Tips and guidance on effective study - simply choose the links that interest you!
This is the creative part of the process! Many people go through a rough three-stage process when drafting assignments.
It is very easy to stray off course when you are writing assignments, partly because you may get carried away with what you are writing about. You need to keep an overview of the assignment writing process while you are working. By writing a plan (a rough outline of the structure of your assignment) you can start to sort out what’s relevant and shape the structure and progress of your arguments, keeping them pertinent to the question and logically ordered.
OU tutor, Eulina, describes how staying focused on the assignment title will improve your marks.Sign in to view this video
Getting going on the first draft can be difficult. If you are stuck and don't know how to start, try the following.
Mind mapping is a useful way of organising your initial thoughts. Have a look at this interactive demonstration:
Lynn, describes how she starts to think about the content of an assignment.Sign in to view this video
Remember to stay focused on the assignment title as you are working. Cynthia and Robin, OU students, describe their approaches to the writing process.Sign in to view this video
Look back at the feedback you've had for previous assignments, and check if there is anything new you should be doing. Then start to write.
If you use ‘cut and paste’ in your wordprocessor and you want to undo what you’ve just done, you can use the ‘undo’ function (also note that there will be a ‘redo’ function in your wordprocessor). Find out about these useful functions on the demonstrations page.
James gives his advice on organising your thoughts and your words as your draft progresses.Sign in to view this video
Try to write your first draft quickly. If you have to write yours by hand into an assignment booklet, always use spare paper for your first draft so you can make changes. If you are using a word processor, make sure that cutting and pasting words into different sections hasn't introduced repetition or an illogical ordering of your argument. Add reference information as you go.
You can use ‘outline view’ in your word-processing document to check the structure of your writing.
Don't spend ages perfecting sentences and ideas at this stage. You may find yourself coming out with a stream of consciousness, if so just get it down on paper. Then read it through and ask yourself some searching questions.
The aim of a second draft is to improve on what you've already written, rather than do any major restructuring.
Students often inadvertently misread the question and end up losing marks by answering a completely different question. Contact your fellow students and tutor about your thoughts so far – just to check that you are on the right track.