all been there. Some of us more often than others! We ve received an assignment
or an essay and thought What the hell is this? You don t even know where to
start or if you ve even covered this topic before in your lessons. (You
definitely have, it was the same lesson you were scrolling through Instagram
and watching TikToks. Naughty!) But whether you like it or not, you need to
write this assignment to pass your course. I wish I could tell you that there
was a quick fix but unfortunately, in order to reap the fruits of you labour,
you need to put in that work! As
you can tell by the ever so catchy title, this is a guide to help those who
don t have an academic bone in their body. You may be reading this because you
are in one of the following groups of people: You
are not 18 yet and you need to be in full time education. School just wasn t
like education but you feel you have chosen the wrong course, but you need to
complete the course before you can choose what you re really interested in.
on the right course and you absolutely love it but, you still don t understand
how to write academically.Whichever
group you fall into, it doesn t matter. What matters is that you re here now!
You must make the most of the situation and believe it or not, you can still
develop the skills needed to pursue whatever it is you want. Yes! Even in a
situation that does not seem too favourable. This
guide will outline what needs to go into an academic piece of writing. Whether
it s an essay or an assignment, you will learn the key skills to write as if it
was second nature. As
a college lecturer, I have seen students make the same mistakes in their
writing. This is not necessarily their fault. I believe that if you are not
told, then how will you know? (Or maybe you have been told and you weren t
listening) So here I am telling you what all your teachers, lecturers and the
examining bodies are looking for in your assignments.
You Understood the Assignment?
cannot tell you the number of times I have looked at a students work and
thought I never taught this. What s even worse is the gut wrenching feeling I
get when the student has gone into so much detail, and I just cannot give them
the grade for it. That is a different type of pain. But this comes from not
understanding the assignment. What
students tend to do, is look at the criteria and just start typing away. Don t
get me wrong, we have deadlines we just want to meet and nothing great was ever
done without starting somewhere, right? But you need to start well in order to get
the right results. Otherwise, you guessed it, you ll have to do it all again. Take
Your Time! The criteria now may look like double-Dutch to you, but I promise
you if you follow these steps, it will all make sense. 1.
the criteria all the way through (if the assignment has more than one criteria,
read them all) 2.
it again but this time highlight the command verbs*
it one more time and highlight the key words. 4.
you have access to the course textbook and/or the class PowerPoint, ask
yourself which learning objective does this relate to? These
four steps are important because, how can you pass if you don t know what the
you understand the command verb? This has become my unofficial catch phrase. I
won t lie, I need a new one! Hopefully after publishing this book, I will! (One
can only hope!) What
is a command verb? I am so glad you asked. Well, a command
an order telling you that you must do something, and a verb
is an action
word. How does this relate to your work? Basically, your teachers and the
examination boards need you to be able to demonstrate a certain set of skills.
They are telling you that in order to pass this assignment, get this
qualification and go off be great I need to know that you can explain
physics or list
reasons why as a doctor, it is important to wash your
verbs tell you what details and how much you need to put into your assignment
to get the grades. Let s
have a look at the most common command verbs. and
what they mean
This type of question usually tests
your skill of remembering information. It can mean that you need to select
from a list of options, point something out or give a list of main features.
This can be seen as the `what is
it?` command verb. For this you will need to provide a series of points,
which usually need to be linked, that includes all the main features.
This is the `how does something work/do?`
command. For this you will need to provide an explanation with reasoning. You
will need to use words such as `because` or `therefore` to help you to
You will need to provide a response
that explores the issue or situation that is being targeted in the question.
You should consider different viewpoints and contrasting ideas such as
`advantages v disadvantages` or `strengths v weaknesses.
Here an idea or information needs
to be examined and each part explored. Provide good detail in your answer
with justified reasons for any conclusions you reach. Analysing requires the
writer to break something down into components
This is when you are required to
provide a reasoned argument. Much like `discuss` you are expected to give
both points of view, consider `strengths v weaknesses` or `advantages v
disadvantages`. However, you must then provide a conclusion in which you decide
on the most appropriate option and justify your choice.
Reasoned arguments of the factors
with a conclusion
give the meaning of a word or
Justify a concept by fully
evaluating an example
Show how two or more things are
similar and/or dissimilar.
Table 1- Command Verb Table (BBC BITSIZE, 2021)
TOC h z c "Figure" One
final thing. Sometimes you can follow all the steps and still just not get it
and that s okay. It is absolutely fine to ask your teacher to explain the
assessment to you again. When I was in school, I struggled with comprehension.
I would have to be read the questions or assignments because I just did not
understand. It really helped just the hear it from someone else. The earlier
you seek the help, the better.
Once you have understood the assignment
and the command verbs, you need to know the purpose of the paper. The only way
you will know the overall purpose is if you look at it in the scope of your
course. I would be very concerned if you were not sure what that is. You are
the one who enrolled after all! Your
instructor has specific criteria which they mark your work against. This
criteria are usually identified within your lessons through the learning
objectives. This is why it is important to always refer to your course notes (we
will talk about this in the next chapter). You need to identify what the
purpose is for your assignment. This can be done by asking yourself following:
are the course objectives and how does this assignment relate to them?
have I been given this assignment and asked to look at the criteria/questions
in this particular way? These questions can simply be answered by
saying My instructor wants me to
my understanding of the idea/concept in my own words.
my ability to apply the ideas/concepts.
my ability to analyse and consider possible relationships with the ideas/concepts.
different perspectives and decisions related to this topic/concept.
a new idea based on this topic/concept.Once you have decided the purpose and
understood each criteria you can move onto the next step. This resource was uploaded by: Vanessa