4.1 From high school to uni writing

While writing was important in high school, at university it is central to your learning. You'll find you need to develop new skills and approach writing in different ways. Listen to what University of Auckland students say about writing at uni.

Misha Garg, BE (Hons) (Biomedical Engineering), 3rd year
In high school, I feel like a lot of the writing I did was essays, and literary. Because I did Cambridge, I know that I didn’t write a lot of essay-type answers in my exams, as, I think NCEA students did for biology. So I really wasn’t used to writing anything of this sort when I came to uni. So it definitely, university definitely was a big transition.

Stephanie Shen, BSc (Food Science and Nutrition), 2nd year
I feel like in high school, particularly in year 13, they’re implying that writing becomes a lot more concise. But you don’t realise it until you get into university where stage one is very, very, very short answers. But stage two becomes a lot more writing, but still there’s that concise emphasis that, ‘oh you have to keep under this word limit’. But sometimes it’s very difficult because some people are used to, in high school, writing a lot, and that will gain them marks, but sometimes you’re marked down for writing too much at university. So it’s really important to learn that skill of writing very concisely, but also writing detailed, and covering those points that they’re expecting in a scientific lab report, for instance. And also, at the same time, referencing and those sorts of things.

James Hucklesby, BSc (Biomedical Science), 3rd year
And you’ve got to start making decisions. So you’ve got to go through and you’ve got to edit down what you need and you’ve got to think, how does what I’m writing support the question? Or how does what I’m writing support what I wrote earlier?

Joshua Jeffrey, BEd (Teaching), 3rd year
In high school, in your writing I found they were looking specifically for facts and names, dates, places, etcetera and they’re not so much looking for that at university. You’re looking more at your ideas in your writing and if you give just the names, the facts, the dates, the places, the lecturers are going to go ‘well, yes we know that, that’s right’, then in the reading they want you to look deeper, that it is a lot of inferring, that it’s looking beyond what is directly in the text, that will help you get the marks in your writing.

Video under copyright. © The University of Auckland 2017. All rights reserved. 

At school, you probably followed a specific framework and set of rules that guided your writing. However, at university there's no single way of writing academically; writing comes in many forms.

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