Unofficial assignment guide

Written by Infinite

The assignment period is creeping up. You look at all these deadlines and be like: ‘I didn’t sign up for this crap’. You still have to do it, though, for the sake of not being haunted in the future by your split-second laziness. Since we are all tired from this whole starting-uni-then-covid-hit-then-stop-uni period, we could all use a pick me up for our report and essay writing. Here are a few just for you:

Read the assignment criteria and requirements. If you don’t, you’re an egg.

You wouldn’t believe me when I say most students actually don’t read the assignment instruction carefully. Yes, they don’t. The keyword here is carefully. The assignment instruction is pretty much your roadmap to success. Think of your essay/report as a treasure; the map to the prize is in the instruction. And no Indiana Jones’ crap, too, where the instructions are written in a series of riddles. It is practically giving you the instruction of succeeding (excluding some really odd classes where the lecturers just cannot be bothered upfront). Read it, sleep on it, breathe it, and live for it. You will get an A if you follow the path.

 

Eggs are cute and yummy. Eat it, don’t be IT.

Go to office hours. Use your lecturers’ and tutors’ time so they don’t sit in their office and twiddle their thumbs.

 I wonder how many times I could’ve prevented a tragedy of failed essays/reports if students actually show up during my office hours and ask me relevant questions. The ultimate truth is this: your teaching staff wants you to succeed. This is a genuine claim. We are not evil people who want to see you suffer (and also, we would like to avoid lengthy paperwork associated with students failing their assessment). Go to see your teaching team if you are unsure about your assessment or approach to them. They are paid to teach and answer your questions. And yes, you paid for that too! Ask away, my friend.

Do your research correctly and efficiently. Don’t just google crap that doesn’t suit.

To write a good report/essay, you need to research. Use Wikipedia if you really must to gain a general impression of something, but NEVER EVER CITE Wikipedia as a credible source as it is not. Use google scholar wisely. Use a Boolean search to define your field of research. Ask a lovely librarian if they could help you find something specific. Or, if you have time, attend one of those helpful research workshops. If you are still confused, come and speak to Joe, and he will get you up to speed! Look at that! All these options of advancing your research.

Cite your resources correctly. Don’t become an accidental plagiarist.

This is probably the trickiest of them all. Referencing is an art. Learning to reference correctly and consistently will lead you straight to the heaven of citation, where all past and present scholars will bless your heart and give you good karma for the rest of your life. Use referencing software such as Zotero to manage all your reference. These tools will also help you automate your citations, so you don’t need to type them in one-by-one from dawn to dusk. If you are determined to do justice to the academic world, learn the actual way of citing stuff correctly. Most popular citation styles have style guides where they walk you through every aspect of their techniques. If you are confused, still, ask for Joe. His PhD has a gazillion of references, and he can do them with his eyes closed (ok, maybe not with my eyes closed).

Finally: Plan your assignment ahead. Don’t do it last minute or you will give Joe the right to say: ‘I’ve told you so’.

These assessments are designed to be completed over a specific period. When I say ‘specific’, I don’t mean two hours before the deadline. Do some planning at least two weeks before the deadline. This is because the entire process requires you to create something new. On top of that, you will have to revise and redraft. And let’s not forget about procrastination. These all add up and take time. Having good time management and a clear expectation as to how long these assessments will take to complete will help you in the long run.

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