One to ones

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In a one to one tutorial, we can offer guidance on many aspects of your studies, from interpreting an essay question, managing your time or reading critically, to planning structure, revising for exams or strategies for editing a final draft. Find out more about our one to one appointments and how to get the most out of them.

What to expect from your one to one

One to One tutorials with the Writing Development Centre are a developmental activity which help you gain the 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 develop as an independent learner.

Our tutors can:

  • discuss your learning goals and circumstances with you to ensure an individual, student-centred and holistic service
  • work with your personal learning preferences and needs, and tailor advice where possible
  • discuss assignment instructions, questions and marking criteria with you to help interpret them
  • look at your marked work to interpret feedback and identify areas to address in future
  • 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)
  • help you to develop long-term study strategies which will improve future assignments
  • explore your study practices and discuss how best to meet teaching, learning and assessment expectations
  • refer you to other sources of guidance if we can't help you
  • assure you that we won’t discuss you or your work with your School without your permission, in accordance with our confidentiality policy.
Our tutors can’t:
  • 'check' your work, in the sense of declaring it ready to submit or identifying all the issues you need to address, as this is your responsibility.
  • comment on the quality or the content of your work, tell you what you need to do to answer the question or whether you have met assessment requirements, or predict grades.
  • act as research supervisors for dissertations or theses
  • offer a proofreading service. If you choose to employ a professional proofreader or the help of a friend, please ensure that it complies with the University's policy on proofreading.
  • read whole assignments. We may read sections of your work in detail or skim-read the document for particular features; this does not constitute a thorough reading of your work in its entirety. We aim to read enough to gain a clear indication of the issues to address, and then suggest strategies for you to apply to the rest of your work.
  • read work in advance of or outside of a one to one appointment. We cannot accept work sent to us unless agreed with the tutor as part of a distance one to one.
  • advise on writing that is not associated with student coursework at Newcastle University. Our remit is specifically academic writing for assessment at Newcastle University. This encompasses typical genres such as essays, reports, reflective writing, case studies, dissertations, posters and presentations. We can also help with other types of assignment if they are set as assessment as part of your course. Other types of writing such as creative writing, job or study applications or CVs don’t come under our provision. We cannot support assessment for other universities, institutions or external tests.
  • discuss work where the main focus of the subject and assessment is the writing itself, such as translation or creative writing.
  • provide full study support for Specific Learning Difficulties. We are not specialists in this area, and do not have the capacity to provide intensive, ongoing support. Please consult Student Wellbeing's Specialist Learning Team.
  • teach fluency in English if you are a non-native speaker. We are not specialists in teaching English as a Second Language or English for Academic Purposes, and we offer guidance on study skills, rather than classes on the language. If you would like help with your academic writing, and have a UELA score of less than 70 in your writing, you will be best supported by INTO’s In-Sessional English programme, which offers classes and individual consultations.

How to get the most from your one to one

  • Come once you’ve really started to engage in your studies or started on an assignment, so you know what the issues are. Broad, generic advice tends not to be very helpful.
  • Identify clearly what you’d like to achieve in your tutorial. Come along with specific goals that you’d like to address or specific questions about your work.
  • Ensure that what you’re bringing is focussed and feasible. Discussion will be in-depth, and we can’t cover lots of ground! Better to focus on one or two issues.
  • If you’re not sure if what you want to discuss is within our remit or policy, do drop us an email to ask.
  • If you’re having difficulty with something but you’re not sure exactly what the precise issue is, we can help you explore this and identify what’s going on.
  • Don’t put off or cancel a one to one appointment because you’re stuck or haven’t made as much progress as you wanted – that’s where we can help you! We can talk about work at any stage, and can also look at issues around writer’s block, procrastination and time management.
  • If it’s helpful, bring some work with you. You can bring something you’re working on at the moment (at any stage) or past work with feedback. You could also bring examples of your notes, essay questions or marking criteria or examples of what you’re reading, if it’s relevant to your query. You don’t have to bring work if it’s not relevant though.  
  • Be prepared to do some work in the appointment! We aim to help you develop your skills, so we’ll ask you to apply our guidance and discuss it with us.
  • Think ahead. Our aim is to help you develop as a learner, not just to improve one assignment, so think about ways that you can use our guidance in other contexts, and ask us about this.
  • Leave plenty of time. We are often booked up well in advance, so be sure to book your one to one appointment at least a week ahead.
  • It is not recommended that you book a one to one appointment for the day or day before your assignment is due. There is very little that the tutors can productively offer guidance on at such short notice as you will not have time to develop your study strategies or improve your work before submission.
  • Check that we're the right people to help you - have a look at our FAQs and also check the ASK website, which outlines the range of study help available.

How to request a one to one tutorial

What we offer:

  • Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (last appointment time 4pm)
  • Appointments are available on the hour, to fit in with university teaching timetables.
  • Each one to one appointment offers you up to 50 minutes discussion with a tutor, including time to skimread any work you've brought. Please arrive punctually as late arrival will impact on the time we can give you.
  • We will provide an up-to-date indication of appointment availability for the coming four weeks. We aren’t able to display specific available one to one slots, but will provide information about booking demand to help you plan ahead.
  • We will respond to your booking request within five working days. Please note that we are often unable to process very short-term bookings and recommend that you book a week in advance.
  • We will do our best to match your request to our tutors' availability and to help us to do so, please suggest as wide a range of possibilities as you can.
  • Submitting a request for a one to one is not confirmation that an appointment is available or that your appointment has been made.
  • We will contact you via your Newcastle University email address to confirm an appointment for a one to one or to let you know that we are unable to provide an appointment to match your availability and suggest alternatives.
  • If for any reason your one to one appointment needs to be cancelled, for example, due to staff sickness, we will do our best to contact you in a timely fashion and prioritise your request for a rescheduled appointment. We ask that you provide a phone number for this purpose.
  • One to one tutorials are student-centred and confidential; our aim is to help you reach your academic goals. While academic staff may refer students to our service, we do not accept referrals as a compulsory condition of progress, and will only share information about your attendence or progress with your consent.
One to one appointments with the Writing Development Centre are in high demand. To ensure fair access to appointments for all students, we request that:
  • Only one appointment can be booked at a time
  • Only one appointment can be booked per week
  • Students may book up to 3 one to one appointments a semester (please be aware that there are only 2 semesters per year and this is different to terms, dates are available here). This is a maximum depending on need and availability, and is not an automatic entitlement. Additional appointments may be offered at the WDC’s discretion
  • Appointments are not transferrable between students. We can only work with the student who booked the appointment.
  • One to one appointments focus on the individual needs of a single student. We cannot see two students at a time.
  • We reserve the right to further query and clarify your request, or refuse a one to one request, if it does not come under our remit
  • If an appointment is unattended without prior notice, explanation or cancellation, we reserve the right to withhold future one to one appointments. If there are mitigating circumstances, we invite you to discuss these with the Head of the Writing Development Centre.
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