'If it's not on the marking criteria, it's not worth it!'
When I am given an assignment brief I always feel a sense of panic.
I think to myself, how am I going to possibly discuss a subject in 3,500 words as well as managing a home, children and successfully passing my placements?
I’m now a second year, but when I started my course I’d never written an assignment before. I had never used Harvard referencing. It was a completely new experience.
But it didn’t deter me, I always tried to stay positive and I tried my best.
So how did I do it?
I attended all my lectures and tried to make as many relevant notes as possible. I looked at the reference guides that were available via the university website as I needed to understand what referencing was all about. I didn’t want to get caught up in plagiarism.
I found studying the marking criteria and looking at the weight of the marking helpful, the higher the mark for that element the more detail I would give. I made a plan of what I wanted to include and used this as a guide for my writing. This was to structure my work and most importantly keep to the point. If it’s not on the marking grid I won’t be marked for it!
Evidence is always necessary to support what you write, so where did I get it from? Books, internet and journals. Always remembering to keep it relevant and to the point and most importantly current. I found paraphrasing quotes helpful as this allowed me to show that I understood the research I was reading.
The most important thing I needed while writing an assignment was minimal distractions and pressure. Sounds simple in theory but in practice it can sometimes be impossible. But with lots of forward planning, I managed it.
Once I started to write I soon started to run out of words - so how do you decide what is relevant what’s not? I found proof reading really helpful. The more I read it the more changes I would make. And by using my essay plan I was able to tick the marking criteria boxes.
Thanks to these techniques I thankfully passed all my assignments last year without any resists.
Do you have any tips for writing assignments?
Nicola Pountney is a second year student studying adult nursing at Wolverhampton University.
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