Showing posts with label University. Show all posts
Showing posts with label University. Show all posts

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Exam Performance - diagnostic and tips

Have you recently received your exams results?

I have made a short list of some of the best tips that will help you to improve your exam results in the future. How many of these strategies DID you follow (or not) in your recent work?
  1. Employ short blocks of time for work.
  2. Develop a balanced workload between all subjects means variety.
  3. Select days off work for leisure.
  4. Write down a list of reasons to be motivated.
  5. Reward yourself for doing the hours planned.
  6. Starting to revise too late in the process.
  7. Don't just rely on your revision sessions run by your school or college.
  8. Summarize your notes.
  9. Create Mindmaps or other visualizations to aid recall.
  10. Devise your own mnemonics or memory games.
  11. Read and study past exam papers.
  12. Ensure that you know what the examiners are looking for.
  13. Practise timed answers and exercises.
  14. Draft model opening and closing paragraphs for essays.
  15. Learn 50 impressive new words to use in discussions and topics.
  16. Work with your teachers to explain what's not clear.
  17. Collaborate with friends by working in pairs or teams.
  18. Revise throughout the year, not just at the end! 
  19. Reduce stress by planning well-ahead.
  20. Good luck! Stay positive!
Further Information

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(2013) Also available on Kindle, or to download.


He has recently published 11+ English (Primary to Secondary English Skills)
GCSE SOS

More advanced Students: The PhD Roadmap: A Guide to Successful Submission of your Dissertation / Thesis.

Dr Ian McCormick's other recent publications include chapters on Romanticism and Gothic Literature inThe English Literature Companion, edited by Julian Wolfreys  (London and New York: Palgrave Student Companions 2011).

His chapter on 'Teaching and Learning Strategies' was published as an Appendix to The Eighteenth-Century Literature Handbook, edited by Gary Day and Bridget Keegan (London and New York: Continuum, 2009). It is is available for free online (download the pdf) but you will need to complete a very straightforward and short registration.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

List of frequently used academic words







Have you heard of corpus linguistics

Corpus linguistics proposes that reliable language analysis is more feasible with corpora (samples) collected in the field, in their natural contexts, and with minimal experimental-interference.

How did it all start?


A landmark in modern corpus linguistics was Henry Kučera and W. Nelson Francis's Computational Analysis of Present-Day American English (1967).

This work was based on the analysis of the Brown Corpus, a carefully compiled selection of about a million words, drawn from a wide variety of sources in current  American English

How did technology help?

The first computerized corpus of one million words of transcribed spoken language was constructed in 1971 by the Montreal French Project. This effort inspired Shana Poplack's much larger corpus of spoken French in the Ottawa-Hull area

The analysis of academic writing shows that there are many 

frequently used words and phrases:

a form of   

a function of   

a high degree   

a large number   

a large number of   

a list of   

a number of   

a result of   

a series of   

a set of   

a small number   

a variety of   

a wide range   

a wide range of   

according to the   

allows us to   

an attempt to   

an example of   

an increase in the   

and so on   

and the same   

and the second   

appear to be    

appears to be   

are a number of   

are able to   

are as follows   

are based on   

are likely to   

as a consequence   

as a function   

as a function of   

as a result   

as a result of   

as a result of the   

as a whole   

as an example   

as can be seen   

as opposed to   

as part of   

as part of the   

as shown in   

as well as   

associated with the   

assume that the    

assumed to be   

at least in   

at the outset   

at the same    

at the same time   

at the time of   

at this stage 

   


based on a   

based on the   

be achieved by   

be argued that   

be carried out   

be considered as   

be explained by   

be noted that    

be regarded as   

be related to the   

be seen as   

be the case   

be used as a   

be used to   

because it is   

been carried out   

been shown to   

between the two   

both of these   

but this is   

by virtue of   

FREE BOOK AVAILABLE ONLINE: 

Statistics in Linguistics

Christopher Butler

http://www.uwe.ac.uk/hlss/llas/statistics-in-linguistics/bkindex.shtml













can also be   

can be achieved   

can be considered   

can be expressed   

can be found   

can be found in   

can be seen   

can be seen in   

can be used   

can be used to   

can easily be   

carried out by   

carried out in   

could be used   

degree to which   

depend on the   

depending on the   

depends on the   

difference between the   

different from the   

different types of   

does not appear   

due to the   

due to the fact   

due to the fact that   

each of the   

each of these   

even though the   

exactly the same   

example of a   

extent to which   

fact that the   

factors such as   

focus on the   

for example if   

for example in   

for example the   

for the purposes of   

for this purpose   

for this reason   

form of the   

from the point   

from the point of   

from the point of view   

function of the   

give rise to    


An enquiry into the role of satire and sense in academic life today:

