I am going to give you some valuable techniques that help you get the most out of your assignments and help you get higher grades at the same time. These powerful strategies and tactics have helped me and many others to receive extraordinary grades on their assignments. Use them as guidelines to create high-quality assignments in your courses.
Step 1: Begin your assignments right away!
First, focus on getting started. Make a strong effort to start with your assignments right away. The grade you get on a specific assignment and how early you start working on that assignment has a strong positive correlation.
This is because starting early provides you sufficient time to be creative with your work, while minimizing stress caused by time constraints that can eventually lead you to produce low-quality work.
Step 2: Understand the assignment outline inside and out
You can begin working on your assignments by understanding the assignment outline. Get a clear understanding of what the assignment is asking you to do. If you have any doubts, ask your professor.
Before I got started with an assignment, I had a habit of asking the professor “What do I need to do to get an ‘A’ on the assignment.” They always offer some great advice. Don’t just nod when your professor is giving you advice. Take some notes!
Put extra attention to understand the marking rubric well, and create a list of ways how you can get the highest grades on the assignment. These guidelines are usually stated in the marking rubric. Utilize this list to provide you guidance when working on the assignment.
I recommend that you start your initial research with a Google search to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. If necessary, search Wikipedia entries to learn and develop a greater understanding of the subject and provide direction to your assignment.
If you come across any information on the internet, make an attempt to track down its original source.
A place where I started my research was Wikipedia. I would understand and learn about the subject matter. Wikipedia even provides you some references to the original sources. Go through these original sources and see if they can help you on the assignments. However, don’t let it be the only place where you do year research.
If you are working on a research paper, always do a quick search Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/ It is an extremely valuable resource to do research and generally has lots of valuable articles, research papers, books and etc.
Always make notes on the links that you find your information. This becomes very important when you are referencing your research.
Note: Due to the complexities associated with each assignment, use the following steps at your discretion. Do not solely depend on these steps to write your assignment.
Step 3: Establish a clear stance for your assignment
Obviously, this applies to essay-type assignments. Once you have completed the initial research, use your intuition to make a decision on what stance you are going to be taking on the assignment.
It should be something you are interested in and, preferably, something you feel strongly about. Higher the emotional connection you have with the issue, better your response will be on the assignment.
Feel free to adjust your hypothesis based on research that you come across while you are working on the assignment. New information can lead to new realizations and provide better content to discuss on the assignment.
Either way, you have to be very clear with regards to your stance. You should be able to explain your position using two sentences. If it takes you more than two sentences, that means that you are very clear about the stance you hold.
Step 4: Focus on Developing your Arguments
Focus on generating a list of 4-6 major conceptual arguments that will support your stance. This is only a guideline, and the actual number of arguments can be more or less depending on the length of the assignments and other requisites. Think of these arguments as the major building blocks for your stance.
Generally, the more specific and detailed you can be with your arguments, the better your response will be. This means that you should make a strong attempt to research and locate multiple journal articles (2-4 journal articles) and examples that would provide support for your argument.
In my assignments, I would generally start my paragraph with an argument statement that provides support to my stance. For example, I would make a statement similar to the following:
“A theory that was evident in the initial stages of the event was Groupthink.”
In the next few sentences, explain any definitions and concepts associated with the statement you just made. Also, discuss what you found during your research regarding the argument.
“According to Janis (1982), Groupthink is a form of thinking that maintains group cohesion and togetherness, while disregarding alternative thinking patterns and course of actions. Some of the symptoms of Groupthink are collective efforts to rationalize the common goal, protecting the group from contrary viewpoints, pressure to conform, and stereotyping the members of the out-group.”
Feel free to utilize multiple journal articles that would help you illustrate your argument.
Step 5: Always Discuss the Importance of Your Arguments
In each argument, ask yourself, “why is this argument important for the professor to know?”
A simple answer would be, “It is important for the professor to know about groupthink because this type of thinking has implications on decisions made by the jury group on the convicted individual. In order to maintain group cohesion, they may have disregarded other points of view to minimize conflict within the group, leading them to convict an innocent individual”.
Utilize this type of questioning to develop connections with your research and your stance.
To explore connections, you can utilize free writing methodology. Basically, free writing means writing without any judgment. Just try to focus on writing whatever comes to your head. Don’t worry about adjusting your sentences or fixing your spelling mistakes. The idea is to let your brain be creative and throw ideas that you can use in the future. You can flesh out and fix these flaws later during the editing process. Freewriting helps you develop creativity and explore new ideas with writing. This is one of those extremely valuable skills that you can develop for your future.
You may not know enough information to do a free write. This is when Google Search comes in handy. Make sure that you visit 6-10 pages and get an idea what your subject is about.
Step 6: Propose or Create Something for Real Life [Most Important]
This is one the key steps that will help you get very high grades. You have to propose or create something profound, even if the assignment does not require this. Your professors love to see you make an attempt to apply theories and concepts you learn in class into real life applications. They often reward you well for making such attempts.
Things you can create/propose:
- Step by step system (Ex: 3 Step System to Reduce Groupthink among jury members)
- Checklist (Ex: Checklist to reduce inflation among developing countries)
- Methodology (Ex: The Stress Reduction Methodology: Best practices for reducing stress among university students)
Always utilize graphics to illustrate your idea. If you are using MS Word, you can use SmartArt to give life and color to your concepts.
Your proposed idea can be simple, but be detailed with your explanations. Show how it can be used in real life. This is an important aspect of getting higher grades on your assignments.
Your professors love it when you can propose a solution for real life.
Step 7: Edit Out Loud
The key to editing well is to ensure that you have expressed your ideas clearly. Communicating complex ideas in simple but clear language shows your professor that you have a thorough understanding of the concepts. Your job is to make the assignment easy to grade by communicating your ideas clearly.
The way I edited my papers is by reading out loud. When I read out loud, if I feel a sentence is not sounding right, I would focus on fixing that phrase immediately to flow properly. If you have to read a sentence multiple times to comprehend, then, there may be a flaw associated with your sentence.
Pronounce every word on your assignment carefully, and make sure all sentences are flowing properly. Do this at least 2 to 3 times.
Step 8: Edit using Text-to-Speech Software.
In addition to reading out, I would sometimes utilize Text-to-Speech software to ensure that my sentences are flowing properly. This type of software read text out loud while pronouncing every word. If you are missing words or has flaws with your sentences, this software would help you identify and correct them.
There are a lot of free Text-To-Speech software available. One of the software I have often utilized is Natural Reader Free. Utilize these technologies to perfect your assignment. You only get one chance at hand in that specific assignment.
Advice for Questions & Answer Type of Assignments
If your assignment is based on answering some questions and not in an essay format, spend extra time to understand the question. One question may have multiple components associated with it. If this is the case, break down each question into multiple questions, and focus on researching and answering them one at a time.
Sometimes you can get overwhelmed because each question has multiple components to it. The best way to do this is to break it down to one mini-question at a time.
You do not want to lose any marks just because you did not read and answer all the questions completely. This is a common issue among many students; therefore, take steps to avoid it at all costs.
Make sure you have supported your answers well by journal articles and other research. Also, ensure that you have edited your answers thoroughly. Depending on your question, you may able to propose real life application as we discussed in step 5. Be opportunistic, and find ways to propose real life applications.