How To Do Well In University Assignments

The type of writing intended in assignments for university differs widely from the assignments at school or college. University assignments follow a significant structure and writing pattern that has no similarity to the ones that has been done previously. The assignments are written in persuasive language with a formal tone. Each assignment should be presented with an argument, supported by adequate evidences and facts that reflect the genuine efforts of the student. Here are some good assignment writing tips.

Types of University Assignments

Academic projects in university encompass wide range of assignments. Students are expected to encounter each of the different types of university assignments throughout the period of post graduation degree.The various types of university assignments are considered in details below:

  • Customized essay
  • Research proposals
  • Dissertations
  • Reports
  • Case studies
  • Reflective writing
  • Term paper

Important factors to consider

Writing an academic assignment for university is not an easy task as it seems. The students should consider the following key points while writing the university assignments:

  • Purpose– Make sure to demonstrate the rationale for the topic you are intended to frame an assignment on. Outline the critical areas, key aspects and objectives in order to comprehend the assignment to the reader.
  • Audience- While writing your assignment,make sure to connect well with the reader. Impart genuine efforts to convince the reader by substantial evaluation of arguments. Place your self as a reader and make relevant changes.
  • Language- University assignment is an academic piece of writing and accepts academic tone of writing. Use simple and articulate vocabulary than being fancy in your paper.
  • Structure- Assignments for university varies according to the academic discipline and tasks. Each assignment follows a significant format that does not overlap with one another. Make sure to carry out the specific format of tasks specified by the professor.

10 Tricks to Write your University Assignments Effectively

It is not surprising that students new to university feel hesitant while writing their first assignment. However, a successful assignment can be produced on knowing what is expected from the given task. Needless to say, well-written assignments cannot be crafted overnight; rather it needs to be accomplished through proper planning and pre-writing stages. We highlight 10 good assignment writing tips to carry out your assignments for university.

1. Plan your time

Preparing top-quality assignments is a time-consuming task. Draw a timeline for the key stages in order to make your task measurable. Frame significant time period for each of the tasks shown below: The key tasks that should be included in the timeline are the following:

  • Allot considerable time to research and find information
  • Read the topics and collect information on which you are intended to write the assignment
  • Group, sort and order the information gathered within the stipulated time frame
  • Now it’s time to develop your first writing draft
  • On the very next stage, redraft and prepare your final version
  • Assign significant time to plan the references
  • Compile the references in the list
  • The last task will consider editing and proofreading of your written material.

Moreover, you can save considerable time by planning the assignments as soon you receive the course information.

2. Collect information

A good way to start gathering information for the given task is to revisit your tutorial or lecture notes and course materials. While searching for information, make sure to find the key concepts, principles, ideas andtheories that would relate well to the assignment topic. We help you extend your research beyond the tutorials and lecture notes in the following ways:

  • Take a tour of your university library or contact the librarian for better reference.
  • Make sure to use information from reputable and authoritative source publishers. Avoid using websites such as Wikipedia or encyclopedia where most of the resources are unreliable.
  • Consider journal articles over textbooks. Textbooks are useful for gathering a general overview and consume a lot of time. On the other hand, journals are updated and have particular focus on the topic.
  • Identify key authors for the topic you are preparing the assignment on. Check out their databases and find out what innovative arguments they have discussed on your topic.
  • Be sure of the number of sources that you are asked to implement by the instructor. Students are often found to over research and get submerged in a mountain of information while finding ways to deal with the assignment.

3. Read the collected information

Read and make notes while you prepare to write the assignment. Keep in mind the information you are looking for and the purpose of it. Do not indulge in undirected reading that not only consumes time but also keep you away from productive activities. Here we focus on some basic tips that will help you manage your reading load and assist you in making notes.

  • Start reading the information selectively and avoid understanding everything included in the material. Read the selective parts that are needed in the assignment and understand the background.
  • By understanding the background of topic, gain an overview of what is intended in the imminent paragraphs
  • Now proceed with a critical approach and start reading the information with an enquiring mind. Be open to different perspectives on the argument and avoid accepting concepts and opinions as universal truths.
  • There is no point proceeding the reading session unless you understand what the author has intended to say. Stop in between and ask questions to yourself. Re-read the texts if you find it hard to comprehend. Do not forget to clarify your understanding with your batch mates or lecturer for better outcome.

4. Make notes

  • Once you start finding keyideas and concepts, start taking notes of it
  • Don’t waste time copying the chunks of texts, rather summarize the ideas in your words
  • Make sure you do not change the actual meaning while altering the phrase.
  • Make notes of reference details that include, name of publisher, place and date of publication etc. Tracking down the details later may consume a lot of time.