The Graves of Academe

Would you recommend this book?



















has also been   

has been used   

have shown that   

have the same   

high levels of   

his or her   

if they are   

if this is   

important role in   

in a number of   

in accordance with   

in accordance with the   

in both cases   

in conjunction with   

in more detail   

in most cases   

in order to   

in other words   

in other words the   

in relation to   

in response to   

in some cases   

in such a   

in such a way   

in such a way that   

in table    

in terms of   

in terms of a   

in terms of the   

in the absence of   

in the case   

in the case of   

in the context   

in the context of   

in the course of   

in the form of   

in the next section   

in the present study   

in the same   

in the sense   

in the sense that   

in this article   

in this case   

in this case the   

in this paper   

in this paper we   

in this way   

insight into the   

is affected by   

is based on   

is based on the   

is consistent with   

is determined by   

is likely to   

is likely to be   

is more likely   

is much more   

is not possible to   

is the case   

it appears that   

it follows that   

it is clear   

it is clear that   

it is difficult   

it is important   

it is important to   

it is impossible   

it is impossible to   

it is interesting   

it is interesting to   

it is likely that   

it is necessary   

it is necessary to   

it is not possible   

it is not possible to   

it is obvious that   

it is possible   

it is possible that   

it is possible to   

it is worth   

it may be   

it should be noted   

large number of   

less likely to   

likely to be   

little or no   

means that the   

more likely to   

most likely to   

nature of the   

need not be   

needs to be    

none of these   

of the fact   

of the same   

of the second   

of the system   

of the two    

of these two   

of view of   

on the basis   

on the basis of   

on the basis of the   

on the other   

on the other hand   

on the other hand the   

on the part of   

other words the   

out that the   

over a period   

over a period of   

part of a   

part of the   

parts of the   

point of view   

point of view of   

referred to as   

related to the   

same way as   

see for example   

should also be   

should be noted   

should not be   

shown in figure   

shown in table   

similar to those   

size of the   

small number of   

so that the   

such a way   

such a way that   

such as the   

such as those   

take into account   

take into account the   

terms of the   

the ability to   

the amount of   

the area of   

the basis of   

the case of   

the change in   

the concept of   

the context of   

the definition of   

the development of   

the difference between   

the difference between the   

the distribution of   

the effect of   

the effects of   

the example of   

the existence of   

the extent to which   

the fact that   

the fact that the    

the first is   

the form of   

the frequency of   

the idea that   

the importance of   

the issue of   

the level of   

the meaning of   

the most important   

the nature of   

the nature of the   

the next section   

the notion of   

the number of   

the order of   

the other hand   

the other hand the   

the part of the   

the point of view   

the point of view of   

the presence of   

the presence of a   

the problem of   

the process of   

the purpose of this   

the question of   

the rate of   

the real world   

the reason for   

the relationship between   

the result of   

the role of   

the same as   

the same time   

the same way as   

the size of   

the size of the   

the structure of   

the study of   

the sum of   

the total number   

the use of   

the validity of the   

the value of   

the way in   

the way in which   

the way that   

the work of   

their ability to   

there are a number   

there are a number of   

there are no   

there are several   

there are three   

this means that   

this paper we   

this type of   

this would be   

to carry out   

to determine whether   

to distinguish between   

to do so   

to ensure that   

to ensure that the   

to show that   

to some extent   

to the fact that   

to use the   

total number of   

two types of   

value of the   

view of the   

was based on   

was carried out   

way in which   

ways in which   

we assume that   

we can see   

we do not   

we have seen   

what are the   

whether or not   

whether or not the   

which can be   

which is not   

which is the   

wide range of   

with regard to   

with respect to   

with respect to the   

with the same    

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Transition from School to University

University - anxiety or liberation ?


Dear Students,

Many of you will find the transition from school to university very difficult. In a previous blog I offered an impressionistic account of some of the main reasons why students don't have a successful first year and provided some practical tips. But what about the initial transition? How will university life be different from being at school and living at home? Below, I offer a five point plan for making a successful transition.

The first point to consider is that the intensive care you have probably experienced at home and at school will not be available with the same frequency at your college. Personal tutors and welfare staff will be available to help, but they won't be monitoring your health and well-being on a daily basis. Support services are widely available in all universities, but you will need to seek them out. If you have lived a sheltered life between your school and your bedroom the personal transition to full independence can come as a big shock.

