Learning experience at university

Coursework 3 – Reflective Essay

     Learning at university is an amazing experience for me as a student; it is totally different from the time when I was at high school. In the past several months, I have gradually developed my academic skills and, realized that I have to change my learning styles to be able to integrate with the new environment. Therefore, to be able to achieve the best results, the purpose of this essay is to reflect on my strengths, weaknesses with the results and feedbacks from the last assessed assignments of two previous 119ECN Coursework, 113ECN Coursework 1, 121BSS Coursework 1, 185ACC Phase Test 1 and the 119ECN Presentation. Then from that, considering what appropriate actions should be taken to make up the deficiencies and improve my skills.

     Based on each coursework, I consider my strengths to be able to identify all the main important points that need to be highlighted on a writing essay like “summarize an article” (from 119ECN Coursework 1), and organize well the presentation of an essay like 121BSS Coursework 1,113ECN Coursework 1. Since I like to draw a plan beforehand of each essay to create a good structure, and it may be just my hobby trying to make the essay looks nice and tidy. I understand the teacher’s perspective in each essay, I know what I should mention; however, my academic writing skill is not good enough to get high mark, and the fact that I only get 55% (113ECN Coursework 1) is the highest mark that I can get from previous writing coursework. As the result that I had never done a writing essay before in high school, and especially I am an international student so my English language skills has a quite serious problem.

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     Normally in my essay, I will need to rephrase a number of sentences or words because it would not make sense, and the reader find a difficult time to understand it – it is clearly said in the feedback of 119ECN Coursework 1 – and in other coursework, the teacher only said my analysis or writing is enough or satisfactory but mostly never come to good. And even thought in 121BSS Coursework 1, I tried to read more reference books, used more academic writing styles, and I actually had a good analysis of private sector company types, I still got problem with my spelling and punctuation; I did not focus enough on the second part of the essay thus overall I did not get a high mark for the assignment (46%). Eventually, I make the same mistake in 119ECN Coursework 2 – I did not pay enough attention and effort on the second part of the essay – my explanation on the first part is only enough to satisfy but it comes to unsatisfactory on the second part, in the end, I get 36% for the coursework (the worst mark that I ever got).

     In 113ECN Coursework 1, the type is quite different from the other coursework like 119ECN or 121BSS; I have to draw 3 – 4 charts and analyze them. My presentation and charts are quite good so they make up for my analysis; hence I get 55% for overall (the highest mark up until now for writing). The 119ECN Presentation is not a writing essay but a speaking communication, so the mark was average (13/20, about 65%); my speaking is quite clear and covers the entire required subject because I practice numerous times before the presentation day. Nevertheless, the hindrance is still my writing skill, my slide consists of too much information, so it is hard for the audience to follow my speaking and they only try to read the slide, not listening. And the presentation exceeds the given time because my group only practices individually so we couldn’t manage to time ourselves in time. Finally, 185ACC Phase Test 1 is not exactly a writing test, it is more like a test of solving math problems so it involves more in calculating so it is easily to understand why there is no feedback for this test. To me, math is the easiest subject as I practice it frequently since I was young, and more interesting than other subject (especially subjects that I have to write essay). The test is not too difficult and has plenty of time so I did not have much trouble to finish it with perfect mark (100%).

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     As the result, I realize that my biggest weakness is my academic writing skills, and it is obvious that I have to do a large number of essays when I am at university as they are the main assessed mark. For that reason, I have to improve my academic skills by many ways like:

  • Read more guide books about writing skills at university to help increase my academic words, and how to use them efficiently in the essay as I can find many examples in those books.
  • Read more books about my subject like finance or business, and even newspaper to help improve my ability to analyze the data and have a wider range of knowledge to be able to develop the quality of the essay.
  • Check through the essay several times when the tutor gives back the assignment with feedback and reflect on it – make note of what lacking in the essay and what need to improve base on the tutor’s feedback.
  • Find someone with high result to reflect the essay together and pay attention on what they have that I don’t have. Listen to their opinion about my work, and try to improve it base on their comments.
  • Scan the essay several time before hand it in to check if there is any mistake and see if it makes sense. Especially try to pay attention to the second part of the essay more as I always neglect it.

     In conclusion, through this essay I know all of my strengths, and weaknesses on my current academic skills based on previous assignments of several modules. I have a lot of actions that need to be taken to develop my academic skills before the end of this semester. To be able to have a good result of the first year at university, I still have to try more to get a good hold of wider knowledge.

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(275 words)