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  • Dr Paul Penn

The most common reason for failing an essay at degree level (Q&A series)

In this video I respond to a student who asks: "What is the most common reason students fail essays at degree level?" from the perspective of an experienced lecturer. I also provide some advice (and links) on how to avoid this error in your own essays.


Norton, L. S. (1990). Essay-writing: What really counts? Higher Education, 20(4), 411–442.

Risko, E. F., & Gilbert, S. J. (2016). Cognitive offloading. Trends in cognitive sciences, 20(9), 676-688.

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. science, 185(4157), 1124-1131.

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