Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Education and Social Care
BA (Hons) Education Studies
3 September 2015
Being an organised person, I often find myself being so prepared with assignments that I have drafts of them a couple of weeks before the hand-in date. This is great in many ways as it allows me to be able to get feedback from my lecturers about what I could improve upon or change. It also gives me time to proofread it multiple times to make sure I haven’t made any mistakes.
However, I’ve known people both on and off my course who aren’t as organised. There have been several people that have left their assignments to the last minute. This doesn’t mean they’ve got bad marks; sometimes the pressure allows them to get pushed into gear. There is nothing wrong with that, we all work in different ways and I applaud those that can do something like that. But not everyone is going to be like that and I may be able to give some tips on how to get organised for assignment hand-ins!
1. Write up an assignment plan.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s written in a notebook or typed up in a Word document. Normally you want to do this within the first couple of weeks of the semester, just to get something down. It can be something as simple as having the headers of each section (introduction, conclusion, possible parts of the main body) or bullet pointing what you want to put into your essay. If you’re getting stuck with this, number 2 may help.
- The Module Guide. Usually if you’re having trouble writing up a plan for an assignment, the module guide has a skeleton structure for students to follow. This has a couple of tips for what you can include in your essay, so it may be helpful to note them out under the relevant headings too.
- Study Skills Plus. While these guys may not be able to help you with the content of your assignment, they are there to help you with the structure of it. Things like Organisational Skills, Academic Writing and Referencing are all things they give advice on. If you’re having trouble with how to structure your essay out, you can book an appointment with them and hopefully they’ll help you out.
2. Find any relevant books/articles.
Once you have the above two steps done, then it’s time to get onto the reading. Normally you’d want to do this ASAP so that you have some references to use in your work. This can be done by manually searching through the library or on their website or from the lecturer’s PowerPoint that they may show during their lectures/seminar. The majority of lecturers will put texts they’ve referenced at the end of their PowerPoint, which may provide you with additional texts to use. The module guide and reading lists are also useful sources for finding them too!
- Find relevant information. It may be useful once you’ve got these books to have a look through them to see whether they have any useful information about your topic. This can be done by looking at the index page, the contents page or reading through the book itself. Note down the pages with any relevant information on to start typing up later.
- The library. For each course there are going to be subject librarians who can (hopefully!) help you find more information about certain topics. This is especially useful if you don’t know whether to start looking or are coming up short on certain topics. There should be at least one on each campus and you’d be able to contact them by either going into the library and asking at the front desk or emailing them.
3. Start typing it up.
After a few weeks, they’ll come a point where it’s a good time to start typing up a first draft of your assignment. Personally, I start doing it around about week 5 and I give myself a week for each assignment, just to give myself a bit of time. By getting the first draft done early, you’ll allow time for yourself to get feedback from lecturers to improve what you’ve already done. By doing that, you can hopefully bump up your grade by a few marks! Try to start a draft as soon as you feel comfortable you’ve got enough information on your subject. I wouldn’t recommend starting it too late because you could find yourself with more work on your plate than originally planned.
4. Get together with friends.
This could’ve been placed at any other point in this list, but it seems relevant now. No matter what point you’re at in writing up your assignment, if you’re stuck, asking friends who are on the same course can help you get moving. They can also help you out with other texts or resources that may be available, as well as read through your assignment and give you feedback. This can help if you have friends who are in the second or third year of your course as they have done the assignments already and can give you some advice. Use the people around you to help!