You’ve posted your discussion questions, submitted your first papers, and taken your first couple of quizzes. As the mid-point of the quarter approaches, there is typically a big assignment due. Whether this is your first big assignment, or you’ve completed many big assignments in the past, here are some tips for tackling a large assignment without losing your mind in the process:
Tip #1: Make sure you understand the assignment.
This sounds like common sense, but make sure you fully understand the prompt, or assignment. Are there multiple parts? Do you understand all the concepts needed to complete the assignment? What’s the word count? Does it need to be in APA format? If your prompt is written in paragraph format, it can be helpful to write a to-do list that you can check off as you work on the assignment.
Tip #2: Get a game plan!
Once you have a thorough understanding of the assignment, begin to create a plan. Brainstorm a thesis, think about what information you’ll need to support your thoughts, lay out your paper and begin researching. Even quantitative assignments can benefit from a plan. Do you have a database assignment? Begin laying out your tables, thinking about relationships and keys, and gathering the data needed to support the databases. Have a large packet of math problems or a math exam? Plan out how many questions you will complete per day.
Tip #3: Get the hard work out of the way.
This is the unexciting part, where all the work comes in. Doing a large assignment or preparing for a large exam is done best if it is done over time. Give yourself a week or two to complete it and do it in small chunks over time so that you don't feel overwhelmed.
Tip #4: Give it some time.
If you hit a roadblock, give it a few days’ rest. Especially if it is a particularly grueling assignment, letting it rest for a few days can give your brain a renewed opportunity to tackle the same problem. Plus, when your mind is in frustration mode it doesn't complete the best assignments. Still struggling with a problem? Reach out to your classmates or professor, they can try to help you or give you guidance in the right direction. Even if you’ve completed your assignment, giving it a few days to sit will allow you to edit it with a fresh and clear mind.
Tip #5: Have a peer review your work.
It’s always beneficial to have a peer or professor look at your assignment before you turn it in to make sure you’ve taken the right direction. Additionally, you can submit your paper to Grammarly for review. This can be beneficial for quantitative assignments as well, having a friend or professor review your math problems, or economics curves can help you confirm that you have done the problems correctly.
Tip #6: Turn it in on time!
Make sure you turn in your assignment on time for full points on your hard work. Then celebrate, and get ready to do it all again!