Having your very first assignments at university can be stressful.
It’s often that you feel as if you won’t manage to meet the criteria because you’re not used to this type of work, or the deadline worries you, or the idea that you just don’t understand the task. There could be so much unnecessary pressure – all you think about is the fact that you will be marked, that you don’t want a bad grade.
But what if I tell you that doing assignments can be quite interesting and not exhausting at all? The key moment is to try not to see an assignment as just another obligation, but as another opportunity to learn new things and explore new areas of your field of study. After that realisation, it’s all about finding your own way, your own techniques and realising what works best for you. This could take a while, but in the meantime you can start by:
Whether it’s a complex or a super easy topic, it’s good to recap the information, to repeat some essentials parts and to go through your old notes as well as to make new ones
Choose an essay topic you are actually interested in. Once the topics are released, go through the list and think about them and choose the one that is most relevant to you – this means the research process won’t be hard but enjoyable.
Recap the lectures. Whether it’s a complex or a super easy topic, it’s good to recap the information, to repeat some essentials parts and to go through your old notes as well as to make new ones. This way you will be prepared for the essay and by summarising the key concepts you will understand them better and you will be able to contribute more to the issue.
Research. Try to find the readings that work best for you – instead of using only the recommended ones, go to the library and search for relevant readings or do it online. If you are well read then you will have a good academic base and the writing process will be easier.
Focus on the introduction, as this is a vital part of the essay
Make a good plan. After doing your readings, highlight the essential information and take notes, then come up with a plan. Be mindful of the purpose of your essay, about the arguments you’re using and use the resources and the information as tools to prove a certain point.
Start at least 10 days before the submission date. If it’s not a timed essay, try to start as soon as possible, just to be sure. Focus on the introduction, as this is a vital part of the essay. Know your arguments well and try to use them in a relevant and understandable way through academic resources.
Keep going, even if you are not using the right words whilst writing. You can always go back and fix the sentences, and think of better ways to express your ideas. Don’t expect to have the perfect academic work right away!
When you consider your work to be finished, read through it and imagine you are the examiner who’s going through it
Proofread. This is probably the most important moment which everyone seems to forget. When you consider your work to be finished, read through it and imagine you are the examiner who’s going through it. Try to grade your work objectively and to spot the weak parts of it. Use your critical thinking not only when writing it, but also when reading it.
Stay calm. After all, we are all here at university to learn how to do things. If we already knew how to do them and were experts, we wouldn’t be here, would we? Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and use your time wisely. If the library is the place where you can focus, go there and do work until you don’t feel like studying. If your room is inspiring and cosy, make yourself a hot chocolate and study for as long as you want to.
It’s all about you and your own studying habits, which you have enough time to develop. You got this!
Last modified: 4th November 2019