1 - Work on your writing

  • Leave time to revise and redraft.

2 - The basics

  • Paragraphs should have one clear topic and stick with it.
  • Consider the visual effect of your writing – are the paragraphs clear?
  • Avoid overlong sentences.

3 - Integrate your research – make sure it

  • Supports your point.
  • Flows in your writing.
  • Uses paraphrase as well as quotation.
  • Is referenced correctly.

4 - Expand your vocabulary

  • Make a note of new or specialist vocabulary when you are reading.
  • Consider the audience for your writing and adjust the vocabulary.

5 - For more advice on writing styles and language see

6 - If English is not your first language


7 - If you are, or think you might be, dyslexic visit

The Compass in person or Online.

Language - Vocabulary

  • Academic Phrases

    Useful phrases for various functions in an academic text (e.g. describing methods, classifying, comparing, comparing and contrasting).

  • Academic Vocabulary in Use

    This book includes 50 easy to use, two page units which give clear explanations of formal academic vocabulary with practice exercises.

  • Advanced Vocabulary

    Useful book with exercises covering a wide range of topics from Academic writing to art, politics and the environment.

  • Commonly confused words.

    Unsure about the difference between 'made of' and 'made from' or 'advice' and 'advise'? This site gives explanations with practice activities.

  • Exercises on the Academic Word List

    The words selected for the AWL are words that occur frequently in academic texts in a range of subjects from Art and Design to Engineering. This website will be useful for students no matter what their field of study and includes practice exercises.

  • Word combinations

    The book presents and practises hundreds of collocations (word combinations) in typical contexts to improve written and spoken English. It also includes tips on learning strategies and ways to avoid common errors.