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Academic Writing

Whether you are a first-year student, senior, or graduate student, writing is a vital part of interacting with the world. School essays, reports, presentations, and research papers are just a few examples of the kinds of documents that require academic writing skills. When used appropriately, academic writing fosters a polished and professional image. Academic writing skills include the mastery of strong composition, excellent grammar, and a consistent stylistic approach to the subject at hand. 

What is Academic Writing?

Academic writing refers to a particular style of expression, often used for educational or research purposes. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, clear focus on the issue or topic at hand (as opposed to the author’s personal opinion), and impeccable word choice.

Essentially, academic writing is formal writing. Many novice writers resort to informal writing because it is easier and more familiar, Characteristics of informal writing include the use of colloquialisms and jargon, writing in the first person, making direct personal statements, and imprecise word choices. Informal writing is fine for diary entries, blogs, personal writing, letters or emails to friends.

In general, written compositions for school, university application essays, scientific studies, research papers, project presentations, and business proposals all employ a more formal writing style. Various English tests including IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, ACT, CAEL, AP English and IB English favor test takers who are able to demonstrate their strong academic writing skills during the tests. Understandably, those test takers are more likely to achieve higher scores.

Here are a few examples of informal and formal writing:
     Informal writing: I think gas is very important to us because everyone relies on it.
     Formal writing: The dependence on petroleum permeates multiple aspects of modern society. 
In this example, the first statement is informal. The second example uses an academic, formal style typical of what a student will be expected at the college or university level. Written in an academic tone, the sentence omits references to the writer and focuses on the issue. Specific words like “dependence” and "permeate" convey the author’s view in an articulate way, without them having to use slang.

How To Develop Academic Writing Skills?
Writers seeking to improve their academic writing skills should focus their efforts on three key areas:
1. Cohesion and coherence: Thinking precedes writing. Good writers spend time distilling information from their sources and reviewing major points before creating their work. Writing detailed outlines helps many writers organize their thoughts. Strong academic writing begins with solid outlining
2. Excellent grammar: Learn the ins and outs of grammar. English grammar can be detailed, complex, and sometimes even confusing, but a writer goes from being decent to great once they have mastered those intricacies. Spend time practicing your writing skills and, if you want to go a step further, seek detailed feedback from your teachers.
3. Academic vocabulary: Learn complex words that you can use in your writing. Simply memorizing lists of common vocabulary is not only boring; it’s also an ineffective way of adding new words to your lexicon. Learn the words by reading more and exploring various academic reading materials.

Want to earn accolades for critical thinking?
Wish you could elude the apprehension caused by an upcoming writing test?
At Icon English, we can help you enhance your academic writing skills and earn praise by expanding your vocabulary and mastery of the English language through our cutting-edge learning courses.