Preparing for your tutorial

We can offer guidance at any stage of your studies, from interpreting an essay question or formulating a plan, to strategies for editing the final draft. You don’t need to wait until you have completed an essay to come and see us! Some issues such as structure or critical thinking can only really be addressed earlier in the writing process, and waiting for a finished version is completed might be too late to be useful. We might also be able to help you overcome writers’ block or other barriers in your way. We can only focus on one or two issues in a tutorial, so do think about what aspect of your studies you’d like to improve (including using feedback to diagnose which issues to work on).

To help us identify areas to focus on and offer guidance which will meet your needs, it’s helpful to bring samples of work to your tutorial. These might include: assignment titles, instructions or marking criteria, plans or drafts of current work (no matter how rough), feedback on previous assignments, module handbooks, past exam papers or typical reading material, depending on the nature of your query. As we aim to help you develop the skills to become a successful independent learner, we do not read whole assignments, but will discuss a sample or extract with you and recommend strategies for you to apply to the rest of the work and any future assignments. We do not read work in advance of tutorials.

Tutorials with the Writing Development Service are a developmental, teaching and learning activity which helps you learn the independent study skills you need to be a successful student. In accordance with the University's policy on proofreading and collusion, our remit is not to do the work for you, but to help you develop the understanding, strategies and techniques to enhance your own studies yourself.

Our tutors can:

  • look at your work to identify areas to address or to interpret feedback
  • use a sample of your work to explain relevant points of language, style or structure
  • offer guidance on a sample of your work to help you develop and apply strategies, techniques or study skills (including how to proofread your own work)
  • discuss your work to illustrate teaching, learning and assessment expectations

Please note:

  • We cannot comment on the quality of the content of your work, act as research supervisors or predict grades.
  • We cannot 'check' your work, in the sense of declaring it ready to hand in or identifying all the issues you need to address, as it is your responsibility to reflect on your work and your own learning needs. Please indicate which area of skills development you would like to address when you book an appointment.
  • We do not offer a proofreading service. A list of private individuals who undertake proofreading for a fee is held by the University Language Centre, but they cannot guarantee its quality or that it complies with the University's policy on proofreading.
  • We do not read work outside of a tutorial, or read whole assignments. We can generally only focus on one or two issues in a single tutorial.
  • We cannot teach English as a Second Language. We can address only fundamental issues of grammar and punctuation, for both native and non-native speakers.
  • We generally advise only on academic work which leads towards university assessment, either formal or informal. Academic writing is a very specific form, and although we can offer guidance on alternative forms of assessment such as writing for non-academic audiences or reflective writing, we cannot advise on other types of writing which are not associated with study at Newcastle University.
  • Tutorials are face to face. If you are on placement or fieldwork away from the University, or are a distance learner, please contact us to discuss how we might accommodate you by phone, email or skype.