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The L&D Forum

Hi all, I need help in writing my assessments and to also pass my exams. I am having difficulties in writing critically and my feedback show that I am being too descriptive. I have never had the opportunity to learn how to write critically or how to write a masters level 7 assignments. I am used to undergraduate writing which obviously is descriptive. I have tried to read books and enhance my writing skills but I still did not succeed.

It would be great if someone can shed some light on this and might also share something that would make me easily understand how to effectively write and answer exam questions critically and also in assignments.

Thanks in advance,


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  • Hi all,


    Thank you for your responses, that really was helpful.

  • Hi Abdul

    Critical thinking skills:

    We are thinking nearly all the time and as a result of that thinking we may then need to make a decision. We are making decisions all the time and often we do not realise that what we are actually doing is analysing and evaluating the impact that our decision will have.

    Let’s take a simple example such as buying a pair of shoes. Once we have found a pair that we like and are trying them on, we then assess and evaluate whether or not to buy them. We may even have started this process before we tried them on!

    We will be assessing how many times we will wear them, the clothes we will wear with the shoes, we may think about comfort, cost, colour and so on (even if we are not avid shoppers!). 

    These thought processes we go through are the same ones that we need to apply when we are studying, the difference being the context. Going shoe shopping requires thought and so does reading. An integral and essential part of your studies is that you are required to read and assess information from a wide variety of different sources and these sources could be academic journal articles, text books, case studies, newspapers or research papers. In this context, you also need to be critical in terms of what you are reading.

    However, we don’t think critically all of the time!

    There is a link to on skillsyouneed - I have also attached a useful factsheet from Cambridge University (factsheet 1, Critical Thinking, Deriving the Definition) Cambridge assessement  which I share with my students, some find it helpful.  I use it when I am marking!  Basically look at the context (and report upon it), then look at the written work/options available based on evidence and then decide which one is right for the situation you have been given and of course why YOU think your decision is right.  This will triangulate your argument.  When concluding on a topic, the key is not to bring in any new concepts jus the strengths and weaknesses of what you have found and why you have made the decision to recommend what you have.


    I hope that helps.  Good luck with your studies.

    Louise Hawkins

    Level 7 Associate Tutor

    • This is a really helpful response Louise - thank you.

  • Hi Abdul. 

    I've passed this on to your programme manager who will arrange for someone to get in touch. Let me know how you get on Adbul and good luck.



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