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Critical Thinking and Writing
A brief look at the marking grid

By Michelle Hague LCCH Southwest Centre Manager Feb 2012

The wonderful thing about studying in this current day and age is that the marking criteria is given to you, no guesswork is needed. This means that by paying attention to what will guide your examiners marking, you can ensure that you focus your research in such a way to maximise your marks.

Time to take a look at the marking grids you have been given (they are in your study guide), you will see clearly on the left hand side of the table a set of headers, which read as follows: Organisation and Coherence; Content; Clarity of expression; Levels of Analysis and Synthesis and last use of literature showing knowledge and understanding including referencing.

Along side these are the maximum mark you could achieve if you were to write the perfect essay that meets with all requirements and expectations, at level 6 and 7 this is done usually only done by the few, high flyers and often only by those students who are able to study full time. Broken down to the right of these are boxes which breakdown the way those scores can be achieved.

Now, have a closer look at those grids, they tell you more than just the areas that will be looked at, they give you some pointers that will allow your essay markers to work out a score a grade. Each student is given the same task and each essay comes in with a variety or texts and types with differing levels of writing skill and grammatical clarity. So getting yourself familiar with the language of assessment will help your work meet the brief.

At first glance the grids seem daunting, but don't give up, the phrases are consistent with this level of study no matter where you are doing your study the LCCH and UWL are not unique, but these marking grids are designed for your courses in clinical hypnosis.

Don't forget you are on a path that leads towards an MSc a Science degree and the language of science and medicine is of critical analysis, evaluation and critical thinking, and that is the language you start to use from now on.

You will need to address your key arguments and establish the main theories and concepts which underpin both pros and cons, what are the main points which need to be made, what supports or challenges these main points and what wide range or research and reading have you studied to come to these point, how wide or conclusive or thorough has your research been. What were the limitations you experienced in the research, how did this affect your research?

You will quickly see that you can only formulate and write your argument, once you have done the reading the research and understood and thought it through and planned it, pulling all the threads together by contrasting them carefully and analysing the similarities and the differences, and apply your own view and your evidence for your perspective. Then and only then will you be able to start to draw your conclusions.

The more detailed your research and the stronger your argument supported by evidence and research, the more analytical your pulling apart and comparing of that evidence and the more logical and systematic you argument, the higher your marks. The more descriptive your essay and simplistic giving short summaries of what you have read, what you have done without further comment is not enough and will only secure you very basic marks.

There is a consistent core of shared values that your markers expect to see in your essays, many of these have been covered already but another one is the learning outcomes, which are given in your study guide.

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