Essay or report planning doesn’t start a week before the deadline. If you do start that late, you’re setting yourself up for panic, stress and a lower mark than you could have achieved. We’ve gathered together some advice on assignment planning and writing.
For more information, watch our short film on assignment planning.
Start working on assignments as early as possible, ideally in the second or even first week of the semester.Although you won’t have covered everything you need yet, you can start collecting and collating information right from the start.
Find your assignment details on Moodle or ask your programme leader if you want them early. Once you have the brief, you can start putting the relevant information together. Start by gathering anything you think will help you write an assignment in a folder.
Reading and researching
If your assignment requires you to answer a question, look for the answer in multiple texts. The best approach is to answer the question with a multitude of arguments. Use references in the texts you read to broaden your research. This is a great way to find extra resources if you’re struggling to find information about your subject.
Organise your notes by compiling a mindmap. Information about how to create effective mind maps can be found in the Note-taking section of this site.
Before writing a draft, map out a structure. This could be as simple as a bullet point list of the order. To be even more organised, for each paragraph, take a piece of paper (A1 is recommended) and arrange the notes you have gathered for this section together on one sheet.
Stick these onto the paper so you can see all your notes for each paragraph at once. You will also be able to use these as references in your essay or assignment. Take a look at our information on how to reference in the Harvard Referencing section.
Once you’ve planned and organised all your thoughts, you can get writing! Remember to review, revise and edit as often as you can. It never hurts to check something a few times.
Once you’ve written a draft, don’t look at it for a few days. That way when you go back to read it, you will have a clear mind and will be able to see any mistakes or areas you could expand or explain more clearly.