Eimear Dodd shows you how to start that assignment the right way.
Assignments are a necessary and important part of college life. Ideally, we’d all be super organized and have them ready weeks in advance. However, that’s not always possible. Here are ten tips to help you start your assignments.


1. Find out about the course assessment.

Lecturers will normally explain early in term about the assignments, deadline dates, and exams. If they don’t, ask.

2. Make sure to read through the requirements.

Check and double-check that you are clear about what’s being asked. Talk to your lecturer or seminar tutor as early as possible to clarify anything that’s confusing or unclear.

3. Check the deadline.

And check again. Is there a certain time it needs to be in by? How do you submit? If it’s a presentation, what date and time will you be speaking? Unfortunately, deadlines for different modules can cluster together, particularly towards the end of term and know in advance when work is due can help to avoid undue stress.

4. Think about what materials are needed to do the assignment.

Do you need to arrange lab time or access to certain equipment? For group projects, when is it convenient for everyone to meet?


5. Visit the library as early as possible to start your research.

Remember other classes may be using the same resources so competition for textbooks can be fierce especially towards the end of the term. If you can’t get hold of the primary reading, then looking through the shelves can suggest possible alternatives. I’ve often found that the bibliographies of seminar readings can also be useful places to look for potential sources. The librarians may also be able to help you if you’re stuck.


6. Write a plan for your assignment.

It can be as simple as a list of five points to make. The list gives you a place to write down your ideas and start putting them into order.

7. Time to do the assignment.

Some people prefer to do work over time while others wait until the last minute. It’s easy to procrastinate but try to have a little bit of spare time for editing or corrections.

8. Familiarise yourself with the late essay policies.

If something unexpected happens that means you may not be able to submit the assignment on time, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the college’s policies on late submissions. Extensions tend to be available only in exceptional circumstances and may require supporting documents. For example, the college may ask you to produce a doctor’s note if you’ve been unwell.


9. Ask for help.

It’s also useful to know what supports are available to you as a student if you’re struggling and how to access them if needed.

10.Remember to take regular breaks and rest.

Assignments can be challenging but sometimes they can also be fun. Good luck!