During the period of your studies, you will be required to deliver many written assignments that will have a big influence on the overall grade. These assignments have the purpose on representing your level of understanding of the subject and expressing your understanding through the style of academic writing.
Writing assignments is not an easy skill to master, but the finesse can be improved by practice and following these effective tips.
Outlining the writing assignment
Outlining the writing assignment before you start writing it is a great idea. The outline will keep you focused on the main points of discussion, it will help you express your ideas in an organised manner and it will save you a lot of time.
The outline is an effective way to divide up your ideas between various sections and make the word count look balanced. Outlining your work will help you conduct a more efficient literature research because you will know exactly what to look for.
Writing the introduction
The introduction of your writing assignment is the part that captures the reader’s attention and leads them to the initial impression of the quality of your work. In the introduction, you should briefly mention the main discussion points of your assignment, the goals you want to achieve with it and a few indicative sentences on the structure of the assignment. The introduction should not take more than two paragraphs, so keep it concise.
Critical thinking and continuity of ideas
Every serious writing assignment must demonstrate critical thinking; otherwise it would be useless for the academic community. The continuity of ideas is very important, so make sure to keep the ideas flowing within and between the paragraphs, in order to enable the reader to understand your argument easily. Divide the different main points into different sections and paragraphs in order to organise the assignment better.
Academic writing has strict guidelines on referencing, so make sure to use either the Vancouver or Harvard referencing style and keep it consistent throughout the assignment. Make sure to get informed on the referencing guide of your institution and deliver a writing assignment that will satisfy its requirements.
Usage of third person
According to the rules of academic writing, your assignment should use impersonal language – that means you should avoid using ‘I’ or ‘you’ during your writing. The assignment has to rely on authoritative sources and various perspectives, so you have to do your best in order to present an unbiased, clear picture. When you need to express your own opinion, you should do that indirectly and in an authoritative way.
It is very important to support your arguments with examples from multiple sources. This will enable you to objectively identify the strengths and weakness associated with a particular topic. The examples are necessary to prove that you are able to apply your knowledge into practice.
Avoid numbering and bullets
Numbering and bullets can be effective in expressing the point clearly, but they should be avoided in academic writing. In the academic writing style, the points should be discussed further, which means that paragraphs are the preferred form of expression.
Satisfy the word count requirements
When the writing assignment requirements specify a certain word count, you have to make sure to keep your writing within those requirements and don’t go far above – or below – the recommended word count. The outline will keep your work focused, so make sure to plan the word count between sections and paragraphs and stick to the plan.
Figures and tables
The best manner to convey information in an effective manner, without affecting the word count, is to include a limited number of figures and tables (the recommendation is not to include more than two of them). Don’t forget to mention their sources in the bibliography and under the table/figure, and include clearly specified headings.
Write a powerful conclusion
The conclusion is your last chance to impress the person who will grade your writing assignment, so make sure to use your writing talent at its best in order to make it sound powerful. The conclusion should state the aim of your discussion, summarise its major points and elaborate on the final comments. It is also recommended for the conclusion to include the opportunities for future implementation of your points of discussion.
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