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Study Skills: Tackling your assignment

After you have researched your topic, it is essential that you plan your assignment. You are now ready to plan your first draft.


Think of the main points, jot down what you intend to include and arrange them in a logical order.
Work on your draft, adding material, deleting parts which are irrelevant or repetative.  As you edit your work, keep the following in mind:
  • your assignment will need an introduction and a conclusion
  • is the material relevant?
  • are you answering the question?
  • are you developing your ideas and offering your interpretation of the topic.
Remember to refer constantly to the question and your plan

Common Structure
Although there is no set "formula" which can be applied to all formal essays, report, reviews or any written response to a question, your assignment should include:
  • An Introduction
  • A  Body
  • A Conclusion
  • introduce your case / argument/ contention
  • define the topic / terms central to the issue
  • outline the direction / point of view your assignment will take
  • Try to make the first sentence interesting, an example is to use a relevant quotation so that it grabs the reader's attention
  • Avoid saying  "I am going to show you / prove/explain". The reader should be able to work this out.
  • Don't write in the first person, example. "I think child abuse should be mandatory reported."
  • Avoid  using "I", "we", "you"
This is where you develop your theme or expand your argument. Each major theme or argument will require a paragraph or two and there should be a logical sequence between paragraphs, linking them together to lead up to the conclusion.

There should be a build up rather than a series of flat, even paragraphs.  As a general rule, deal with one idea per paragraph.

The introductory sentence of each paragraph should clearly indicate the idea / topic to be discussed/ developed in that paragraph.

  • Do not use abbreviations in your writing.
  • Avoid using slang, jargon, colloquialisms, cliches.
  • Avoid generalizations, always support what you say with evidence, quotations or examples.
  • Know the source and context of any quotations used.
  • Punctuate quotations correctly. 
  • Keep to the point and be relevant to the topic.
  • Vary the way you begin sentences and paragraphs
  • Vary the length of sentences.  You can make strong point with a shfort, sharp sentence, or support a point with a long detailed sentence.
  • Only include relevant materials
The Conclusion

The Conclusion is a natural rounding off of all that you have to say.  It should briefly summarize the points raised in the body of your assignment, evaluate the material presented and draw a conclusion. If appropriate you may also make recommendations.

  • Do not present new evidence in your conclusion.
  • Do not repeat your introduction in the conclusion.
  • Do not summarize your essay in the conclusion.
  • Read through your rough draft a number of times.
  • Critically examine what you have written.  read it as if it were someone else's and be just as honest with it.  Ask yourself " am I answering the question? Is the material relevant? Is there a logical  progression of ideas? is my expression concise, clear, fluent?  Are  my introduction and conclusion effective?
  • Check grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • Refer constantly to the question.
  • Ask a member of your family to read your assignment and  to offer suggestion for improvement. 



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