Education & Work

Assignments, Assignments…

Hey guys, it’s me again!

Some of you might know.. I posted that uni Q&A [Find that hereand quite a few people found it helpful, which makes me SO HAPPY! Since then, I’ve been getting questions through Curious cat [also find that here] and a few of them asked about assignments; how I handled them and what’s the best way to tackle them. 

Keep in mind I’m no expert and what worked for me MIGHT work for you but then it might not – It’s all about trial and error until you eventually find the best method, process, whatever it is that helps you do your best…BUT here are some of the things that helped me… 

FIRST NOTE DOWN (maybe during the lecture or once you get home):

  • The assignment task/question (write it in your own words, a way that you understand it)
  • What research you need to do in order to answer the question (can I think of anything off the top of my head… any ideas, or potential answers for that question? note down all your initial thoughts!!) 
  • Where to do that research (Do quick search of some websites for any potential answers you have and note down some books so you can go back to them)

Then create a broken-down plan with relevant sections outlining what you need to include in each.  For example for my laboratory assignments I would have the sections:

  • Introduction
  • Any subheadings (IF you can think of any at the time)
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion 
  • References 

The reason why I would do this as soon as possible is because when you get told about an assignment, you have a few ideas which might just disappear later on! So to make sure those ideas don’t disappear, it’s a good idea to make that plan as soon as possible. 

TIME MANAGEMENT

To make sure I did my assignments on time, I set myself a personal deadline a few days before the actual assignment due date. So for example… say your tutor has said 30th September is your deadline, make 28th September your own personal deadline. Meaning, have your assignment finished on this day so you have 1 or 2 days to leave it and then another day to check it over again (and do the things below). 

When actually doing the essay, I would plan what I would do using that timetable I told you guys about in my previous post [ Uni question & answers 🙂 ]. I’d note down on each day what section I wanted to work on (whether that was intro or conclusion) which gave me a clear idea in my head of what needed to be done and when… Of course things would change and I decided I wanted to spend more time on one section than the other but having a general organised plan in my brain helped make sure I didn’t feel rushed whilst doing any assignment. 

PROOFING

When you want to proof a finished essay, do not do it straight away!

Give it a day or 2 before you do so. Sometimes you get so used to reading the same thing over and over that you don’t pick up on the most smallest mistakes (telling you from experience)

ALSO! Printing it out and then looking at it was the best thing for me – sometimes looking at something on a screen is different when on paper. Of course, different things work for different people but try it out and let me know how it goes. 

Sometimes when you have a large chunk of an essay – it might be a good idea to print out what you have so far and read that. This used to help me gather my thoughts and note down what else I needed to expand on and add to. 

TIP for REFERENCING!! Whenever you do your research and you find a good source – open a new word document and copy and paste:

  • the link of the source
  • the exact text/paragraph/image/graph/words you are interpreting/quoting (good to go back to incase you forget what the original source said)
  • the author (if it is an online book)
  • other relevant information
    • date published
    • pages used
    • publisher name

This really really helped me because at the end of my assignment I could go back to this document and put all my references and bibliography together without the worry of scrambling through my internet history for that book or website!

MORE THAN ONE?…

Obviously we aren’t just given one assignment per month, usually we have a number of them for different modules at the same time – which can be overwhelming.

This is where your organisation skills are tested.

It is definitely possible to get different assignments, which are due near each other, done! As long as you don’t leave anything till last minute and plan out when you want to work on those assignments.

(You’ll understand why I loved that timetable so much because it literally helped plan my life throughout the 3 years at uni)

On that timetable highlight the due dates for the different assignments – making it clear how many days you have left till you hand them in. 

Take that timetable and decide which days you want to work on what assignment – whether you want to make a start on the hardest one first or the one due first – it’s all up to you – but just make a ‘not-so-set-in-stone’ plan so you have an idea that you will start working on assignment 1 on this day and then do a little of assignment 2’s introduction on the next. 

Obviously some may like to finish one assignment entirely and then start the next which is also absolutely fine – it’s what ever works best for you. The bottom line is that you should plan it out so you feel organised and don’t ever get stuck doing something last minute and rushed because that is where we end up losing marks and messing up. 

!! You know that stuff I mentioned above under the heading ‘First note down…’ – this really comes in handy when you have a few assignments going on at one time. Why? because you’ll have a plan for each assignment (made right when you were assigned them)  SO when you do decide to start working on them… all those initial ideas you had will be there for you to build upon. 

If I think of anything else I will update this post and let you guys know but for now.. here you go. 

Also, here’s a tweet with some assignment tips I came across: https://twitter.com/aanbul/status/688313948555325440

Let me know what you guys think and if this was in any way helpful. If you have any more questions, I am more than happy to answer them here https://curiouscat.me/aanbul

aanbul 🙂 

 

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