All posts by Academic Writing University Center

About Academic Writing University Center

The AWUC provides language support services to university PhD students, researchers and faculty for every stage of their academic career and for any kind of writing, e.g. abstract writing, conference papers, dissertation and thesis writing, grant proposal writing, research papers, etc. in English.

New Courses in April!

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Academic Writing University Center (NUST MISIS)  offers free online courses: Rhetorical Strategies for Debate and Writing Research Grant Proposals

Register now!

Course #1: Rhetorical Strategies for Debate

Time: 18:00 to 20:00 on  Tuesdays 

Duration: 20 April to 8 June

Online platform: Zoom

Course description:

This course is an introduction to the history, theory, practice, and implications of rhetoric, the art and craft of persuasion through

  • Analyzing persuasive texts and speeches
  • Creating persuasive texts and speeches

Through class discussions, presentations, and written assignments, you will have many opportunities to practice your own rhetorical skills. Via specific reading assignments, you’ll also learn some ways to make yourself a more efficient reader, as you apply your analytical skills on the texts themselves. This combination of reading, speaking, and writing will help you succeed in:

  • learning
  • reading and thinking critically
  • applying techniques of rhetorical analysis
  • applying techniques of argument
  • enhancing your written and oral discourse with appropriate figures of speech
  • applying techniques of oral presentation and the use of visual aids and visual rhetoric.

Upon completion of the course, the participants should be able to:

  •  Develop and apply rhetorical strategies to determine validity and academic rigor of source material.
  • ·      Expand academic vocabulary to increase class participation and comprehension of academic texts at the graduate level.
  • ·      Employ various reading and writing strategies to improve comprehension and expression for academic purposes at the graduate and post-graduate level.
  • ·      Identify and address elements of rhetoric and persuasion in their own work.
  • ·      Create and deliver presentations of academic material.
  • ·      Use online and campus academic resources and support services.

Course #2: Writing Research Grant Proposals

Time: 18:00 to 20:00 on Thursdays

Duration: 22 April to 10 June

Online platform: Zoom

Course description:

Developing effective grant writing skills is essential in order to acquire competitive funding from government agencies and private foundations. Writing a successful grant proposal is a blend of art and science. It requires basic knowhow, content knowledge, writing proficiency, strong research skills, creativity, organizational ability, patience, and a great deal of luck. This course will provide students with the background necessary to understand the grant application process.

Upon completion of the course, the participants should be able to:

  • Apply strategic use of research skills to establish the research territory.
  • Understand the fundamental components of a grant proposal such as the abstract or summary, background and significance, specific aims/goals and objectives, project design and methods, sustainability, assessment, broader impacts, and cover letter as well as the overall grant submission process.
  • Expand academic vocabulary to increase class participation and comprehension of grant-related academic texts at the graduate and post-graduate level.
  • Employ various reading and writing strategies to improve comprehension and expression for academic purposes at the graduate and post-graduate level.
  • Create and deliver presentations of academic material.
  •  Use online and campus academic resources and support services.

Instructor: Leticia Medina

Leticia Medina (AWUC)


Leticia Medina is a doctoral fellow at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in Texas, where she has also been a Lecturer in the Writing Program and an instructor in the English for International Students (EIS) program. Leticia’s teaching experience encompasses instruction in academic writing as well as teaching World and British literature. Most recently, Leticia taught Advanced English for Academic Purposes to international PhD students from a number of foreign countries, including India, Iran, Bangladesh, México, Brazil, China, Russia, and Angola, among others.

Register now!

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How to Cope With Test Anxiety?

Although it is not completely out of place to feel a sense of nervousness before your test, test anxiety presents with nasty symptoms. These symptoms could cause you to lose your ability to recall what you studied or affect your thinking capacity negatively.

Symptoms of test anxiety include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Roaming thoughts
  • Stomach upset
  • Sweaty palms
  • A feeling of anger, fear, or dread for the test
  • Panic attack in some instances

In most cases, lack of self-confidence, fear of failing, or not being ready for your test can cause test anxiety. If you’ve had a terrible experience while taking a test in the past, leave it at that.  Do not allow that to cause you to panic.

Here are effective ways to help you overcome test anxiety.

  1. Get yourself adequately Prepared and Ready for the exam.

No doubt, getting yourself prepared helps you overcome test anxiety. It gives you that sense of confidence you need to take your exam. Also, your mind will be at ease with no fear in you. This helps you face your exam without any form of anxiety.

Other things you can do to get yourself prepared include:

  • Avoid cramming instead, study your books, and seek to understand all concepts.
  • Be a part of a study group that has similar goals as yours.
  • Have a study routine and stick to it to help you cover all your learning schedule.
  • Update your study skills.
  • Get to know about the test and go through past materials to help you have a clue of how the test is.
  • Ask your friends and tutors whenever you are lost to help perfect your understanding.
  1. Get Enough Sleep Days to Your Test.

While it is good to study hard and at night, do not form the habit of depriving yourself of it. Not getting enough sleep can cause a wide array of symptoms similar to test anxiety. Getting enough sleep can help you combat stress and keep your memory performing at its best. Overcome test anxiety by getting enough rest days or weeks to your test.

Here are a few tips to help you get enough sleep to help you prevent test anxiety.

  • Create your sleep and wake-time hours and stick to it.
  • Create a study time-table and maintain it.
  • Study all through the semester to avoid cramming or crashed reading.
  • Avoid watching TV or using a computer just before bedtime.
  • Doing all this will enable you to stay up to date in your studies while having to enjoy enough sleep.
  • It is alright for you to take naps to make up for lost sleep hours.
  • Avoid taking caffeine a few hours before bed-time.
  1. Get to the Test Venue as early as possible.

Ensure that you get to your test venue at least 10 minutes to your exam time, as this will decrease your anxiety due to rushing. Get everything ready the night before your exams and wake up early. Eat your breakfast and get some snacks if possible, to help keep yourself energized.

Also, you can keep yourself pacified by going through any piece of literature if you find yourself getting anxious while waiting for the exam. Stay away from colleagues who are having test anxiety to avoid working yourself up before the exam.

  1. Have a positive mental attitude.

Fill yourself with positive thoughts and boost your morale with positive words. There is nothing that works better than believing in yourself and having faith that you can strive through the high tide. Also, you must know that one exam is not enough to define whether you are a success or failure. Having a positive mental attitude is crucial for any exam, especially long and challenging ones like the USMLE Step 2 for medical students.

Stay positive because negativity can only make you ask the following anxiety-inducing questions:

  • What areas will the exam cover?
  • Will it be too difficult?
  • Will I pass the exam?

Tell yourself positive things like:

  • I can do this.
  • I am prepared and there is no need to be afraid.


Summarily, combating test anxiety is a process that one needs to be actively involved in. to this end, ensure that what should be in place is in place. Get yourself prepared, never deprive yourself of sleep, and maintain a positive mental attitude. Doing such will keep your test anxiety at bay.

By Maia Steel