Should you use Dictionary Definitions in Essays? (Answered)
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
Dictionary definitions are commonly used in university papers. It is also very common for teachers to mark you down for using them! If you’re like me, you use a dictionary website or Wikipedia to find definitions of terms that you don’t understand. It can be very helpful to get your head around an idea. Even if you use a dictionary or Wikipedia to help yourself understand a term, try not to reference these non-academic sources in your paper. Below, I outline three reasons students who get top marks don’t use dictionary definitions in essays, and I weave-in some strategies for providing defini ..read more
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Rhetorical Questions in Essays: 5 Things you should Know
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
Rhetorical questions can be useful in writing. So, why shouldn’t you use rhetorical questions in essays? In this article, I outline 5 key reasons that explain the problem with rhetorical questions in essays. Despite the value of rhetorical questions for engaging audiences, they mean trouble in your university papers. Teachers tend to hate them. There are endless debates among students as to why or why not to use rhetorical questions. But, I’m here to tell you that – despite your (and my) protestations – the jury’s in. Many, many teachers hate rhetorical questions. You’re therefore not doing y ..read more
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How to write an Essay Introduction (5-Step Formula)
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
One of my friends – a high-up professor in an English university – told me he can tell the grade a student will get within the first 90 seconds of reading a paper. This makes the introduction the most important paragraph in your whole paper. The introduction orients your reader to how well you understand academic writing, your skills in critical thinking, your ability to write professionally with minimal errors, and the depth of knowledge you have on the topic. All in one fantastic paragraph! No pressure. No wonder introductions are so difficult to write. If you’re like me, you find that you ..read more
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11 Best ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Studying
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
I struggle to stop procrastinating and start studying. And based on the number of extensions my students ask for, it seems most people find it hard to stay on task! I find Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the outdoors constantly dragging me away from my studies. During my PhD, I had to come up with ways to force myself to stay focused. I needed to learn how to read boring information from journal articles and textbooks on a daily basis without going mad. While there are a lot of articles floating around on the internet about how to stop procrastinating, there aren’t many that use science to ..read more
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15+ Tips on How to take Lecture Notes
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
I think you’ll agree with me that taking lecture notes can be frustrating. Often teachers talk too fast. You end up unable to keep detailed notes. Or, there’s too much information on lecture slides to write it all down. Sometimes you can get home and the notes end up looking illegible when you go back to review them. The best students have some killer strategies to ensure their lecture notes are as useful and effective as possible. One key element of this is making sure your lecture notes are specific, memorable, and relevant to your assignment topic. I can’t tell you how many times students ..read more
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31 Best Assignment Extension Excuses
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
Students need extensions on their assignments all the time. There are good excuses for an extension … and there are not so good excuses. I’m a professor, and I’ve heard them all. So has your professor. Here are the best ones I’ve heard. The Best Assignment Extension Excuses Extension Excuse Explanation Travel. I’ve got a pre-planned vacation that I can’t change. Illness. I’ve come down with a sickness and I’m stuck in bed. No excuse. I don’t have an excuse, I’m sorry – can you cut me a break? Miscommunication. I thought the assignment was due next week. I didn’t realize until thi ..read more
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How to Ask for an Extension on a Paper (15 Strategies!)
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
This is how to ask for an extension on a paper from your professor: Ask for an extension as early as possible Ask in person (if you can) Show how you meet the extension policy Show that you care about your grade on your paper Suggest a solution to the problem Suggest a time frame that you can meet Provide evidence for your hardship Show what you’ve already done Ask during open office hours Make the email professional and respectful Ask for the extension in your second email, not your first Approach student support services Only ask for an extension once Consider asking for extensions on all ..read more
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7 Day Challenge for Your first week at University
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
Your first week at University. It’s more important than you realize. It’s important because you have the opportunity in that first week to put in place the habits that will lead to success or failure in your university experience. Starting strong helps you to feel on top, in control, and ready to succeed in university life. Falling behind makes you feel like you’re always playing catch up. You need to feel in Control. There’s a concept called ‘locus of control’. Your locus of control contains all the elements of your life that you feel in control of. Make sure you feel in control of your univ ..read more
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5+ Critical Thinking Strategies for your Essay
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by Chris Drew (PhD)
3d ago
From your very first assignment at university, you will be assessed on how well you have shown critical thinking. This is particularly important when you’re asked to write a Critical Analysis or Critical Appraisal. The article outlines these 5 critical thinking strategies to use in an essay: Create a Pros and Cons List Create a Venn Diagram Reference People who Disagree with each Other Use Comparative Terms Use Evaluative Terms What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking is something many students struggle with but it shouldn’t be too hard once you learn some strategies for showing critica ..read more
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Descriptive Norms: Definition and 10 Examples
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by Rosa Panades (PhD) and Peer Reviewed by Chris Drew (PhD)
5d ago
In sociology and psychology, descriptive norms can be defined as those rules that people feel they have to follow based on what the typical person might do. Our actions are based on our expectations of other people’s behaviors and actions. The opposite of descriptive norms are injunctive norms. The difference between injunctive and distinctive norms is that descriptive norms refer to what we feel others would do while injunctive norms refer to what we feel we are expected to do. A descriptive norm example would be giving someone a compliment to make them feel better, giving at least an averag ..read more
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