Frequently Asked Questions

What do you offer to students?

Q: What kind of support does the CAC offer to students?

A: We assist students in developing writing skills, from brainstorming and planning phases to all aspects of drafting (structure, clarity, grammar) to revising and editing strategies. Additionally, we help students develop reading, speaking, and presentation skills. We also offer academic coaching support for time management, goal setting, and exam preparation.

Q: What kinds of assignments can the CAC help with?

A: We can help with academic assignments for any course at UVic. We cannot help with diagnostic assignments or take-home exams. We can also assist with other writing or communication such as grant proposals, academic posters, blogposts, PowerPoint slides, and e-portfolios.

Q: Can I get help with a group assignment?

A: Sure! For real-time (in person or Zoom) appointments, we expect all group members to attend. For written feedback, we can provide feedback on the part of the assignment you wrote and on other parts of the assignment with emailed/screenshot permissions from other writers.

Q: Can you help me with citations or APA style?

A: Our tutors can usually tell when something isn’t quite right and help you detect possible plagiarism, but we are not experts in all styles of citation. If you need detailed citation help, we can direct you to the qualified staff at the Research Help Desk for assistance.

Q: What, exactly, do the tutors do during an appointment?

A: Your tutor can offer written feedback or discuss with you any concerns or questions you might have about writing and other types of academic communication, including

  • Assignment instructions (e.g., What does “analyze” mean? How is it different from “summarize”? How do I know if my sources are peer reviewed?)
  • Genre-specific writing (e.g., How do I talk about ethos in a rhetorical analysis? Is it ok to use “I” or “we” in a scientific report?)
  • Organization, coherence, and clarity (e.g., Is the connection between these ideas clear, or do I need a transitional word/phrase/sentence/paragraph? Can you understand my methodology section? Does it make more sense if this sentence goes earlier in the paragraph?)
  • Grammar, syntax, and punctuation (e.g., Should I use present or past tense to talk about this research? Is this the right word? Do I need a comma here?)
  • Presentation skills and speaking (e.g., Am I pronouncing this word correctly? What should I say if I need to interrupt during a group discussion? Do my PowerPoint slides have too much information on them?)
  • Time management (e.g., How do I manage my time and set goals? How can I focus and retain information when I study? How can I reduce stress and study for exams?)

In a real-time in-person appointment, you can bring a hard copy of your assignment, or you can bring a laptop or tablet to look at during the appointment. For Zoom appointments, you can upload a document before the appointment to share or you can share your screen during the appointment. You or your tutor will usually read some of your work aloud and work with you to improve sentence-level clarity and overall organization, flow, and argument. The tutor can also help connect you to other UVic services, such as the Library Help DeskCounselling, Academic Advising, and the Centre for Accessible Learning.

Q: I have no idea where to start or what questions to ask, but I know I need help. What should I do?

A: Make an appointment! We can help you to define a few of your key challenges and give you some tools and resources to get you started.

Q: Can you help me with my résumé or cover letter?

A: For help with résumés and job-related writing, please visit Career Services. If you are writing a cover letter or an academic application, we can help you to polish the clarity, flow, and accuracy of your writing, but we do not provide assistance with content.

Q: I got feedback on an assignment from an instructor, and I don’t understand it. Can you help?

A: We’ll try! We are semi-fluent in instructor feedback and will do what we can to help to translate it into meaningful suggestions. We can also explain what comments like “awk” or “c/s” mean and how to correct these issues.

Q: Can you tell me what grade I should receive or should have received on an assignment?

A: No, we can’t. Tutors can provide feedback on whether and to what extent they think you have fulfilled the instructions for an assignment, and whether your ideas and language are clear and coherent, but we cannot guess the grade you’ll receive. It is your responsibility to clarify your instructor’s and the course’s expectations regarding grading criteria and assignment standards.

Who uses the CAC?

Q: I’m a graduate student. Can I book an appointment to work with a tutor on a thesis or dissertation?

A: Absolutely! We suggest that you book two 25-minute slots back-to-back. This will give you time to describe your project and your writing concerns in more depth.

Q: English isn’t my first language. Can I get help at the CAC?

A: All students registered in degree programs at UVic can use the services at the CAC (English Language Centre students in Continuing Studies can only use the ELC’s services, but students in the Pathways program can use the CAC). Our EAL Specialists and some of our tutors are very experienced English language instructors. All of our tutors have received training in working with students with English as an additional language, and some of our tutors use English as an additional language themselves. Check out the tutor profiles on our website to find a tutor who specializes in EAL learners.

Q: I’m not registered in a degree program at UVic student. Can the CAC help me?

A: We’re sorry, but CAC services are only available for students registered in degree-track programs at UVic. If you are a future student, a post-doc, or a visiting scholar interested in visiting the CAC or using our services, please contact for more information.

Q: What other resources do you have for students studying online?

A: You’re not alone out there! Our CAC Online Brightspace is self-enrolling—once you are signed into UVic Brightspace, go to “Discover” in the top menu and find “CAC online.” Once you are in the site, explore multi-modal material about all types of academic communication. Additional self-study resources can be found on our website. We offer workshops throughout the semester about, as well as an English Conversation Café and graduate writing room.

Q: I think my writing is already pretty good. Why should I book an appointment at the CAC?

