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Ten top tips for the perfect assignment

Time to tackle that first assignment? Leeds Beckett Academic Librarian Ellie Clement gives us her top 10 tips for writing the perfect assignment. 

Top Tips for the Perfect Assignment

1. Understand the question

What are you being asked to do? How are you being asked to present it? Assignments come in all shapes and sizes. The understanding assignment questions section of the Skills for Learning website explains further. If you don’t understand anything ask your lecturer for clarification now, rather than two days before the deadline.

2. Plan your time

How much time have you got? What else do you have to do? Use the assignment calculator to plan your study. Think about the amount of time you'll need at the hand-in deadline. Do you need to print it out? Make sure you have enough credit on your student card. Or if you need to meet an online submission deadline, check that you understand how to do it via Turnitin.

3. Think about what do you already know about the topic

Review information from your lecture slides on MyBeckett. Get to know the vocabulary. Start to think about what else you need to know. Search for information on Discover or other library resources. If you need more help contact your Academic Librarian who will help you navigate the resources in your subject area or take a look at their online guides.

4. Don't avoid essential reading

Make sure you've completed the readings for the topic. You can find your reading lists alongside your modules in MyBeckett. Learn when to skim and scan for key points and read deeply for content.

5. Take effective notes

Learn how to take effective notes from your lectures and reading. Include full details of where you found each piece of information to make citing and referencing easy. There's guidance on the Skills for Learning website.

6. Plan your structure

Use the introduction to explain your structure, and the conclusion to draw the threads of your argument together. Use the little book of Essay writing to help you or if your assignment requires you to write a report, deliver a presentation or write reflectively you'll find help for that too.

7. Reference correctly

Include citations in the text and a reference list at the end of your work using the Harvard style (or the style required by your School). Get yourself a copy of Quote Unquote - our guide to Harvard Referencing; available in the libraries as well as online.

8. Have a break

As you gave yourself time to complete your work you can walk away from it, reflect on what is good and what you may need to improve.

9. Review and Reflect

Make sure you edit and proofread your work before you hand it in. And return to it after you get your marks. Use your feedback to see what you can learn for your next assignment.

10. Ask for help if you need it

And of course, if you need help please ask for it. Library IT support is available 24/7 if you are having any technical issues and you can also use the information on the library and Skills for Learning websites or make an appointment with an Academic Librarian or Academic Skills Advisor for more in depth help. There is also lots of extra support for disabled and dyslexic students and students on distance learning courses.

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