Academic Style

Self-Assessment Commentary


At the beginning of this course, I completed a needs self-analysis as a developing writer. I was rigorous about syntax and hardly made grammatical errors and I was also skilled at APA style due to the previous experience of writing argumentative essays from the EAP 1 in semester A. But I knew that I was lacking some skills as a learner of English. Firstly, I was not a fast reader and I used to spend a lot of time reading the materials I collected for reference. And also, I was not very good at organizing ideas and sentences logically and expressing them in an academic style. As a result, my goal was to learn to improve my speed of reading and make my essay more well organized and learn more about the academic style of writing essays.

After the UE course, I think 60% of my learning this semester addressed the areas identified in the needs analysis. First and foremost, I think the online modules in the canvas contributed a lot to my improvement this semester. There are 13 modules corresponding to 13 weeks which cover a wide range of contents. I found these materials and practice quizzes were really helpful. For example, in module 4, I learned some tips about how to locate the main idea of a text which helped me to understand an essay more quickly and filter out the useless materials. Another example was the module 8. It was talking about reading and synthesizing information. It told me the difference between skimming and scanning and how to apply these techniques to enable myself to read through materials quickly. Skimming is used to quickly identify the main ideas of a text while reading for the first time. Scanning is used while looking for specific information, like data. After understanding the concepts and practicing the related materials, my reading speed improved to a great extent.

Another important thing I have learned is how to organize my argumentative essay well. When I was processing to write the first draft, I collected a lot of related materials but I found it was really difficult to organize them together logically. Then, I went to ELC to seek for help. I booked the writing studio and it helped a lot. The teacher helped me reorganize my arguments and I learned that I should consider data and citations as means to support my argument instead of just pile them up. I also benefited a lot from peer review. My peer pointed out that when I was talking about other new energy in my counter-argument, I should add more specific data instead of just listing them. Thus, I gathered some information again and put them in that paragraph to make my essay more credible. After submitting the first draft, I got some feedback from my teacher. He said my essay was a little bit unrealistic because it is not possible to ban nuclear power thoroughly. Then I changed my solution from banning it to replace it step by step, making it more feasible and persuasive. I really benefited a lot during the process of writing my own argumentative essay.

As a science engineering student, my goal is to be an academic writer who can deal with a lot of data and use it properly to prove my point of view in my scientific essays. Alongside, I want to be able to express my ideas logically and make my essay persuasive because science is a rigorous subject based on experiments and data if there is no logic, people will get confused about what these researches are aiming for.

To achieve my goal, I mainly focus on the following two aspects, content organization and academic style. I have to say that I am still weak in writing essay in an academic style although I have taken EAP1 and UE. Thus, I will read more academic essays like Nature to learn from other authoritative writers. I will pay attention to how they deal with the various of data, organize their essays and express what they have found clearly. I will also learn how they express their ideas in an academic style like words and phrases. Besides, I will continue to make good use of ELC including the online resources and the writing studio. I think only when I practice more can I gain more knowledge in academic style and have a better understanding towards it. I strongly believe that I can achieve my goal and be a mature academic science writer one day.