Concepts: the second K Fate you're a Marker is looking for in an essay that it changed the distinction or higher is the ability to synthesize concepts. So this means that you, firstly, can understand key concepts involved in the essay topic. But it also means that you've been able to take these in, understand them and think about them in complex ways. So this means that you have been able to consider the pros and cons of something you've been able to consider, um, the complexities or how they relate to different concepts. So it's you've been able to show that you have taken a diverse and broad understanding off relevant material, and you've been able to reason and critically analyze the different aspects and bring it all together, synthesize it in your essay by presenting your ideas with clarity and with dynamic, um, dynamic points. You're not simply stating a B and C being able to talk about the interconnections, how they influence each other. The relevance 14. Original Thought: So now you've read extensively. You've been up to synthesize concepts, and the third step or the third key criteria a marker is looking for in your essay is evidence of original thought. So your essay is not simply filled with references and repeating other people's ideas. What you've been able to do three order diverse reading and your understanding of the concepts is to form your own thoughts and to actually present sophisticated concepts and logical thought patterns that are supported body by references. But that indicates higher level of thinking, higher level of analysis, higher level of critical fault. So when you're working on your essays, you're really aiming to show the marker that you've stepped up above. The average student who simply fulfills the essay question presents ideas and support, some with references that you've actually done this but taking it up a notch, so an example could be that you've observed a certain pattern Ah, within this industry. But true your wide reading, you've actually, um, you've noticed that this similar pattern occurs in this other industry, and then you may talk about the similarities or differences or what this mains the opportunities this presents 15. Error Free Writing: and finally, for an essay to achieve a distinction or a high distinction, your markers insist that it must be error free. This means that you have gone over and over and over your draft essay looking for the tiniest spelling errors. Punctuation errors, referencing errors, sentences that are finished sentences that a clunky you need USA to read smoothly and efficiently, and it needs to be 100% error free. Now. This is not easy to achieve some strategies that you can use to edit it through four times through the word processor, but then to print it out and to actually edit it on paper, because the change in format and media actually changes how you perceive what you've written and helps for some of the areas to stand out. But the editing process will be significant, and it is difficult at the end of writing an essay to find the willingness to keep working on it and to keep refining and perfecting it. But this is what distinction and high distinction level students do. They want their work to be perfect, and they work and they work and they work. So for as many times as you can manage it, Edit your work and B is convinced us possible that there is not one error left in your essay and this will see your marks improve significantly. 16. Bringing it Together: bringing it together. So we've examined four of the key things that your marker looks for to determine if your essay deserves the distinction or higher. Now that you've understood these four concepts, it's a matter of you changing your perception from simply I've got another set of right and what a drag. And, you know, I'll just get it done to realizing that actually, what you're to your lecture wants from you. They want to see that you have taken your learning to another level that you've used your subject and the materials provided as a launchpad, a starting point, a place to begin your own independent exploration off the subject. They're looking to say that you've actually taken an interest in learning that goes beyond the scope of the subject and through during. So you've actually established new knowledge, new connections, new understandings of concepts and ideas that have led to much more sophisticated conclusions. And that is really allowed you to present an essay that is filled with dynamic concepts, dynamic ideas with lots of cross references that go beyond the scope of the subject that you've been taught. That's your mission for your next essay. Good luck, and I really look forward to hearing if this has helped you and how you go the on excess a happy riding. 17. Thanks Distinction Essays: Thank you for joining me on this class. I hope it has provided some insight into the four key things that your markers are looking for. To allocate a distinction or higher USA, let me know how you go with your essays. If this class was useful for you, please, like us. Please leave a review. And I look forward to seeing you in our next class. Good luck with your writing. 18. Class 3 - Bootcamp Start Your Essay Today: Hello. Welcome to boot camp. Start your essay today. I'm your teacher, Shelley. I have years of experience editing, university student essays, and I've been a student myself for quite some time. I'm now completing my second masters degree. I understand how hard it can be to get started on assignments. You received the assignment information and you think I'll try and get started early and it gets put off and put off and put off. So this class is designed to force you to sit down and read through the question, map out your essay and really make a start so that you can get this done and get on with the rest of your life. So let's get started. 