Large pieces of coursework can seem extremely daunting, especially when it comes to writing your final project or your dissertation without the pressure of a deadline. We’ve put together 5 top tips to help you stay calm and keep motivated to tackle that assignment in the most efficient way.
1. Understand and research the topic
This may sound a little obvious, but you would be surprised how many people start working on something without properly understanding the question. Understanding the question is very important! Read it 100 times if that’s what it takes, but make sure that you know the question inside out. What is the assignment asking you to do? What topics does it cover? Get this clear in your head before you do anything. If you’re unsure, our tutors are here to help.
Go through the relevant material for the topic and review your notes to make sure you have at least a rough understanding of the topic. Once you have this covered, start with your further reading list to explore the academic literature on the topic.
This enables you to make sure that you know the topic you are covering fully, leaving you feeling more confident about your work. It makes sure that there won’t be any knowledge gaps within your work, which you could get marked down for. Do not get too intimidated by unfamiliar jargon, for now, just try to make sense of what they are saying.
Do the “future you” a favour and note down any particularly relevant bits and the relevant bibliographic details. It might be useful to compile all this information in a separate Word document. This way when you come to writing your bibliography and referencing section, you’ll have all the information you need in one place.
2. Plan how long it’s going to take
Our course assignments do not have a deadline; however, it is good to plan how much time you need to devote to complete a piece of work. This way you will work most efficiently as you’ll know how much time you need to spend doing each task.
If you require more structure to learn and complete assignments, we can provide you with an IPL (Individual Learning Plan) which your tutor will develop according to your goals. This will involve a set amount of studying hours to complete per week and self-set deadlines for assignments, although we will never enforce deadlines on you or email you to chase up assignments.
As coursework is primarily a research exercise, spending enough time researching the topic is crucial, so don’t skimp on it and go straight to the write-up. Use as many resources as you can: books, journals, the internet, and anything else you think might be relevant. Once you have completed your research the writing stage beings.
3. Plan your assignment carefully
Having a clear plan of what you need to do from start to finish is important. This helps you ensure that you don’t miss out on anything that you would want to include throughout your coursework.
A rule of thumb that can sometimes be utilised is to have three main ideas to develop in your essay. Your assignment should include these ideas in a nutshell, along with your conclusion. A tried-and-true formula usually used by university students for developing each idea is to first introduce factual information (usually things you will have picked up from the material provided), then to cite one or two sources that agree with the idea presented, along with their justification. Then you can provide disputing evidence from someone who disagrees with those studies.
You can further develop this by rebutting or accepting their point with an explanation that you came up with, preferably backed up by referencing a source that provides a similar argument to your idea. Remember that your marker won’t be looking for you to “reinvent the wheel”, but rather have a thought out and developed argument backed up by relevant research.
4. Ask for help
Your tutors are there to help you so don’t be afraid to ask! If you find yourself struggling with an essay plan or a certain concept or a method, don’t suffer in silence and contact your tutor. They will be able to give you advice and guide you on what you should do.
Sometimes things can be confusing and unclear before you’ve even started your assignment. That’s de-motivating right from the outset. Make sure you communicate with your tutor and get your questions answered. The clearer the directions are, the faster you finish the journey!
5. Do a final pre-submission check
Editing is one of the last things you do, but it’s one of the most important. Losing points to typos on a well-researched and persuasively argued assignment is a frustrating thing.
Check your work multiple times for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. When you’ve read through the same piece of work a couple of times, mistakes might be hard to spot so it is always useful to get a friend to read over your work as well.
Go and grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake while they do their proofreading. Then come back and look at it again. Compare your essay with the criteria to make sure you’ve answered the question. Keep polishing your essay until you feel ready to submit.
So, there you have it. A five-point approach to getting started early, staying on track, and handing in work you can be proud of. Try it next time, and good luck.
"You are provided with all the resources you need and the support is fantastic. I would recommend Unicourse to anyone looking for distance learning at their own pace."
"I have enjoyed my course so far with Unicourse, I have found it a lot more flexible and can fit it around my hectic lifestyle a lot easier than attending college with assignment deadlines. Any problem I have had with the course have been answered very quickly. I would recommend Unicourse to others who are busy but want to carry on with education."
"From the start of the enrolment phase, UniCourse admin team made everything simple and clear how the course would be laid out with the program ‘Moodle’ I would be using. The course is a very convenient way to study even if you are already fully employed like myself and lecturers were easily contactable and friendly. Overall I had pleasant experience with unicourse and would recommend them to anyone looking to improve on their education"
"My dream of finishing my studies has been possible only because of Unicourse, they have given me the opportunity to be flexible with my studies and hold a full time job all at the same time. I would highly recommend them for anyone looking to study and work at the same time. I have found them to be very helpful with all my queries and they are quick to help me solve my problems. This is so convenient for me I can study in my own time and in my own home no need to travel to college at a certain time. After finishing my current HNC course I hope to start HND with Unicourse they are fantastic i am very pleased with them."
"With a full time Job and 2 very young kids a normal 9-5 course was not an option. It was becoming increasingly difficult to better my career options. Finding Unicourse on the internet has really opened up my learning potential. Their professionalism, knowledge and flexibility are really first class. To sum them up in one word.... Awesome!"
"I have found Unicourse to not only be a very convenient way to study as I am a self employed full time electrician, but also the course tutor to be very helpful. Whether I require help by phone, email or a live web session he is always available. The tutor also returns marked work very quickly allowing me plenty of time to make any adjustments. I have found Unicourse to afford me the best opportunity to progress my career whilst also continuing to work full time. "
"I have really enjoyed my experience so far with Unicourse.org even obtaining a Distinction on my first module. The staff and lecturers are quick and helpful with their responses to any and all enquiries and the video conferencing platform is very helpful when discussing intricate subject matter. I would highly recommend the course to anyone wishing to broaden their horizons whilst holding down a full time job."
"Great tutors, easy to follow workbooks, great support, would highly recommend."
"Time and place were severe obstacles to me achieving a HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Thankfully, the flexible options offered by Unicourse have allowed me to undertake my HND from home with them while working full-time. They have personalised my HND, allowing me to choose from many optional units. The traditional colleges I looked up did not offer option choices at all. I have also managed to complete my HND with Unicourse in a fraction of the time that would have been necessary at other colleges. I am really pleased that I made the right choice. The support I got was fantastic."
"The flexibility of the courses and the professionalism of the staff make UniCourse a great way to improve your personal skills with a chance of a future career."
"If you want to succeed I personally suggest you apply to UniCourse. Why? After many years away from study I did my HNC. It was hard work but with superb help and guidance I obtained 8 Distinctions. This year I am doing my HND in Electrical & Electronic Engineering with UniCourse. Again, UniCourse are pulling out all the stops with high quality assignments, a one-to-one videoconferencing platform, incredible feedback and comprehensive support when needed."