• Ellen

tackling assignments

So you've started uni... now you have what feels like a million different things to keep track of. Group presentations, portfolios, essays etc... there are so many different things to keep up with. First step, don't panic.

What I would suggest is carefully going over your module specification/ course outline (whatever you want to call it) for each module you are taking and noting down any deadlines. Once you know when everything is due, start by looking more closely at the assignment due in first and/or the largest project such as a portfolio.

For any assignment I always start with a mind map of all my ideas, thoughts and any random knowledge I have related to the topic. This works as a way for me to just dump all my thoughts down on paper, you can do this in any way that works for you. Just get your initial ideas down so you have something to start with. From this I then make a colour coded list of topics for my assignment, if it is an essay I use it to create sections for my paragraphs. Some people might find it works better for them to skip the mind map and move straight to the bullet point list.

Then I will start researching, finding books, journals, websites etc... with relevant content and making notes. One key thing to remember here is to write down the full reference for the the information and the date you found it. Otherwise you will only have to waste time going back to find it later. In the worst case you might not event be able to find where you found the information and have to for-go that reference.

Once I have the basic bones of my essay on paper, I type it up into word and will change parts of it as I go along. This is my second draft, depending on how much time I have I will go over it and keep adding/ changing it up to another 3 times but usually only once more. I find it best to "finish it" then go back to it a few days later and make any final changes before you want to submit it.

An extra tip I will share is that I always set myself a mental deadline at least 24 hours before the actual deadline if not a few weeks in advance depending on time and other assignments. This means that if you aren't happy, your computers down or for some reason you get delayed, you aren't in a panic right as your assignments needs to be submitted.

So in conclusion my top tips for tackling assignments are:

  1. Note down deadlines well in advance

  2. Make a plan

  3. Draft your work at least twice before your final piece

  4. Submit your work before the final deadline

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