A: That’s great! We love helping strong writers become even better writers. We can help you talk through your ideas and plan your writing, and it’s often a good idea to get a second pair of eyes on a piece of writing during your editing process. We can make sure that you finish your appointment with even more confidence (and maybe even a thing or two to work on in the future!). There’s always room for improvement, no matter what level you’re currently at.

How do I book appointments and how do they work?

Q: How do I book an appointment?

A: Register for an account in Once you’ve created your account, log in with your email address and password, choose one of four appointment schedules: “Get written feedback,” “Academic Writing + more: Meet in person,” “Academic Writing + more: Meet in Zoom,” or “Time Management + more: Meet in person” and log in. Once you are logged in,  Choose an available (white) appointment slot with the tutor of your choice.

For more detailed instructions and screenshots, visit our booking instruction sheet.

If you have any issues reaching the booking site, here are some things you can try:

  1. Make sure that the URL is correct:
  2. If that does not work, try running a hard refresh: on Windows, press and hold down Ctrl and click on the refresh icon in your browser, or hold down Ctrl and press F5. On Mac, press Command+Option+R, or hold down the Shift button and click on the refresh icon in your browser.
  3. Check your connectivity
  4. If you still cannot access the system, please send us an e-mail at, and attach a screenshot of the error page that you are receiving; we will work with you to troubleshoot the issue.

Q: How do your four types of appointment work?

For written feedback, attach your document and wait for an email notification that your feedback has been completed (usually by 7 pm the same day of your appointment). You may also open your appointment at a later time to attach your document,

For in-person appointments, your tutor will meet you at the CAC, located in the McPherson Library, Learning Commons, offices at the end of the hall (135f and 135i-135m). For Zoom appointments, go to the tutor’s Zoom link provided on the WConline booking platform.

Q: What if the schedule is full?

A: First, try using the “appointment search” button on the right to help you find the next available appointment; it’s possible you just didn’t see an available appointment. If the schedule is truly full, email our manager, Nancy at There’s a good chance we can squeeze you in or add you to a waitlist.

Q: How many appointments can I book?

A: You may book two 25-minute appointments per week. Come often, and come early, but remember that our goal is to help you become a more confident, independent writer! If you just need a few more appointments for a particular assignment, please email your request to Nancy at indicating the number you need, the reason you need them, and when you’re available. We’ll book the additional appointments for you.

Q: Can I cancel or change my appointment?

A: Of course! If you can’t make it to your appointment, log in to Wconline and cancel your appointment any time before the start time. There is no penalty for changes or cancellations that occur in advance. You can also edit your appointment if you need to make changes.

Q: I missed my appointment! What should I do?

A: If you miss an appointment without letting us know, you are taking tutoring time away from another student who needs help, so we take this seriously. If you miss two appointments without notice, your CAC account will be suspended and you will no longer be able to book appointments online. If this has already happened, email to appeal your suspension. Include the date and time of your missed appointment(s), the reason you missed it, and what you plan to do to avoid making this mistake again.

Q: Who are your tutors?  Which one should I choose?

A: We currently have the equivalent to four full-time staff and a number of graduate student tutors. Our staff have completed graduate degrees in English or education, and some are TESL certified instructors with many years of teaching and tutoring experience. Our other tutors are graduate students in the second year of a master’s program or beyond. See the staff and tutor profile page for more information about their interests and areas of study.

Q:  Are you open on the weekend or in the evening?

A: We are not open in the evenings; however, during the semester we offer a limited number of appointments on the weekend. Check the schedule at wconline (once you have an account, you can check the schedule anytime).

Do I need to prepare to meet with a tutor?

Q: What should I do prior to my appointment?

A: If you have booked an appointment for written feedback, attach your assignment and the instructions and/or grading rubric by the time of your appointment. You may use the booking form to indicate areas you’d like the tutor to focus on, or you can leave a more detailed note or comments within your document.

If you have booked an appointment to talk about goals, time management, or understanding an assignment, please bring your schedule, the assignment, and any relevant notes you’ve made.

Q: My assignment isn’t finished yet. Is it ok to ask for help on a draft or an outline?

A: Absolutely! We can help with any stage in the writing process, from planning to polishing.

Editing and Proofreading

Q: Will the tutor edit or proofread my work?

A: No. “Editing” means that the tutor makes changes and corrections for you. We are not here to “fix” your work; that doesn’t make you a better writer! Tutors may point out patterns in error and make suggestions about improving flow, clarity, and organization, but they won’t draft the changes for you or tell you what to write.

Q: UVic has a policy on editing, and I’m not sure how the CAC’s tutoring fits into it. Can you clarify?

A: Good news! Our tutors are not editors. We do not manipulate, revise, correct, or alter your work for you; rather, our aim is to make you a better editor yourself by giving feedback that prompts you to evaluate your work and make your own revisions. Look for details about the policy and more at the university’s webpage on academic integrity.

As always, check with your instructor if you’re not sure about the limitations of the policy in a particular course, and make sure that you get written authorization if your instructor or supervisor has recommended that you hire a professional editor.

Additional Support

Q: What if I can’t find what I’m looking for or need additional resources? 

If, in exploring our website, Brightspace CAC online course, or this site, you have additional questions about your topic or cannot find the academic resource you need, please let us know by contacting us ( A CAC Specialist will address your question or concern by the end of that same business day.

If you are in need of other academic success tools, please visit UVic’s Learn Anywhere site for additional information about available resources and services.