5. Interpret the topic or assignment questions

Try to interpret the complex questions of your assignments in the following ways.

  • Analyze the topic in-depth, identifying all relevant issues
  • Assess the issues and identify its cause and effects, strengths and weaknesses, implications and impacts
  • Analyze all the issues with acontrasting and comparing approach. This helps you to evaluate their features in common and areas of diverge
  • Treat the questions and issues in an analytical way and evaluate them critically
  • Define and clarify issues with proper illustrations of examples.

6. Establish the thesis statement

Thesis statement defines the goal statement of the assignment. A thesis statementis the central proposition of the assignment that successfully captures the reader’s attention.

  • The thesis statement should be provided in the introduction that explicitly states the conclusion of the assignment question
  • It gives an analytical tone to the assignment
  • Establish the thesis statement to present substantial evidences and reasoning
  • All of the arguments must support and relate to the thesis statement.

7. Start with Introduction

Introduction is the key aspect that leads the reader into further discussion. Follow the below mentioned points in order to make the introduction concise with precise focus on the issue.

  • Introduce brief context for the questions highlighted in the assignment
  • Clearly state the purpose or goal statement of the assignment
  • Avoid repeating the assignment questions
  • Advance the importance of topic to persuade the reader
  • Present a clear argument or thesis statement that would indicate the scope of discussions
  • Present a transition to the imminent discussion.

8. Discussion

After outlining the assignment in the introduction part, make your way to construct a cohesive discussion. Arrange all necessary points in a logical order by following the direction given below.

  • Present your arguments with sound reasoning in relation to the theories present in pre-existing literatures
  • The discussion should be segmented into a series of paragraphs. Each section should advance with the focus on the central argument
  • All evidences and facts should relate and support the central argument
  • All the ideas should interlink significantly than presenting as isolated units.
  • The reader should readily connect with the ideas intended by the writer.

9. Write the conclusion

The conclusion tells the reader where the assignment has arrived. In university assignments, the conclusion should not be more than one-tenth of the overall count. Your assignment conclusion should have the following features:

  • Draw an unambiguous conclusion from the arguments that have been discussed in the entire assignment
  • Summarize the major discussion points briefly
  • Conveya final message to the reader by evaluating the overall discussion.

10. Referencing

Unlike assignments that were done in high school and college, references play asignificant role in university assignments.The primary concern of reference is to acknowledge the source of information and ideas in the body of assignment. Let’s throw some light on the technique of referencing in assignments for university.

  • Arrange the references in an alphabetical list at the end of the assignment
  • Referencing are usually considered in two forms:
  1. End-texting referencing
  2. In-texting referencing

In-text referencing appears on the body of assignments with authors and date entries of the source, while on the contrary, end-text referencing appears at the end of the writing section.

  • APA, MLA,Harvard and Chicago are the various referencing styles used in university assignments. Make sure to use the style that has specified by the instructor
  • If your instructor does not stipulate a significant referencing style, use the APA style of referencing for easy accomplishments.

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Step-by-step guide to assignment writing

When you’re undertaking tertiary study there are often a lot of assignments and writing to do, which can be daunting at first. The most important thing to remember is to start - and start early.

If you give yourself enough time to plan, do your research, write and revise your assignment you won’t have to rush to meet your deadline. Once you've started, you’ll also have something down on paper or on screen that you can improve on.

Using the steps below will help your assignments to become do-able, interesting and even enjoyable.

Step 1: Plan

Step 2: Analyse the question

Step 3: Draft an outline

Step 4: Find information

Step 5: Write

Step 6: Edit and proofread

Step 1: Plan

Planning your assignment will help you get focused and keep you on track.

  • Check how much your assignment is worth and what percentage of the final mark it is. This will help you decide how much time to spend on it.
  • Check the marking schedule to see what your tutor will be looking for when they mark your work and how the marks will be assigned. This will help you know what to focus on. If there is no marking schedule check the assignment question to see if the information is there.
  • Think about what you need to do to complete your assignment (for example, what research, writing drafts, reference checking, reviewing and editing, etc). Break these up into a list of tasks to do.
  • Give each task a deadline, working backwards from your assignment due date.

Step 2: Analyse the question

Before you can answer a question, you need to know what it means. Read it slowly and carefully, and try to understand what's expected of you. Ask yourself:

  • What's the question about? What's the topic? 
  • What does the question mean?
  • What do I have to do?

