Feedback A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study - University of Reading

Watch the trailer

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsHi. Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to Academic Writing for university. My name is Steve Thomas. And I teach EAP, English for Academic Purposes, here at the University of Reading.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 secondsThis course is all about writing. We know there are lots of people like you from countries all around the world who would like to take a degree in English. But you're worried that your English isn't good enough. Well, this is a beginner's guide. So your writing skills only need to be good enough for a pre-university course. That's about IELTS 4.5. But even if your writing skills are stronger than this, we still think this would be a useful course for you. Together with my colleagues Anne Vicary and Sebastian Watkins, we'll be showing you the very first piece of writing that a student did on our course a few years ago.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds The student's name is Xiao And he's currently take a PhD at the University of California in Los Angeles in the United States. If you follow this course closely, we think you'll be able to make the same kind improvements that Xiao has. It won't make you an expert writer, but what it will do is give you a solid base for you to build on in the future.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 secondsSo come and join us at the University of Reading and improve your academic writing skills.

About the course

If you’re interested in studying at university or college in an English-speaking country, you’ll need to learn how to write using academic English. Academic writing can be very different from other types of English writing you may have done in the past. We have developed this course to help you learn the basics of academic writing and develop your English skills for study in the UK, US, Australia or other countries where English is used.

This course will provide you with a brief introduction to academic writing, enabling you to gain an awareness and understanding of some key features of this kind of writing. You’ll learn using a mix of video, on-screen examples, discussions, and quizzes.

You will develop some proficiency in a few key areas of ‘academic’ grammar, learn about the stages in essay writing, and produce an essay of your own. We will teach you how to organise an essay, use academic writing style and cover key areas of grammar, so that by the end of the course you are able to write a good, basic academic essay.

Throughout the course, we will analyse some examples of academic writing that have been produced by some of our former students, to show the improvements that can be made to an essay. These improvements are made by guiding and instructing the writer in the areas of content, organisation, language and the process of planning and drafting an essay.

We will provide you with the tools to evaluate your own writing and the writing of others, as well as clarifying some key language areas commonly used in academic writing.

What’s in the course?

This course will run over five weeks, which will cover:

  1. Features of academic writing
  2. Essay organisation
  3. Your first essay: language focus
  4. Your first essay: focus on the writing stages
  5. Your first essay: feedback and redrafting


This course is aimed at non-English speakers who have studied some English. You should have a minimum level of IELTS 4.5 or equivalent.

Get a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats — to show that you’ve taken part.