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Blog

The best way to approach your first assignment

Getting into (or back into) your studies with each unit’s first assignments can be tough to jump right into. You may be out of practice in your referencing and topic sentences, but that doesn’t mean you need to stress. We have pulled together our best pointers to help you out with that first assignment of the teaching period and get you on track to complete future assessments with ease. 

Allow more time than you may require

The first step to any assignment is always planning. But before you jump to jotting down any ideas, you need to open up your diary or phone calendar and ensure that you put enough time aside to work on and submit work that you are proud of. 

Ensure that you spread your assignment times across a number of days with allowances for your planning, research, writing and proofreading. Some students choose to submit their assignments a number of days before the due date, particularly if they don’t work well under a tight deadline. But if you believe that you are easier motivated under pressure, just ensure you can still comfortably complete your final touches before the submission time. 

Inform yourself well

There is absolutely no point in going ahead and completing a whole assignment without first reviewing the resources you have been provided. In your unit you will find an assignment overview, details and criteria readily available. It is also likely that your eLA will have hosted a Collaborate session to discuss it in more detail, which you can either attend live or watch later. 

It is also important that you go back through your modules to review the content and readings that are relevant to the assignment. These should help guide you with your ideas and planning as well as sourcing of further research to support your work. Keep the course content in the back of your mind whilst you complete the assignment to stay relevant to the unit and avoid going off track. After all, the point of your hard work is to assess your knowledge and application of the content. 

Prioritise proofing

Arguably, the most critical part of any assignment comes after you have finished writing it. The proofreading, editing and perfecting of any work can easily be the difference between letter grades. You could have written the most compelling argument in the world, using all of the best references and relevance to the unit. However, this means nothing if your sentences don’t make sense and your in-text citing is incorrect, as it affects the flow in which your assignment will be read and therefore assessed. 

It’s a great idea to not only read over your work a number of times, but read it aloud to yourself or others, as this is where you will pick up on confusing sentence structures and any small spelling or punctuation mistakes you have made. If you’ve been looking at your writing for so long, you no longer understand it, ask a friend to look over it for you. And finally, before you submit, make sure you scan your work for any proof of your planning formats; did you write what word count you were up to halfway through? Are your references still in the order that you used them or alphabetical? And of course, make sure your assignment has a clear heading and document name. Because the clearer your assignment, the more your eLA will thank you for it. 

 

Once you have completed and submitted your first assignment, you are well on your way to success for the remainder of the teaching period. Be sure to apply these planning, research and proofing strategies to the remainder of your assignments and there will be no looking back. Learn more about the assignment resources available to you or book an appointment with your Student Coaches for more tips on how to refine your study habits.