Written by Holly Thomas-Wrightson on Monday June 1, 2020
Starting a new qualification is an exciting time: new experiences, the prospect of acquiring knowledge and developing your skills. However, it can bring its own challenges, even outside of the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in currently. Receiving an assignment may see that initial excitement quickly becoming anxiety and concern.
Even with the best preparation, tackling an assignment is a daunting challenge. Whether you’re fresh out of traditional learning or it’s been some time since hearing the school bell, sitting in front of the blank page can nevertheless feel intimidating.
To overcome this feeling, we’ve compiled some important things to remember when undertaking your assignment, not only to help you get a good mark, but to also make sure you get more from studying with ICA. After all, while it’s desirable to aim for a good mark, the most valuable thing is to understand the course material and come away with information and skills that are going to help you in the future.
Read it carefully and pay attention to the wording, as this is fundamental to forming your answer. For instance, if the question asks you to analyse then your answer should be crafted accordingly, and be different to one that asks you to describe, investigate or examine. For Diploma assignments, this is crucial in ensuring you are answering the question with sufficient depth and detail of analysis and evaluation of the topic being discussed.
Make a notes page or use sticky notes to work out the key points you want to cover and in what order, to break down the question and work out the outlines for each section of the document.
Don’t make the misstep of trying to rush to meet the word count or getting caught up in showing off your knowledge; these can result in you wasting valuable words on waffle, when they would be better used covering topics relevant to the question.
Use headings and subheadings to make your work more accessible and look neater for the reader, as well as helping you focus on what you’re doing in each section. It may even be possible to use the structure of the question as headings, for instance if it specifies required areas of discussion.
Reading around your topics and finding information from different sources will help nourish your understanding, provide a different perspective and develop your skills in referencing, collecting, collating and evaluating sources.
However, make sure to reference sources properly when including other people’s content or ideas. Plagiarism is never acceptable.
Whenever you read something interesting, such as quotes, case studies or news articles, keep a note of what it was and where you found it, including a link if it’s online, or a book title etc., so you can look back over it when you need it. Plus it makes referencing simpler when you’re writing future assignments to have the details to hand.
Leaving your assignment until the last minute will not help you create your best work, nor give you a positive learning experience. Likewise, working in a dedicated space which is tidy, comfortable and free from distractions will help you to focus.
This will give you the chance to take a break before a final edit. Not only will looking at it with fresh eyes make it easier to notice any spelling and grammar mistakes to be corrected or unimportant information to be trimmed, but you’re likely to find clearer ways of getting your point across. If you have someone else who can look over it for you, that’s even better.
Last minute technical issues before your deadline are a stressful note on which to finish an assignment.
Following these tips will give you a firmer footing and more confidence in tackling your ICA assignment. Don’t forget to use resources such as the ICA Assignment handbook and student support videos available on our learning platform for further help.
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