How to Write Essays & Assignments

Prentice Hall
Kathleen McMillan / Jonathan Weyers  
Total pages
June 2011
Related Titles


Fully updated since publication in 2007, and with extended and revised sections in key areas such as plagiarism & Copyright, and Citing & Referencing, How to write Essays & Assignments will allow a student to assess and address their particular weaknesses in planning and writing great academic essays and delivers detailed tips, techniques and strategies to enable them to significantly improve their abilities and performance in time to make a difference.


·         Tips, examples, checklists, ‘Try This’ boxes, 2 colour design.

·         A common sense, no-nonsense approach that gives students immediate access to the information they need. Relevant content with a focus on key issues and instant solutions.

·         Each topic is matched to an issue, event or assignment that the student will want to read up on at a time of need.

·         Each topic will only be a few pages long with practical lists and tips.

·         Updated and revised content throughout.

·         Annotated table of contents to help readers find exactly what they need.

New to this Edition

Fully updated since publication in 2007, and with extended and revised sections in key areas such as plagiarism & Copyright, and Citing & Referencing.

Visit to access a wealth of useful information, tips, templates and interactive activities to support your studies.

Table of Contents


Preface and acknowledgements

How to use this book


1. Why expressing yourself well in writing is important  - how to develop your writing skills

What markers are looking for

2. What markers are looking for in your essays and assignments -how to identify the key elements required to meet markers' expectations

Getting started

3. Tackling writing assignments - How to get started

Researching your topic

4. Effective academic reading - How to read efficiently and with understanding

5. Library and learning resources - How to make the best use of the facilities

6. Note-making from texts - How to create effective notes for later reference

7. Thinking critically - How to develop a logical approach to analysis, synthesis and evaluation

Writing a first draft

8. Academic writing formats - How to organise your writing within a standard framework

9. Planning writing assignments - How to respond to the task

Writing technique

10. Academic writing style - How to adopt appropriate language conventions

11. Shaping your text - how to create effective sentences and paragraphs

12. Improving your grammar - How to avoid some common errors

13. Better punctuation - How to use punctuation marks appropriately

14. Better spelling - How to spell competently

15. Enhancing your vocabulary - How to increase your word power

Editing & Revision

16. Reviewing, editing and proof-reading - how to make sure your writing is concise and correct

Plagiarism and referencing

17. Plagiarism and copyright infringement - how to avoid being accused of ‘stealing’ the ideas & work of others

18. Citing and listing references - how to refer appropriately to the work of others


19. Presentation of assignments - how to follow the appropriate academic conventions

Improving your marks

20. Exploiting feedback - how to understand and learn from what lecturers write on your work

21. Essay writing in exams - how to improve your marks 

References and further reading

Glossary of key terms

Back Cover

How to write Essays & Assignments, second edition

Kathleen McMillan & Jonathan Weyers


Is there a secret to successful study? The answer is no! But there are some essential skills and smart strategies that will help you to improve your results at university.


This easy-to-use guide identifies and addresses the areas where most students need help with planning and writing academic essays and assignments and provides straightforward, practical tips and solutions that will enable you to assess and then improve your performance.


How to Write Essays & Assignmentsprovides all of the tips, tools and techniques that you will need to research, plan and write academic essays and assignments that will get you great marks, including:

  • How to get started
  • How to plan your essay and write to a deadline
  • How to read and take notes effectively
  • How to improve your academic writing style
  • How to shape your essay and avoid common grammatical & structural pitfalls
  • How to cite references and avoid plagiarism
  • How to review, proof-read and present your essay for maximum impact & results

Visit to access a wealth of useful information, tips, templates and interactive activities that will support your skills development.



Kathleen McMillan and Jonathan Weyers work within the University of Dundee’s Learning Centre and Academic Affairs Office respectively and have each been teaching for over 25 years and now specialize in supporting academic skills across both the arts and sciences.

Instructor Resources