The second point to consider is that your ability to direct your own studies will be crucial, especially if you are working in the arts or social sciences. Understand that academics typically have a 550 hours annual contract for direct teaching. For you, that works out at about 12-15 hours contact time in seminars, tutorials, and lectures. The rest of the time you'll be on your own, doing your reading, doing your research, drafting and writing your assignments. Don't expect you tutor to stand over you while you spend 40 hours reading George Eliot's Middlemarch or Charles Dickens's David Copperfield.

My third point is that you should take a more active role in seeking academic support if you feel that you need it. Most universities have an academic support department that is designed to help you develop academic-level skills. These support centres should be used to improve your general level of competence. Your academic tutors will provide more focussed and more specialised support. All tutors have open office hours. Use this time to drop in, or book and appointment to discuss the plans you have made for your first assignment. When you have had your work marked and returned seek out your tutor to discuss the feedback. Ensure that you have fully understood what you need to do to improve your grade next time. In my experience as few as 15% of students (usually the brightest and the weakest) make use of this opportunity.

Don't just take the easy option, which is typically to email your lecturer saying, 'I don't know what we're supposed to do for this assignment.' Usually, all the required information will be in the module or course handbook. It's so frustrating that hundreds of hours are spent writing the course materials that students have not bothered to read.

The fourth point is to recognise that the subject you learned at school is going to be different at university. There will be a higher level of theoretical approaches, for example, rather than just explaining why you enjoyed the characters and the story. There will be strong emphasis on research and on critical reading. Remember that your seminars and lectures are just the beginning of your work; they are merely a point of departure for your journey; they are not the be-all and end-all of your academic life. If you find that the course is not what you were expecting it is often possible to switch course or turn your major subject into a minor. However, it is essential to seek help and advice early. You will generally find that the university is more flexible than you imagined if it looks like you might be dropping out. Remember that universities have a vested interest in the improvement of retention rates.

The fifth point is to participate. This means socialising and making friends. This means joining clubs and societies, doing sport, or taking part in charity work.  All of this will build your character, make you more independent and crucially more employable. Academically, participation means interacting with other students in seminars, having prepared professionally for the activities involved.

A final point to consider, as an afterthought, is that university does not suit everyone. Nor does university life  suit everyone at the age of 18. Some of the best students I've ever taught were those who came to university later in life.

I guess some of this blog will sound like a harsh diatribe and rant against the molly-coddled student. I often reminded myself that my life at college was not as difficult as my father's - down the pit (coal mine) at the age of 15. Nor did I suffer the major social and economic disadvantges of the other six billion poor people on this planet.

I have some sympathy for those of you who feel that the £9000 fees are not worth it. Indeed, the fees are not worth it, but YOU are, and it's up to YOU to make the best of the brilliant career opportunity that university affords in the luxury of the first world.



Dr Ian McCormick is the author of  

The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences (Quibble Academic, 2013) 

Also available on Kindle

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

How to ensure that First Year @ University is a success


Logic of Failure - Metaphysics of Success

Many universities are concerned about failure rates. It is not uncommon for 25% of students to fail to complete their first year successfully. 

Academics are mildy irritated that they are constantly under pressure from the management to improve success rates. Rather cruel responses might run like this:

" I'm sorry, it is really beyond my control if you break up with your girlfriend in week 3 and stop attending classes."

[But depression is a REAL problem for some students. Check out this article: Yes, you can crawl out of your first-year depression at university  | Nell Frizzell ]

"Am I responsible if you lose the power of motion because you've been living on nothing but porridge oats for the last term before the exams, having spent your parents' money on beer."

"I can recommend counselling services. Remember ... you are now deemed to be an adult; you will be expected to take responsibility for your life. Time for a reality check?"

"Is it my problem if your only relationship effort went into your Xbox/Nintendo/ipad/SKY-tv ?"

On a more serious note, the most common reasons for dropping out or failing your first year are

- inability to adjust to life away from the safety, ease and security of homelife

- lack of independent revision skills

- acquisition of a drink or drug habit
- homesickness

- a disastrous and traumatic first year relationship

- pregnancy or serious illness

- lack of motivated study, planning and work skills

- failure to adapt to the new level of work expected in academia

- lethargy, indolence, incompetence

- doing a job full time rather than working on your degree

- having made the wrong choice of location, or university

- loneliness, depression, mental breakdown

- starvation or malnutrition; inability to cook

- failure to attend classes and exams

- poverty, poor financial planning and bankruptcy

- family bereavement or other crisis

- not understanding the requirements of the degree syllabus

- over-indulgence in leisure activities, especially solo

Play is a reward - not a replacement - for academic work achieved


Clearly there are both academic and socio-psychological-personal reasons for failure.