19. Procrastination: procrastination. We've all been there. We all know what it feels like. And to be honest, it's not much fun. We might be putting off what we ought to be doing. And although we might be doing what we prefer to do, it feels uncomfortable because we have this essay hanging over our head that we ought to be working on. So this class is encouraging you to sit down and just put an hour of your time into address the essay, Get it started. Map out a structure, right? The conclusion right? The introduction. Map out the body and just start, and you'll find that once you start writing, you will then be able to read. Visit what you've done and add bits and pieces each day, and before you know it, TSA will be written. Some people procrastinate by doing anything but the essay. They might clean the house. They might suddenly have an urge to clean out their closets, etcetera, etcetera. Others progress in it by researching endlessly reading deeply into the subject of becoming completely distracted, with with extra research that is not essential to the writing of the essay. So the research is good. Now is the time to stop reading, stop researching and actually start to write 20. Analyse the Question: way. First thing you need to do is analyze the question, sit in a nice, quiet place, read the essay question on all of the instructions and take your time. You really want Teoh highlight or underline the key aspects of what the essay question is asking you to do because you don't want to miss anything. You want to ensure that you have fully and completely addressed the essay question. So use this time to really let the essay question sink into your mind. Really? Take it on board and then we'll be ready to start mapping out the structure of the essay. 21. Map Out the Essay: Once you have fully understood your essay question, the next most important thing to do is map out the structure of your essay. So this means you can dissect the question into sections that are going to be featured in the essay, and this is worth spending a little bit of time on your going to not only break the essay down into sections, you're going to also look at the word count and allocate on appropriate proportion of word counts. Each part as well. This will really help you, right? Because you have a goal. You have a limit. You know what you're aiming for. So this structure could be applied to almost every essay. You may need to add extra body paragraphs if it's a really long essay. Say it was 5000 words. You may have four paragraphs in your essay. You may have five, But for most essays, um, you're looking at 2000 words and three paragraphs tends to be an appropriate number of main points to cover in that in that amount of woods, this diagram shows you a really easy formula to apply to any essay that you need to write roughly your introduction should be 10% of your word count. So in our example here, a 2000 word essay you're aiming for roughly 200 words in the introduction. The same applies to the conclusion. And then the remaining words in this case, 1600 words is then divided into three. And each body paragraph will be roughly 535 words. Now, what this does is it gives you a name. It gives you, um, a smallest section to focus on writing. So instead of being overwhelmed by the entire essay, you can simply address one section regarding the body paragraphs. Each of these will focus on one clear 10.1 clear aspect that the essay question has asked you to address, often as a questions do have several sections to them, and you need to be able to identify these and put them into TheStreet chur under paragraph 12 and three. Now each of these paragraphs will have there are in structure within them. So for each body paragraph, it needs to have an introduction. It needs to have a body, and it needs to be concluded and then a sentence to lead it onto the second body paragraph . So why don't you pause the video here and take the time to map out your essay? And when you're ready, all join you for the next step. 22. Write the Introduction: you've done so well. Now you've read your essay question. You understand what it's asking of you. You've sat down and had taken the time to map out the essay structure. This is going to guide you now as you begin to write your essay. So let's start with the first part. Let's try and right the introduction. So the first sentence of your introduction needs to be a very general introductory statements that gives the viewer some grounding about what it is you're talking about. So let's say that your essay topic is about the rising cost of food. For example, your first sentence for your essay would need to be a statement about the role of food in in society or the importance of food or something that generally introduces the subject area. Then you're going to move on to a second sentence, which narrows it down. So you may then make a statement that talks about the cost of food production and the impact that has on on prices. And then you're going to drill down further and really talk about why this is important. Why this is a topic worth discussing, and then, at the end, of your introduction, you're going to tell the reader what to expect in the rest of the essay, so you'll say something like, Firstly, um, the cost of production of food will be examined in data. Secondly, how the cost of production of food impacts supermarket prices will be considered. And finally, how food costs affect society will be outlined. Now, this isn't a perfect example. What I'm trying to demonstrate is that the clarity the in aid for the three main points, these three things you're mentioning in the introduction are going to be the focus off the three paragraphs in your essay. So take your time and make sure that these three main focus points address all aspects off your essay question. 