Delta Tips 14: Writing a Module 3 Essay – the conclusion and wrapping things up!

This is the fourteenth in a series of blog posts I’m doing in response to the number of Delta-related searches that bring visitors to my blog. Each post in this Delta Tips series will deal with a different element of the Delta, based on my experience of doing it (and surviving to tell the tale! ) at Leeds Met

 The module 3 extended specialism essay is a very special beast. If you thought Cambridge were demanding in their criteria for Module 2 LSA’s or perversely picky in how they want you to answer Module 1 exam questions – you’d be right! But, it’s nothing compared to what they demand you fit in to a measly 4500 words for Module 3…

  • For an overview of what’s required and tips for starting out, look at Delta Tips 9
  • For information about writing the first section of the essay – the introduction – look at Delta Tips 10.
  • For help with the second section of the essay – the needs analysis – try Delta Tips 11.
  • To find out more about the third section of the essay – the course design – try Delta Tips 12
  • To get to grips with the fourth section of the essay – the assessment – look at Delta Tips 13.

The focus of this post is the conclusion of the essay and “wrapping things up” – by which I mean making sure your finished product is packaged the way Cambridge want it! (No mean feat… 😉 )

Congratulations! You have made it to the final section of the Module 3 essay-beast! You are probably sick of the sight of it and really looking forward to finally getting rid of the damn thing, but persevere, for this final section: the fat lady ain’t singing jeeust yet!

The conclusion, for which you are allowed to use a piddly 400 words, is where you will:

  • evaluate what you have produced: extol the virtues (benefits for learners, ways in which learning objectives are met through what you propose) and explain how you minimised the negatives as much as you could in the given circumstances (identify the limitations, the effect on the learners and how these limitations are better than the alternatives).
  • succinctly identify and summarise application of principles to practice: making reference to previous sections, how did the principles you identified to start with (section 1) affect the design of your course (sections 2, 3 and 4)?

Top tips:

  •  Don’t hope that the examiners won’t notice the problems with your design: They will. Hopefully you have done your best to design out flaws, but in the real world nothing is perfect. The trick is to recognise the imperfections and be able to justify (succinctly, as usual!) their existence and explain how you have minimised them as much as possible. Show that the benefits outweigh the limitations.
  • Demonstrate that your essay is a beautiful, cohesive whole: summarise how part 1 fed into part 2, which fed into part 3, which fed into part 4. Show how the issues identified in part 1 have been addressed in the process of designing parts 2-4.
  • Use sub-headings: The examiners like having relevant information flagged up – this saves them from hunting through your writing trying to identify if you have or haven’t met this or that criteria. (Imagine how you’d feel with a massive list of criteria to apply to someone’s writing – you’d want all the help you could get! Now imagine you are on your nth script of the day – how hard are you going to look for the needles in the haystack? 😉 ) *p.74 contains guidance about the conclusion – use those guiding questions to help you insert your guidance for the examiner.
  • Be succinct: You have 400 words – use them wisely! Reference in a space-efficient way (as demonstrated in previous post of this series) Word-count is very important: if you are over the limit, you will be penalised (and you want ALL of those marks!!), if you are 100 words or more over the limit, your essay will be sent back unmarked and you’ll have to pay again once you’ve cut down the number of words. Better to make sure in advance of sending it the first time!

The appendices and wrapping it all up

Don’t forget that it isn’t over until it’s over: once you’ve written your amazing 4500 word Module 3 essay beast, and accumulated a load of supporting documents, you then have to collate all this in exactly the way Cambridge wants you to.

Top tips:

  • Read the handbook pages 74 -76 carefully. Follow the guidelines for packaging (p.74/75), presentation (p.75) and referencing (p.76). Then when you have finished, read it again and check that you really *have* followed them. Cambridge are picky, there’s no doubt about it, but at least they explain the ways in which they are going to be picky, so that you can tailor your essay to their pickiness! If you are lucky enough, get someone who will proofread it for you, checking that you have met all the pernickety criteria (or if you are even luckier, your tutor will give it a final once over and check everything is in the right place!).
  • Remember, this stage will take longer than you think! (I can remember finishing my essay and then spending an awfully long time getting all the various bits of appendices together, in the right order, in the correct documents etc…) So leave plenty of time to do it in, in order to minimise your stress levels – these will be high enough as it is! 😉
  • Hopefully you will have been keeping your list of references as you went along. Make sure you have got all your references on it. Only list those resources that you have actually referred to in the essay itself – what Cambridge calls “explicit evidence” is necessary to show that you have read what you list.
  • You may find that your files are larger than Cambridge’s maximum file size. Fortunately, Word has a file-shrinking tool that you can use. Also make sure that when you plonk .pdf’s into your document (completed questionnaires, sample materials and the like) that you have saved them in the smallest file size that you can first.
  • Don’t forget your contents page. Hopefully you have lots of neatly labelled sub-headings in your document – these can come together to form part of your contents page, beneath the section headings. (I’m in the process of uploading samples of my Module 3 essay, so will upload my contents page too and link to it here, in due course…)
  • Finally, remember to use the Cambridge naming conventions for each file (Handbook p.75)

When all is done and dusted, pat yourself on the back and get yourself taken out for a large glass of the beverage of your choice! 🙂 Congratulations!!

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10 thoughts on “Delta Tips 14: Writing a Module 3 Essay – the conclusion and wrapping things up!

  1. Pingback: Delta Tips 13: Writing a Module 3 Essay – the Assessment | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

  2. Great final advice, and a great series Lizzie.
    Here are a couple of things I would add:
    I would suggest reading the advice about appendices right at the start, and trying to put everything in as you go along, instead of putting it all in at the end. I did this, and it STILL took me about 5 hours to sort out the files into the appropriate format/two documents, and to get the contents page right. I know it’s taken other people 2 days or more to do this, so you really shouldn’t underestimate the formatting time, and you definitely shouldn’t leave it to the last minute!
    To help with the contents page, candidates should really learn how to use the ‘styles’ function in Word before they do Module 3 if at all possible (or go through and apply them retroactively). Using styles, Word can create an automatic contents page for you, so you don’t have to go through and check/change all the page numbers all the time. There is information on how to create an automatic contents page here: http://libroediting.com/2012/03/21/creating-a-contents-page/ For other Word skills it’s useful to have, take a look at section 3 of my ‘Preparing for the Delta’ post: http://sandymillin.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/preparing-for-the-delta/
    Good luck to anyone who’s going through Module 3!
    Sandy

    • Not sure why it didn’t auto=approve your comment, Sandy – perhaps the links and the length made it think you were a spam artist? :-s Thanks for sharing some great advice. I wish I had known about the Word stuff back then – how many times did I go changing page numbers in the content pages? I hate to think… Perhaps because I was thinking back to this time, I didn’t think of that, which I only learnt from you for my dissertation (better late than never?!) 🙂

    • Thanks very much, both Lizzy and Sandy – you’re a great help in trying to navigate through the Delta minefield…

    • Do you know if the word count includes the inline references i.e. (Author 2016:34)? The Handbook does not mention this point. I’m thinking it does (include the refs).

  3. Pingback: Useful links for Delta | Sandy Millin

  4. Pingback: Delta Examples 5: Module 3 Essay – conclusion and packaging | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

  5. Pingback: Doing the Cambridge Delta: A Guide | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

  6. Do you know if the word count includes the inline references i.e. (Author 2016:34)? The Handbook does not mention this point. I’m thinking it does (include the refs).

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