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How To Write College Essay Assignment

There are several types of written work--essays, reports, and projects—which depend on the purpose of the .assignment   For instance, writing up a lab report or a practical is different from writing a critical essay.  Your first task is to understand for what purpose you have been asked to write the paper.

If you are writing a critical essay the following steps might prove useful.  But remember flexibility is important so constantly monitor and evaluate the strategies and approach you have chosen. You might want to try our essay kit which takes you through the steps of completing a writing assignment from the planning stages to submitting your essay and getting feedback.


  • Determine date of submission and work backwards to the present, remembering things usually take longer than you expect!
  • Generate a list of writing tasks involved, such as selecting a topic, writing a thesis statement or research question, initial research, creating an outline, research, first draft, revising, second draft, references, proof reading, final draft.
  • Estimate how much time each task may take and assign it a deadline.  You may have to revise your schedule once you have clarified your topic.
  • You will get better at estimating the time required for each task as you become more familiar with the library and your own writing style.

Understanding the question.

  • If you have been given a specific topic, find out as many details as possible such as who will be reading the paper, what is the specific purpose, how long should it be, what type of content is expected.
  • If you have a choice in topic, start by generating ideas.  Ensure the topic is feasible (given time limits and resources), of interest to you and appropriate (check out the idea with your tutor).  Keep an “ideas” file for future reference, ask your lecturer, check journal articles, brainstorm or use free writing.
  • Create a thesis statement or question.  Similar to a news headline using key words that makes an assertion or describes an action.  Be as specific as possible.

Do initial research

  • Try to get an overview of the subject that may help you to determine the structure of your paper.
  • Scan the relevant literature to see how much material is available, always keeping in mind your thesis statement/research question so you do not get sidetracked.

Create an Outline.

  • Using the key words in your thesis statement try to make a skeletal outline.  As you gather more information this can become more detailed.  Keep in mind both content and structure of the essay.
  • Take into account the length of the paper.
  • Try to write a sentence or paragraph per heading.  Keep room for additional ideas.
  • Essay papers usually have an introduction, the main body, and conclusions section.
  • As you begin to write, an outline keeps you on track!

Doing the research

  • You are looking for information to answer your question and evidence to support your argument.
  • One suggestion is to use 3” x 5” index cards, putting one idea per card.
  • Read the information critically, evaluating the relevance and validity.  Take summary notes.
  • Possible sources include books, journal articles, correspondence, radio, TV, notes.
  • Copy all information carefully, noting when the ideas are your own or the author’s, especially quotations; keep track of page numbers.
  • Be selective.  Students often go overboard on researching, never getting around to writing.  Ask yourself is this relevant to my question/statement?
  • Use source cards that record relevant information such as author, title, and year of publication, city of publication and publisher.  It’s hard to backtrack at a later date when you are under pressure to get the paper written.
  • Check what type of referencing your department uses; this can differ.

Writing the First Draft

  • Gather your notes and outline; start writing!!  This step is to help you clarify your own thinking on the subject and to create flow. This is not for keeps so just write as if you were talking or explaining the subject to someone.
  • Try to write one idea per paragraph.  Be concise and use logical transitions although you can always reorganise the order at a later date.
  • Remember you are trying to create a coherent argument or approach.
  • Put the draft aside for a day or two and then rewrite.

Revising Your Draft

  • Reread the draft first, preferably out loud.
  • Cut out any unnecessary words or paragraphs that don’t fit the purpose.
  • Rearrange so that the argument flows logically.
  • Let a friend read the paper and critique it.
  • Be critical, looking at words and phrases: use an active not passive voice, check grammar and spelling, avoid vagueness.
  • Once you are sure you have covered your topic and the argument is coherent, then check your presentation: preferably typewritten with proper spacing and margins, quality paper, binder or folder – as if it was a sales job.

Proofread.  Make copies.  Submit!


When you get your paper back read any comments and ask for comments to be explained.  Examine how you can improve for your next writing assignment.

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By Lois Weldon

When it comes to writing assignments, it is difficult to find a conceptualized guide with clear and simple tips that are easy to follow. That’s exactly what this guide will provide: few simple tips on how to write great assignments, right when you need them. Some of these points will probably be familiar to you, but there is no harm in being reminded of the most important things before you start writing the assignments, which are usually determining on your credits.

The most important aspects: Outline and Introduction

Preparation is the key to success, especially when it comes to academic assignments. It is recommended to always write an outline before you start writing the actual assignment. The outline should include the main points of discussion, which will keep you focused throughout the work and will make your key points clearly defined. Outlining the assignment will save you a lot of time because it will organize your thoughts and make your literature searches much easier. The outline will also help you to create different sections and divide up the word count between them, which will make the assignment more organized.

The introduction is the next important part you should focus on. This is the part that defines the quality of your assignment in the eyes of the reader. The introduction must include a brief background on the main points of discussion, the purpose of developing such work and clear indications on how the assignment is being organized. Keep this part brief, within one or two paragraphs.


This is an example of including the above mentioned points into the introduction of an assignment that elaborates the topic of obesity reaching proportions:

Background: The twenty first century is characterized by many public health challenges, among which obesity takes a major part. The increasing prevalence of obesity is creating an alarming situation in both developed and developing regions of the world.

Structure and aim: This assignment will elaborate and discuss the specific pattern of obesity epidemic development, as well as its epidemiology. Debt, trade and globalization will also be analyzed as factors that led to escalation of the problem. Moreover, the assignment will discuss the governmental interventions that make efforts to address this issue.

Practical tips on assignment writing

Here are some practical tips that will keep your work focused and effective:

Critical thinking – Academic writing has to be characterized by critical thinking, not only to provide the work with the needed level, but also because it takes part in the final mark.

Continuity of ideas – When you get to the middle of assignment, things can get confusing. You have to make sure that the ideas are flowing continuously within and between paragraphs, so the reader will be enabled to follow the argument easily. Dividing the work in different paragraphs is very important for this purpose.

Usage of ‘you’ and ‘I’ – According to the academic writing standards, the assignments should be written in an impersonal language, which means that the usage of ‘you’ and ‘I’ should be avoided. The only acceptable way of building your arguments is by using opinions and evidence from authoritative sources.

Referencing – this part of the assignment is extremely important and it takes a big part in the final mark. Make sure to use either Vancouver or Harvard referencing systems, and use the same system in the bibliography and while citing work of other sources within the text.

Usage of examples – A clear understanding on your assignment’s topic should be provided by comparing different sources and identifying their strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner. This is the part where you should show how the knowledge can be applied into practice.

Numbering and bullets – Instead of using numbering and bullets, the academic writing style prefers the usage of paragraphs.

Including figures and tables – The figures and tables are an effective way of conveying information to the reader in a clear manner, without disturbing the word count. Each figure and table should have clear headings and you should make sure to mention their sources in the bibliography.

Word count – the word count of your assignment mustn’t be far above or far below the required word count. The outline will provide you with help in this aspect, so make sure to plan the work in order to keep it within the boundaries.

The importance of an effective conclusion

The conclusion of your assignment is your ultimate chance to provide powerful arguments that will impress the reader. The conclusion in academic writing is usually expressed through three main parts:

–Stating the context and aim of the assignment

–Summarizing the main points briefly

–Providing final comments with consideration of the future (discussing clear examples of things that can be done in order to improve the situation concerning your topic of discussion).

Lois Weldon is writer at Uk.bestdissertation.com. Lives happily at London with her husband and lovely daughter. Adores writing tips for students. Passionate about Star Wars and yoga.

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