To help you understand the question, try rewriting it using your own words using the format below:

‘This assignment is about ______________________ I have to___________________ ’

When you are analysing the question:

  • Look for words that tell you what to do (instructional words). For example, analyse, compare, contrast, etc. 
  • Check the meaning of the words used. 
  • Look for topic words, which tell you what you have to write about.
  • Look for restricting words, which limit the topic and make it more specific.

You can also check for additional information about the assignment and what’s expected of you in the course materials or on your course page or forums.

Tip: When you find something about the assignment on a course page or in a forum save a copy of it. If you save all the information you gather about the assignment in one file you will have all the information in one place when you start writing.

More about instruction words:

List of instruction words - Otago University website (opens in new window)

Question wording quiz - Language and Learning Online, Monash University website (opens in new window)

Step 3: Draft an outline

Drafting an outline will give you a structure to follow when it comes to writing your assignment. The type of assignment you are doing will give you a broad structure, but you should also check the question and marking schedule, as they will help you understand how the lecturer expects the topic to be structured, what must be included, and which sections are worth the most marks.

From there you can create your outline, using headings and gaps for the information you have to fill in.

Types of Assignments

Essay outlines

Most of the assignments you will have to do are essays, which generally follow the same basic structure:

  • Introduction (+ 10% of the assignment) – This is where you introduce the topic and the main points, and briefly explain the purpose of the assignment and your intended outcome or findings. It is a good idea to write the introduction last, so that you know what to include.
  • Discussion (+ 80% of the assignment) – This section is divided into a number of paragraphs. Decide what points you want to discuss and include a new paragraph for each main point. A paragraph usually starts with a topic sentence stating the main idea, followed by supporting evidence and examples. In your outline try and include draft topic sentences and a few ideas outlining what you want to include in each section.
  • Conclusion (+ 10% of the assignment) – Conclusions briefly restate your main argument, evaluate your ideas and summarise your conclusions. They don’t introduce any new information.

Step 4: Find information

Before you start writing, you need to research your topic and find relevant and reliable information. You will find some in your course materials and recommended readings, but you can also try:

Once you have found information, the next step will be to evaluate it to ensure it is right for your assignment. For more on how to researching and evaluating information go to:

Step 5: Write

Once you've found the information you need it’s time to bring it altogether and write your assignment.

Write your first draft

  • Use your outline and fill in the gaps, writing your main points for each section. 
  • Write freely, getting as much down as you can without worrying about the wording being 100% right. 
  • You may find it easiest to start with the conclusion so that you know which direction your writing is heading, or the background. 
  • The introduction is often the hardest to write, so leave that till last. 
  • Don’t spend too much time trying to make this draft perfect as it will change!

Fine tune

  • Revise your first draft, and check that it makes sense and includes everything it needs to.
  • Fine tune the wording, and make sure your writing flows well.
  • Make sure you keep different copies of your drafts as you may want to go back to them. 
  • Leave the writing for a day, read it, and fine tune again.
  • Compile your bibliography or reference list.

Academic writing

How to use APA referencing

Step 6: Edit and proofread

Once you've written your assignment, you can improve it by editing and proofreading, but before you do take a break. Even a short break helps you to get some distance from your work so that you can check your assignment with a fresh eye.

Look at the big picture

  • Have you answered the question you were set? Check your assignment against the marking schedule as well as the question.
  • Is the structure correct?
  • Have you included all relevant parts? For example, the title page, introduction, conclusion, reference list?
  • Is the content logically arranged?
  • Does your assignment read well, with each section flowing smoothly on to the next? A good way to check this is to read it aloud.
  • Have you used your own words and acknowledged all your sources?
  • Is your assignment well presented?

Check the details

  • Have you used academic English (if required)?
  • Check the grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Don’t just use a spell checker (it won’t pick everything up).
  • Check your referencing - have you acknowledged all work that isn't your own? Is your APA referencing correct?
  • Are your pages numbered?
  • Have you included your name, student ID, the assignment details and the date on each page?

Tip: If possible, ask a friend or family member to proofread your assignment, as it can be difficult to see mistakes in your own work. 

More about editing and proofreading:

Editing and proofreading - Massey University website (opens in new window)

Editing and proofreading - The Writing Center, University of North Carolina website (opens in new window)

Before you submit your assignment, print it out and check it one last time. It’s often easier to spot errors in print than on screen.

Once you’re happy, submit your assignment.

Submitting your assignment

Related information

Research and reading

Types of assignments

Referencing and avoiding plagiarism

Copyright and disclaimer information

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