How To Ace Your First Assignment

Completing your first assignment in university might seem daunting or even downright terrifying. However, you have nothing to fear as coursesmalaysia.com has outlined some study tips to help you survive the first assignment of your tertiary education.
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Consultation and assistance

After you’ve received your assignment questions, make sure you read and understand them thoroughly before attempting to answer.  The best first-step is to discuss with your coursemates. This is a great way to exchange ideas and will help you better understand your assignment! It is also the perfect opportunity to interact and gain some new friends.  

However, if you are still in doubt, look up the lecturer who assigned you the work. Lecturers are often receptive and would be more than willing to assist a student who shows initiative. Identify the sections that you are unclear about the assignment, and make an appointment (this is a CRUCIAL step) to meet your lecturer. Do not hesitate to approach them out of fear or shyness as you will be the one on the losing end.

Another group of people you can turn to for help are your seniors. After all, they have already gone through the problems that you are facing now and survived. Approach them for advice and quick pointers. If needed, borrow their notes and work samples to serve as reference but never attempt to plagiarise or copy their work. Learn not leech from them.

Survival kit

Things that you should pay attention to in your assignments:

  • format
  • font style
  • content
  • deadlines
  • topic and objectives
  • reference.

Test of time

As a freshman in university, you might be inclined or tempted to spend your first year exploring the new environment around you, meeting new friends and embracing your newfound independence. However, remember to prioritise so to not neglect your studies.

Most first year students tend to find themselves stumped with a heavy workload during their first semester. This is in part due to them trying to adjust to the new education system, as well as completing the number of subjects or credits they are expected to fulfill. It is very unlikely that you will only have a single assignment for the semester, hence, it would be best if you plan and work ahead of time.

A good practice is to allocate sufficient time for each of your assignments. Follow and commit yourself to the schedule you’ve created and avoid starting your assignment only at the eleventh hour! Remember, make sure time is constantly on your side and use it to your advantage.

Research, research, and write!

We cannot stress the importance of conducting research enough. You will need to conduct extensive research to produce a good paper as copying and rehashing your notes will not be enough. Gone are your spoon-fed days from your school teachers, and regurgitating your notes now will not earn you your much coveted A grades. But with good and careful research while working on your assignments, you might find that scoring a high grade is not that tenacious after all.

So, where to start? Your university library would be a good place to kick off your research. Some students prefer the convenience of internet sources compared to a visit to the common library.  However, most university libraries are actually decently stocked up with books and academic journals. Adding to that, most universities have subscriptions to digital libraries and online academic journal databases such as JSTOR, Project MUSE and AGRIS.

Citations and references

Once you are done with your research and have drafted your paper, you now need to focus on including proper citations and references at the end of your paper. In general, a citation is a reference to published or unpublished sources and its purpose is to acknowledge and credit the original source of which the information originated from.

While some courses at the undergraduate level do not require citations and references, it would be rather impertinent not to give credit where credit is due. In more severe cases, failing to cite properly might lead to your paper being branded as a plagiarised work, which might result in you failing the assignment or even facing suspension.

You can find out more about citations and the various referencing formats such as the MLA and APA style from guidebooks that are available at your university library. The format used may vary depending on your subject and the preference of your tutor or lecturer. As different courses require different citation styles, your lecturer is the best person to consult if you are in doubt.