The Cambridge system of supervisions will give students in most disciplines lots of opportunities to communicate their thoughts in writing. You may be writing from the first week, or it may be a skill you will develop over a longer time frame.
Your writing style will have no doubt changed significantly over the last few years and will still be developing. Your style will also be responsive to the task: an exam answer is very different to an essay. Your department will be able to advise you on specific expectations in your discipline but there are many general principles which be useful to all students, some of which we cover here.
The writing process is book-ended by two other key skills which we cover elsewhere:
This section focuses on essay writing in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Scientific disciplines will provide guidance on specific writing styles for their subject area. For example, Biological Sciences provide a set of resources on the Cambridge Transkills webapges. Have a look at Transkills for other subject areas too such as Transkills for English, Theology, History, Law and MML.
Below you will find a series of videos that provide a survey of academic writing and a closer look at introductions, paragraphs and conclusions. While there may be a heavier emphasis on the writing done in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the general concepts of strong academic writing presented will also apply to other disciplines.
It is important to understand what you are being asked to do before you begin writing. Regardless of the task, you will be marked more highly for answering the question than simply showing how much you know about a topic. Ask yourself the following three questions when you start a new task:
If you are not sure what the words mean in the question, have a look at this list of instruction words and their definitions.
Unless otherwise stated, this work is licenced under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence by Wolfson College Cambridge.