Usually the common mistakes made by students in their assignments are small errors that have big consequences that could cost you a few valuable marks. The greatest mistakes are often not to do with your argument, but with errors in structure and format. Here are the top 5 assignment mistakes commonly made by college and university students, followed by tips on how to avoid them.
1. Insufficient Editing
Reviewing and editing your assignment can really make that percentage difference. A lot of the time students spend hours on writing their assignments, but grow tired of re-reading it over and over again. As a consequence they often neglect proper editing that could make all the difference to their marks. When editing look out for spelling and grammar errors and makes sure that your paragraphs flow naturally and logically as you read through your assignment.
2. Lack of Paragraphs
When writing an assignment, always remember to use paragraphs. Paragraphs help organise ideas and will consequently help you structure your assignment in a logical manner that will help you bring your argument across. Paragraphs also help the marker to read the content easily. When forming paragraphs, remember the following tip: one idea per paragraph. This means that one idea or concept should be discussed per paragraph in order to keep the structure and flow of your discussion organised and easy to understand.
3. Poor Introduction
An introduction is the most important part of an assignment, because it informs the reader on what will be discussed in the assignment. Usually people want to start their assignments by writing the introduction first, but often go off topic as they write the body, discussing other things instead or in addition to what was mentioned in the introduction.
Your introduction should out-line exactly what you will be discussing in your body and must be mentioned in the order that it is discussed. Here is a tip: create an outline of what you want to discuss to help you formulate your argument, but write the introduction last so you can be sure to include every argument that appears in the body of your assignment.
4. Incorrect Referencing
Another costly mistake is incorrect referencing or not paying attention to detail when referencing. It is of the utmost importance to know how referencing works and when it must be used. If you take parts of someone else’s work and use it in your assignment without referencing it, or referencing it in the wrong way, a lot of marks could be lost.
A lot of marks can also be deducted for small errors in your referencing list or in text citations. Make sure you use the correct punctuation when referencing, as markers notice every comma and full stop that is out of place and deduct marks for every mistake. Also make sure the spacing between names and dates in the reference is correct. Find a guide for your specific type of referencing, as each subject has their own way of writing a reference.
5. Poor Conclusion
Good introductions and conclusions are pertinent to writing a good assignment. Often assignment conclusions are rushed, because it is usually finished just in time for the deadline. A conclusion should always summarise what has been discussed in the assignment. Introductions inform about exactly what you are going to discuss and the conclusion summarises what has been discussed. They are just as important as the body of the assignment and equal amounts of time should be spent on both.