Tips for Assignments and Exams
- Read over your assessments or essays on paper before submitting them. It’s often easier to pick up typos, formatting errors and parts that don’t read as well. A fresh pair of eyes is often really useful for editing so ask a friend or family member to read it before you submit it.
- Getting your referencing style correct – check your unit outline or talk to your lecturer to confirm the correct style of referencing for each unit. The librarians can help and the University Store sells small guides to referencing.
- Be properly prepared for exams. It’s not a good idea to try and fluke your exams, so revise regularly. That way you’ll be able to walk into your exams confident that you’re prepared.
- Read the exam question/instructions carefully and then read them again. It sounds obvious but it could save you from trying to write twelve little essays instead of the three required; like I did, because I did not take the time to understand the instructions properly.
- If you have a disability or chronic health condition get your Academic Integration Plan sorted early in the session. Don’t leave it to the last minute!
Western Sydney U Tip
Referencing can be tedious but, if you put in the time and get it right, these will be the easiest marks you can earn. Remember, not all units use the same referencing style. Check the unit outline for every unit.
University Library staff are happy to help you to find the information and resources you need for your unit requirements. You can also find style guides for the most commonly used citation styles within the University on the Library website – Library referencing guide.
Turnitin is a software program that checks assignments for plagiarism. Find out more about Turnitin.
Avoiding plagiarism: Plagiarism is the unauthorised use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of those words or thoughts as one’s own original work. Plagiarism is a form of stealing.
Plagiarism is considered to be academic misconduct. If you are caught plagiarising, you will be subject to disciplinary action. Incorrect or insufficient referencing may be seen as plagiarism, so make sure you reference correctly.
Lectures, Tutorials and Taking it all in
- Attend all your lectures even if the unit outline says they’re not compulsory. This is where the majority of the course content is covered. You’ll also get all the important information about expectations, assessments, due dates and exams.
- Print out your lecture slides or outline to take to the lecture. That way you can focus on getting the important details of each point, rather than trying to write down everything the lecturer says.
- Make sure you go to all your tutorials. This is where you’ll have a chance to explore the course content in more detail and ask questions. If you miss a tutorial, it’s important to make the time to catch up later. Most units have a compulsory attendance component, so if you miss too many tutorials, it may affect your grade or ability to pass the unit.
- Participate fully in your tutorials. Don’t be shy or think your point of view is not important. Tutorials are about sharing ideas and discussing all the views on a subject.
- Keep up with your readings. Find reading techniques that help get the most out of your texts. Put in the effort to stay up to date as it can take away some of the pressure during exams.
- Develop a study and revision schedule that works for you. Everyone works differently and it’s important to do what’s best for you whether it’s shorter study blocks, listening to music or discussing information with a friend. Remember, it’s crucial to have regular breaks when you study.
- Try studying with flashcards – visual reminders can help you learn and remember information and concepts better than reading.
- Find an ideal place to study that is quiet, well-lit and well-ventilated. It might be in the library, somewhere at home or even at the park.
- Revise whenever you have some spare time. Take your notes with you when you’re waiting for an appointment or to pick up the kids. Every little bit counts.
- Stick your revision notes up where you’re most likely to see them at home. Some good places are on the fridge, in the bathroom, on the mirror, or even on the ceiling.
- Pace yourself. Make sure you’ve got plenty of time to complete your assessments and essays. About two weeks for research and one week for writing and editing is a good place to start.
- Focus on starting your tasks and assessments rather than focusing on completing them. This will make the task seem more manageable and may help you avoid procrastination.
- Don’t cut corners. Procrastinating, cramming and only doing the bare minimum will only take away from your time at uni.
- Put together a to-do list of your tasks regularly. Keep track of which tasks you’ve completed. Being able to see what you’ve achieved is a great way to stay motivated.
- Make sure you don’t just rely on the internet for your research. Learn how to use the library. The librarians are friendly and very helpful. They can give you a hand with books, journal searches, data bases and even referencing.