Familiarise yourself with the assessment (and its due date) as soon as possible. Most courses provide you with assessment details at the start of the semester, so put the dates in your diary and start planning.
Knowing the details of up-coming assessments also gives you a focus for listening to lectures, or reading your course materials.
Make sure you understand what you are being asked to do for the assessment and what type of assessment it is: for example, is it an essay? A report? – clarify this with your lecturer/tutor if you are unsure.
Pay attention to the actual words used to describe the assessment: for example, are you being asked to describe a process, or to compare policies, or to evaluate an argument? All of these verbs describe what you are meant to do, and they are the basis of how you will be assessed.
Ask for help as soon as you realise this is needed – don’t wait until the assessment is due.
Break down the assessment into its different parts.
Plan your approach, and allow time for all steps that are needed to complete your assessment: researching, reading, thinking, synthesising, writing, etc.
Refer to the assessment rubric. Your assessor will mark your work according to the specific criteria set out in the rubric. It is very important to address all the criteria.
Refer to the style guide and reference style for your department and use it consistently. The Learning Commons has an online Referencing Guide.
Review your work, checking it against the assessment rubric. Ask yourself ‘Have I addressed each and every assessment criteria? Where is this visible in the assessment?’ Be honest with yourself about this. If you can’t see where an assessment criterion has been addressed, then the assessor won’t be able to see it, either.
Proof-read your work. This is a good investment of your time, as ‘typos’, poor expression, inadequate or misplaced punctuation will compromise the quality of your work, and cost you marks. A useful strategy is to read your work aloud: this helps you to pick up errors and is particularly helpful for hearing where punctuation should go.
Submit your work on time and follow the submission requirements and procedure of your department. Make sure all the required details are provided on your cover sheet – including the Course name and code, Subject name and code, lecturer/tutor name and your name and student number.