One of the biggest jumps from A levels to university is that of assignments and how different those you submit for college are to those that you will be expected to submit at university. While university assingnments are much more difficult, helpful sites like edupeet might be able to give you the guidance you need to complete your essays to the best of your ability. Writing assignments at university is something you will have to do and it can be tough when you first start out, but hopefully these few tips will help make it that little bit easier.
1. Begin your assignment straight away.
It sounds obvious and slightly geeky, but it is one of the best things to do! It’s unlikely that you will be given all of your assignments in the one day from all your modules, but you can get them all within the same week which can feel rather stressful. So, beginning your assignments as soon as you get them will help to alleviate this pressure – even if it’s just research into the topic area of the assignment or gathering notes and journals you think may be useful. On average you will have between 3-6 assignments to work on and even spending an hour a day on each of them will help keep that looming deadline pressure down.
…show your lecturer that you have actually given the assignment some consideration and have tried to understand it.
2. What if you don’t understand the assignment?
Speak to your lecturers or, failing that, speak to your friends and class mates. There is nothing worse than staring at a blank screen being unable to write because you simply don’t understand what it is you need to write about. It certainly does not do your stress levels any good! Of course going to speak to your lecturer asking for the answer won’t work, so try and work it out for yourself, spend some time trying to figure out what it is the assignment is asking you, what aspects of the law can you pick out and if you have any ideas as to what it may be asking you and take these with you to see your lecturer. You may have been right and it will show your lecturer that you have actually given the assignment some consideration and have tried to understand it.
3. Don’t just use one source
The majority of law students will have access to an array of books and online resources. Look at as many of them as you can. There are a lot of books on all aspects of law and the same applies to cases and journals. So why not use them to your full advantage. Researching and reading articles, books and cases will only help to improve your knowledge and will ultimately improve your assignment grade. If you can’t find something you’re looking for then speak to your library staff and I’m sure they will be able to help with finding it.
4. Referencing – OSCOLA, Bibliographies and footnotes
The penalties for going over the word limit can be serious at some universities and it’s far better to be safe than sorry.
Bibliographies are where all the sources you have used are noted, usually in alphabetical order at the end of your assignment, whether they are books, journals or internet sources. Footnotes are used in the document itself and note where the information has come from, for example, a quote from a judgement would use a footnote including the full case citation it is from, the judge who said it and also the paragraph of the judgement it can be found in. Do this as you go – even if you put the full reference in your bibliography and footnote, you can always change it later. Also, if you have all the information already there, then you don’t have to spend hours searching to find it again. It also helps when alphabetising your bibliography. If you have all of the information there then it’s only a 10 minute job.
6. Re-drafting and Proofreading
It may sound horrible, it may sound time consuming, but it’s really worth it! Re-drafting is key when writing university assignments and it’s not as hard as you think! Re-drafting is the easiest part of the assignment writing process and actually takes very little time. Through re-drafting you cut out needless words, even full sentences and paragraphs from your assignments. In doing so you are making it just that little bit better every time. You also notice any mistakes or errors in your writing and in your references which, when corrected, could improve your grade dramatically. When you have finished your final draft it may be beneficial to have someone proofread it to check it makes sense and to double check there is not anything you have missed. Never submit your first draft of an assignment, it will rarely be your best work and may mean you don’t get that grade that you deserve.
7. Word count
Check your word count and what it includes. Most universities and lecturers will set a specific word limit for every assignment and will also notify you as to whether this limit also includes your referencing, if you are unsure of it then ask. The penalties for going over the word limit can be serious at some universities and it’s far better to be safe than sorry.
8.Don’t submit it too late!
Whether you’re doing an online or paper submission, do not leave it until the last minute to submit it. When everyone has the same assignment deadline you can guarantee there will be queues starting to form at the submission desk for paper copies early on – do not be in that line. This still applies for online submission: the software for submissions will become overwhelmed with students submitting their assignments and could potentially crash with the sudden influx. Finish and submit your assignment early, submit it online the night before it’s due and save yourself the stress. This is the same with paper submissions – go into university having printed and completed the assignment and hand it in straight away – it’s the best way!