The expectation from your lecturers, and grade boundaries for university assignments, can seem a million miles away from what you were used to at college. But don’t panic, once you understand the basics, you’ll be well on the way to boosting your grades!
Depending on the course you’re on, and if you’re writing an assignment or an essay, the structure required will vary. Some lecturers will provide you with a format or template to guide the structure of your work – others might not be so kind! If not, don’t worry – there are a few key elements to consider.
The typical structure of an assignment consists of:
- Abstract/ executive summary
- Content page
- Literature review/ analysis
Remember to speak to your lecturer, and others on your course, to get a feel for what is expected!
For university assignments, you’ll often be expected to back up what you’re saying with evidence. Lots of evidence – always from credible sources. You don’t have to go full on Sherlock Holmes looking for clues though. Evidence can come from a variety of places, and lots of different formats. To get you started, try exploring:
- Academic Journals (these are usually available from your uni library)
- Google Scholar
- Emerald insight
- Relevant textbooks or novels - your course reading list is a great place to start!
- Websites, blogs and online newspapers
- PowerPoint slides from lectures
- Notes you’ve made from lectures and seminars
When using sources to back up your points in assignments, you’re required to reference them. It’s important you understand the rules when citing sources, to avoid any issues with plagiarism.
There are many different referencing styles that can be used, check with your university or school which style is required, universities often provide pdf documents on their website to help you with referencing.
For extra help with referencing try citethisforme and Neils toolbox. All you do is select the referencing style required and enter the details of your source. Easy! Another tip when it comes to referencing is to do it as you go along. Don’t leave it till the end and end up stressing yourself out as the deadline looms!
Spelling and grammar
Take time out at the end to check all your grammar and spelling. A quick spell check or check on Grammarly won’t take long and might just help you get a better mark!
Ask for help
Don’t just sit there thinking you have no one to ask for help, you’re paying £9000 or even more for the privilege of studying for a degree, so use all the resources on offer! Ask your lectures for help, speak to seminar teachers for feedback, and let them know if you’re struggling. Some universities even provide workshops for advice with writing assignments.
Don’t get disheartened if you don’t initially get the grades you want, speak up, take your feedback on board and keep trying - you can do this!