5 tips on how to start your assignment

5 tips on how to start your assignment

We all know the feeling when someone mentions the word ‘assignment’ and the feeling of dread sweeps over you. Maybe you put it aside for now. After all, the due date is three weeks away. Sound familiar?

Don’t sweat, it’s all about how you approach it. Doing an assignment is a process, these tips might help get you started and hopefully avoid last-minute stress and struggles.

1. Set realistic goals and reminders

Make goals for your study – how many days do you have, and what will you get done each day or each week? Today, will you get your plan done? Two hundred words finished? Break it down into achievable chunks. Be realistic and update your plan as you go. Things change, you might have to make room for a family dinner, holiday, or another assignment.

When’s the due date? Put it on a calendar. Put another reminder a week before that. And also a reminder the week before that. Don’t put pressure on your memory. You’ve got other things to remember. Make that date and your goals visible. If you’re prepared, it won’t sneak up on you.

2. Start when you’re feeling fresh

Make it easier on yourself – start when you’re fresh and focused. This might be different for everyone. Some people are fresher after soccer practice or after dinner and some prefer early mornings. Find the best time and make it regular. Recent studies suggest that it’s better to do work in short blocks (say 50 minutes), more often. This will help you stay fresh and work productively.

3. Clarify what is required

Make sure you start by understanding the question. Break it down and circle or highlight the key words. Identify the key concepts and ideas in your topic and if your unsure or anything, ask someone – a teacher, your parents, a friend or an expert. Knowing what is required right from the start – even reading the question out loud – will help you source the right research material, feel more confident, and form your own ideas and work.

4. Be flexible an learn as you go

Are you keeping the assignment question in mind? As you start your research and re-read texts, you might discover new things that change what you think about the answer to the question. You can’t change evidence, but you can change your point of view, or acknowledge a different perspective.

5. Get something on paper

If you’re really stuck and just can’t get that first sentence out, start by writing notes and ideas down. Here are some creative tasks that might help you start:

  • Take notes under common headings and find themes in your notes
  • Brainstorm your ideas on paper around keywords in the question
  • Write ideas on notecards and put them into piles or columns to create your assignment structure and paragraphs
  • Read the question, then read your planned responses out loud as if answering someone in front of you.

If you’d like to run any questions or ideas by one of our expert Subject Specialists, we’re always here to help. Our Specialists can help with everything from assignment writing, to grammar to research. 

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