Ten top tips for the perfect assignment

***Please see our updated version of this blog***

Leeds Beckett Academic Librarian Ellie Clement gives us her top 10 tips for writing the perfect assignment.

student on laptop in front of library shelves

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 worksheet 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. Most of your assignments will be submitted online so  check that you understand how to do this via Turnitin.

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

Review the content 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 and take a look at the online guides put together by your Academic Librarian.

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 and filter for Essential and Recommended texts. Learn when to skim and scan for key points and read deeply for content.

5. Take effective notes

Learn how to make effective notes from your lectures and reading. Include full details of where you found each piece of information to make citing and referencing easy.

6. Plan your structure

Use the introduction to explain your structure, and the conclusion to draw the threads of your argument together. Use the sections of the Skills for Learning website, for example essay writing or report writing to help you plan the structure for written work. There's guidance on structure if you need to deliver a presentation or write reflectively too. And try using the Academic Writing Checklist to make sure you've thought about all the things that make quality academic writing.

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. As well as the free PDF/online version print copies area available from the Leeds Beckett Online Store.

8. Have a break

As you gave yourself enough 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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