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Top tips for tackling an assignment

4 mins read

Freshers week is now done and dusted, and many students’ minds will turn to coursework and assignments, particularly if it is their first graded assignment that is submitted at university. Here are Brig’s top tips for tackling an assignment.

Use the module or programme handbook

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Throughout your time at university, you will unsurprisingly spend a significant amount of your time reading, whether that be for seminars, assignments or lectures in general. Whilst it may be tempting to disregard the module or programme handbook, it can offer some insights which can prove to be incredibly helpful during assignments. The module or programme handbook can include information such as the learning outcomes of the module for example which can often be the foundation of any assignment or essay question. Other useful pieces of information can be found on your module’s Canvas page, but if not, it is always sensible to ask your module’s coordinator.

2. Use a referencing software

Every student has been in a situation where you read something a few days prior to the assignment deadline and now at the very time when you wish to include it in your assignment, you cannot locate it. Referencing software is not perfect, because you will still have to do some manual tweaking if the reference software selects the wrong publication year, for example. A referencing software such as RefWorks offers a reliable place to store all of your references and easily export them to the required referencing style. Creating the habit of using reference software when you first begin your studies can make things easier in the long term because you could already have the reference stored and therefore won’t have to redo it repeatedly.

3. Be clear in your mind about when you plan to start the assignment

The idea of completing assignments is not the most appealing thing about being a student and it can be incredibly frustrating when the assignment doesn’t mimic what drew your attention to the module in the first place. This can lead to students leaving assignments until the due date or deadline, however, there is an alternative.

If you mark a date in a diary or on your phone as the day when you plan to start an assignment, this can be incredibly helpful because the ‘deadline’ is not a target to be reached, and also excludes a lot of different factors which may impact on your plans to work on an assignment. The deadline is not considering what day or evening you may wish to socialise with friends and unwind, or when you get puzzled by a question and would welcome the opportunity to ask a lecturer questions about your approach to the assignment.

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Most importantly, when faced with any assignment at university – don’t panic, speak to your personal tutor, module coordinator or the student learning services at the university, who are all available to help you achieve your goals.

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