Students seldom drop out or fail because they are judged not to be brainy enough! Most hard-working students will have a very successful and enjoyable first year. So keep a sense of balance and maintain a sense of proportion. If you start to feel excessively pressured or anxious seek help early from tutors or from student services.

Generally the bar is set quite low in all but the most elite universities and in all but the most competitive subjects. In fact, you would be surprised how poor some of the academic work is that gains a pass. In my opinion some of it is GCSE standard. Having said that, will you be employable with a third class degree (=40%) ? By taking your first year seriously you establish strong skills that will be a firm foundation for your future progress.


The answer is probably yes if you have excelled in your extra-curricular activities and in your networking. I'm told that sport, volunteering and drama are recommended for character-building, confidence and leadership.

The good news, however, is that the pass rates for second and third year are typically 95%.

But there are also some other issues that require further explanation. 

For instance, across the US, the drop-out rate averages 25%, but you are twice as like to drop out if you are Hispanic, Black, or American Indian, compared to being a White student, research suggests. Why does this happen? 

 

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(2013) and 
11+ English  (2015). Also available on Kindle, or to download.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Tips on Personal Statements for entry to Universities / UCAS

This was my Hall of Residence at University in Scotland


Personal Statements for entry to British Universities
  • Scrap any items that are trivial, too personal, or really not relevant to your university course.
  • Link facts about your experience to the values and skills learned
  • Language should be clear and precise. Avoid rhetorical flourishes and stilted language
  • Check reports, comments and reviews of your work for tangible positive statements.
  • Always ask other professionals to read your draft statement. Thinking critically and creatively about the feedback offered.
  • Don’t let yourself down with grammatical mistakes, awkward style and spelling mistakes. These send alarm bells ringing and indicate that you lack a professional approach.
  • Humour is always a risk and generally to be avoided, unless you are applying for a degree in  Comedy.
  • Remember that any claims that you make will be tested at your interview. Don’t say that you have read Tolstoy’s War and Peace unless you’re prepared to talk about it.
  • Specificity always beats a stream of vague generalisations.
  • Avoid detailed discussions of negatives and weaknesses. On the other hand it can be effective if you explain clearly how you successfully overcame obstacles or challenges during your life.
  • Avoid the personal development clichés and the tired rhetoric of X-factor based on ‘how much do you really want this?”
  • Arrogantly making grand claims about your brilliance tends to irritate admissions’ tutors.
  • Avoid “Great Quotes” from famous people; the originality and wit must be yours.
  • You don’t stand out simply by listing all your work experience, your volunteering since the age of 5, or your travel itineraries. But these should be mentioned if you are able to demonstrated what you have learnt from these activities. This is also an opportunity to demonstrate the qualities of a reflective learner
  • What is your unique selling point? What is special about you? This does not need to be a long list.
  • The first sentence of each paragraph needs to send a strong message.
Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(Quibble Academic, 2013). He served for several years as a University Professor, Senior Lecturer, Widening Participation Officer and Admissions' Tutor.
 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Listening to Leeds and the Poetry of the North


What a delight to be seeing and hearing more from Leeds, UK, where I was fortunate to be born, and to which I returned in 1990-3 to study for my doctorate in English Literature with Prof. David Fairer at the University of Leeds.

The most recent discovery was the John Betjeman film which was never broadcast. I suspect that the BBC did not consider that it could risk a strong regional angle at this time?

It's delightful to hear the Poet Laureate John Betjeman praising 'Nonconformist Leeds, sturdy and prickly'; delighting in the Victorian wonders of the city and bemoaning the monstrosities of modernity, most of which have now been wisely demolished. He appreciation of the city comes across and warm and sincere. He delights in the poverty and community of the back-to-back houses in Armley, and deplores the municipal planning that produced Seacroft town centre.

Whitelocks Bar, Leeds


The BBC has also recently broadcast a radio documentary celebrating Whitelock's Bar and the poetic life of the city and the University. They key role of the arts and music, based around the Leeds Polytechnic, is another topic worthy of further study and research. I guess one day the full story will be told, and Leeds will reclaim its cultural heritage and international presence.

The Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds

The University of Leeds


(c) Dr Ian McCormick

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(Quibble Academic, 2013)