Seven Tips to Help You Produce Excellent Coursework

So, you’re about to start your first assignment. Don’t panic! Believe it or not, coursework is there to make all the new information you’ve been given easier to digest. It encourages independent study while sharpening research skills.

While coursework comes in a variety of forms, depending on which subject you are studying, the approach should always be the same.

Whether you’re facing a short report or a 5,000-word essay, these tips will help you to produce excellent work, every time.

Understand the objective before you begin
This may sound a little obvious, but you would be surprised how many people start working on something without properly understanding the question. What is the assignment asking you to do? What topics does it cover? Get this clear in your head before you do anything. If you’re unsure, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your tutor for guidance.

Research, research, research
Once you know what your assignment is all about, be careful not to dive in with the very first thought that springs to mind. Think about it carefully and, most importantly, do your research. Go to the library, use the internet and interview people where you need to. Make sure all your sources are reputable and keep note of anything you include for your bibliography.

Plan your essay or report carefully
Anything you write should have an easy-to-follow beginning, middle and end structure. Beware of going off topic, no matter how interesting you find the point. Keeping your work short and relevant will also make it easier to read for whoever is grading your paper – always a good thing.

Manage your time
Don’t spend all your time researching just one part of your assignment. A well-rounded piece takes careful time management. This can be difficult if you are very interested in one area and find yourself reading more than you have to! Remind yourself that you can read as much as you like in your spare time – once your balanced and detailed report has been handed in.

Do not plagiarise
Would anyone notice if you copied just one sentence from that source without crediting it? The answer is yes, so make sure never to copy any of your work. It is important to keep track of what you are reading and what is feeding into your work in order to avoid any plagiarism – whether on purpose or not. If in doubt, always credit something in your references.

Review and edit your work
Read through your work to check for obvious typos and mistakes. Read it again to make sure all of your references and quotations are accurate. Read it a third time to make any writing style changes. Could you have said that better? Is that point clear enough? It may also be helpful to have someone else read your work and offer constructive criticism.

Make sure it fits all presentation requirements
If you have been asked to write your essay in Helvetica font, size 11, don’t write it in Calibri size 10. This also goes for any referencing, word count, line spacing or paragraph guidelines you have been given. It may sound like a small thing, but how you present your work is important. It also shows (from the second your marker begins to read your paper) that you have followed all the instructions carefully.

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