Consultations

We offer consultations to all students, from first year to doctoral study. Consultations with a learning advisor are up to 40 minutes long and can cover any questions related to writing, study, time management or oral presentations. You can bring us your draft essay, report, oral presentation, thesis proposal or thesis chapter for a general review of your writing or presentation and can offer suggestions for improvement.

Under the Red setting of the Covid-19 traffic light system all appointments are currently on Zoom.

Here are some of the typical questions asked by students:

  • Can you tell me what I am supposed to do for this essay? I don't even know where to begin.
  • Can we talk about how I'm going to pull together all the different strands in my lit review?
  • My tutor told me I had too many quotations in this essay. Can you tell me what's wrong with that?
  • How do I study for a lab practical exam?
  • Would you check the grammar in this piece of writing?
    (We will work with you to check over short passages, and explain any errors, but we do not proofread entire assignments.)

Common queries

Here are some of the questions that students typically bring to consultations.

We welcome discussion on an assignment at the earliest stages of the planning and writing process. You might also benefit from ASC's learning events on Essay Writing.

Sure. It's always challenging to create a cohesive flow in a literature review. Also, you might consider our lecture on Writing a Literature Review.

Do the link

We are happy to indicate ways you might have improved your essay, but we don't offer opinions on grades or enter into disputes.

Your essay will probably be less choppy, and flow more easily for the reader, if you paraphrase or summarise some of the quotations. We can talk over which quotations to omit — and why — in the consultation.

Let's review the assignment instructions and identify the basic argument you're presenting, and then it will be easier to see what can be omitted.

but my lecturer says "Use the first sentence of your essay to state your argument." What should I do?

Always follow your lecturer's instructions over the advice of a learning advisor. Let's look at how you've worded the introduction so far.

Referencing is a perennial problem for students, especially at postgraduate level when lecturers become less forgiving. We will show you how to access the relevant formatting instructions of the referencing convention you are using.

Grasping the principles of grammar and punctuation — and developing your own proofreading skills — is fundamental to progress at university. Consequently, we never proofread entire assignments, though we will have a look at short passages, explain the errors, and advise you to enrol in a learning event on grammar, punctuation and style.

Don't expect to be able to read absolutely everything. Instead, ask yourself what you should take from the readings and look for that. Begin by skimming over headings, introductions and topic sentences to find what is relevant to you before you read a section closely. Learn more in our Smart Thinking course.

Sure. I'll give it a quick read, then we can talk about its strengths and weaknesses, and we can take it from there.

Reading critically means distinguishing fact from opinion or interpretation; at its most basic level, it means questioning what is said in a text, how it is said, and why it is said. In a consultation, we can go through a range of questions that might be asked of texts that you are reading.

Consultations are held at the Academic Skills Centre, Level 3, Central Library. Consultations are limited to one per fortnight per student with a limit of up to 8 appointments a year. To make an appointment, phone (03) 369 3900. If you are bringing written work, please print it in a 12-point font with double spacing. If you are working on an essay or report, please bring the assignment instructions with you. If you are working on your thesis, please let the learning advisor know what aspects of your writing you would like to focus on during the consultation.

NB: Under Covid, all consultations and quick queries are currently by distance, either via Zoom or telephone.

None of your activities at ASC are recorded on your academic transcript. However, ASC does maintain an internal database of the students it sees, which allows us to follow your progress.

Please be aware that sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, you may see a different advisor from the one you were originally assigned.