The assignment is due in a few hours. You’re screwed.
I’ll keep this post short. Feel free to skim through it. Time is precious.
Find a permanent desk. Whether you’re furiously typing at home or in the library, stay where you are. Keep this place as your working table for the next few hours (or at least until the library closes, if that’s where you are). Don’t think twice about looking for the ‘perfect study place’.
And for you to actually stay where you are, fill your water bottle and get a bunch of snacks. Put them all next to you so you can hydrate and feed yourself as you work without having to rush to the kitchen or cafeteria every damn time.
Now it’s time to get working.
Look for clues in your lecture slides. This may depend on your university, but I’d often find useful information for my assignments hidden in lecture slides. Lecturers would usually leave hints or at least summarise the main guidelines in their latest lecture. After all, they do want you to pass their class. Look for that key slide and keep it open as you work.
There was one time where my assignment was based on ‘memory’ and it so happened that the lecture that occurred during the week the assignment was due was ALL ABOUT ‘MEMORY’ (the deadline was, in fact, on the same day of that class). Check the lectures you haven’t attended or that are coming soon.
Once you know exactly what you need to do in your assignment, it’s time to get to your readings/references/materials. When I had to do my lab reports, I had to read dozens of journal articles. But what do you do when every minute counts?
Every reference material has some structure. So break each of them down into what matters and what doesn’t for the purpose of your assignment. When I had to write literature reviews and I was in a hurry, I took my dozens of articles and only read the introduction and discussion. Because at the core that’s all I needed.
This is obviously not recommended as you’d be limiting your understanding of the subject, but it’s an emergency right now, isn’t it?
It’s time to get your words on paper. There should be no more delay.
Write without editing at first. Write for 30 minutes. Then for another 30 minutes. Don’t stop. Except to munch on your snacks and stay hydrated. The most important thing is to write everything. Complete that assignment without worrying about being perfect. You’ll go much faster.
Once you’re done with the writing, you can go back and look for mistakes, if you have a few minutes to spare. If not and you absolutely HAVE to submit your assignment, then do it. At my university, sending your assignment late could cost you 5-10% of your marks. At least, you submitted a COMPLETED assignment.
However, next time, please, don’t do it at the last minute.
If you’ve come this far, thank you! As a reward, click here to download a free assignment worksheet!
D. K. Waye
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