Before requesting an appointment, please make sure to read this page carefully to make sure that our services are right for you and that you are eligible for our services.
The following link is for writing appointments only; if you need help with statistics, attend one of our drop-in sessions instead. We do not do proofreading or help with content (see “Is other help available?” below).
Who is eligible?
Appointments are available to everyone taking a course offered by PPLS except for first-year undergraduates and PhD students. Dissertations also count as courses. Each eligible student has been allotted two appointments per month (50 minutes each). Visiting students are also allowed to book appointments.
What do you do?
Our goal is to help you communicate more effectively. If you want to do well on an assignment, you need to create fresh, concrete images in the mind of your reader and then direct that reader’s attention to those parts of each image that you want to explain. It’s very difficult to keep track of what needs to be defined, and essays often end up either over-explaining basic concepts or failing to adequately develop difficult ones. Our tutors will help you to spot these problems and correct them.
Is other help available?
The University of Edinburgh has many resources to help students write better. See our blog posts categorised as “Writing resources” for links. One of them, “What other options are there?”, has links to other university-run services that offer personal assistance (eligibility varies).
What does a typical meeting look like?
Let’s get a little more concrete about what to expect in the meeting itself. You can work on whatever you like. If you have a complete draft, that’s best, but you can also bring in a few paragraphs that are worrying you. Your tutor will not be asked to read over this submission beforehand. Instead, the first thing you will do after saying hello is read the section in question out loud to the tutor. This is not a waste of time. It forces you to pay careful attention to your own writing, as things just sound different when you’ve got an attentive listener in front of you who knows the field. You’re almost guaranteed to notice new problems with what you’ve done before you finish.
At this point, the tutor will start to let you know about his or her experience as a listener. Where did your argument become confusing? Did you leave any terms undefined? Was it unclear how a section was linked back to your main claim? You may be asked to rewrite a few sentences right there in the session. Before you go, you will have to come up with a concrete plan consisting of at least three steps to take to improve what you’ve done so far. We won’t tell you what grade we think a paper should receive (we’re here to improve your writing skills, not judge your work).
In total, this will take 50 minutes.
Your final notification includes a link to a feedback form asking you about how the session went. You’ll also have the opportunity to book a second session.
If any part of this plan is at all unsuitable for you, please let us know by leaving comments in your appointment booking.