23. Start the Conclusion: Isn't it great to have started writing to have actually written your introduction? Now it will need refining and editing, but this is just the draft stage so well done on getting something written. So because of conclusion mirrors much of the introduction. That's the piece we're going to right next. So sometimes I like to copy my introduction and paste it into the conclusion, but only as a reference point. He never actually used that directly. You must rewrite it and use different words, but you're looking to touch on those same key points. So your first sentence would be a general statement about what the essay has covered, and then you will actually run through the three key paragraphs that you discussed. And maybe you would highlight a couple of key points that were argued, and then you're going to do what a conclusion is really made for, and you're going to sum up the entire essay and make some concluding statements. You want to end with a strong statement where you're making your position clear and your demonstrating to your marker that you really have answered this question very thoroughly. 24. Body Paragraphs: so USA is really taking shape. You've got a structure. You've mapped out the introduction. You've written part of the conclusion. Now you've got to tackle your three paragraphs, and I recommend just doing them one at a time. Don't get overwhelmed. Just focus on that one aspect of the essay question that you're going to address now. This is where your research comes into play. This is where your critical thinking and writing are really starts to matter. But for the draft aspect, you're just trying to get the words on the page and you can refine them later. So you want to follow the same formula. You need an introduction to this body paragraph. You need to tell the reader generally situate them in in the topic so they know what you're talking about. And then you want to tell them what you're going to be addressing specifically in the body off this paragraph, and then you go through and you write the actual part of the paragraph that gives the specific analytical academic, um, explanation, and then you conclude your statements in that paragraph, and then I like to include one sentence that links that topic off that paragraph to the next paragraph topic. It's like a leading sentence, and that gives your s a really fantastic sense of flow and makes the reader feel really secure because they know where they're going. They understand your train of thought. Your writing is clear. You're not jumping from one thing to the next without stating how they relate, so clarity and structure essential to a really good essay. So if you can apply this basic formula of introduction and body and conclusion to each of the three paragraphs in your essay, you will be a long way toward a really well written piece of work. Now, once you've written the draft, you then want to revisit it and edit it. I do this numerous times. I might do it on the computer, initially several times over and over again, reading through it, correcting things, improving things, doing what I can. But when I reached a point where I've really done what I can, I like to print it out and edit it on paper because it's really strange. Printing it out on paper changes, how it reads. It changes how you see it, and it will highlight a hollowed of areas and things you could improve, and every single little improvement you make can lead to much better marks for you. So it really is worth putting in the time to edit your draft numerous times and perfected as much as you can. 25. Thanks Start Your Essay Today: thanks for joining me on this boot camp for essay writing. I really hope it's helped you to stop procrastinating and to sit down and get that essay written. You've got much more interesting things to do with your life than spend it procrastinating over essays. So let's bang out this essay, get great marks and get on with their life. If you have any questions, feel free to post in the discussion form for this class. And if the classes of use plays like it and leave a review, thanks again. Bye. 26. Academic Teacher Introduction Shellie Cleaver: academia is an entire world on its own. And unless you've come from an academic family, you're likely not to have any idea even exists. Before 2013 I had no idea what academia waas. I studied a finance degree. I was working Rito and I was ready to do something more skilled and more meaningful. So I undertook a masters at Melbourne University, and this two year degree was very, very academic, So I had to learn how to write excites from scratch. I'll never forget the experience of trying to write my first master's s A. I had five different guides in front of me, and I was literally pouring through them, trying to understand. What should a body Vanessa be? How do you conclude the essay? I had no idea, and I achieved a credit or possibly my first say, and from then my lob steadily improved. I'm now completing my second masters degree, where he academic library and I'm going to be a librarian. So I wanted to share my knowledge off academia and essay writing with you guys just to help make your journey