I don’t know a single nursing student who enjoys writing assignments. Even when it’s about a topic you’re fascinated by or feel very passionate about. The process of gathering the information, finding out what your lecturers actually want you to write about, word counts, referencing etc…..it’s all just so blurghhh.
So how can you make that process a bit more….4k health promotion assignment? Completed it last week mate. (Yeah I hate them too).
You need a solid plan for each assignment which saves you time, gives you clear direction, keeps you on track, & stops you from stressing out. You should do this the minute you are told about the assignment, even if you don’t have all the information on how to write it yet. Here’s how to create the perfect assignment plan which guarantees you better marks every time!
1. First Schedule In Your New Deadline In Your Diary/Calendar
I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase time management & been told as student nurses you need to learn how to manage your time better. But not actually been given any practical solutions on how to do this! Well finally I can show you how to implement a solution which actually works. Grab your diary or phone calendar & enter in your assignment deadline 2 weeks BEFORE the deadline your university has given you. Tell yourself this is the new deadline & convince your brain this is when you need to finish your assignment by. The reason for this new deadline is to give you enough time to submit your assignment to your personal tutor for feedback, give them time to read it and answer you, & then also make any changes before submission for final marking. This way you will be able to improve your results, & it also gives you extra time if anything happens like if you get sick or your laptop breaks down. Yes it may be possible to apply for an extension for these things, but the process is ironically quite time consuming & not always successful, plus it also sets you back for the next assignment/exam deadline you are given!
2. Next, Create Your Timeline
Once you have your new deadline, create a timeline working backwards from the deadline date. Depending on how much time you have, you want to schedule in most of the following steps of the assignment writing process. I included as a very rough guide how many days each step should take however this can vary a lot depending on the assignment & what you need to do.
- Final edit of assignment to check for any spelling mistakes, correct references, punctuation etc. before submission (1 day).
- Changes & additions following feedback from your personal tutor (3-5 days).
- Final edit before submission to personal tutor for feedback to check for any spelling mistakes, correct references, punctuation etc. (1 day)
- Final draft to make changes, include anything you have missed, type up references & bibliography if you haven’t already. (1-2 days)
- Second revision to go back & critically analyse the theory and information you already laid out in the first draft. You will get higher marks with additional relevant critical analysis (2-5 days).
- First draft to get everything you know typed out, all the theory you have learnt & researched, your introduction & conclusion, the subject of the assignment etc. (3-5 days).
- Assignment outline & rough plan with main bullet points to include under the introduction, main body & conclusion. Do you need to include subtitles to split up your topics under the main body to help structure it? (1 day)
- Gather all research and notes required to write your assignment. You should have been given guidance on what the assignment is about, what to include, what resources to use including books, journals and research articles, how to structure it, etc. If you’re struggling to understand exactly what the assignment is about or what you need to include then seek further guidance now from your lecturers to clarify. You don’t want to end up wasting time writing about things that aren’t relevant which could lose you marks! (2-3 days).
By working backwards on your timeline you will know how far ahead you will have to start stage 1 of your assignment to get it done in time & it also gives you a more accurate time frame for the process.
3. Plan Out Your Time To Write & Schedule It In Your Diary.
Now you have a rough timeline of how long each stage of writing your assignment will take, it’s time to mark it in your diary. You will need to block off time to write your assignment otherwise it will never get done & you’ll be forced into all nighters writing 3 thousand words just to meet your deadline! Trust me this is not fun & always means you don’t do as well as you could have. Maybe you need the pressure of a deadline to motivate you into doing the work, which is another good reason for creating a new deadline 2 weeks before the submission, to give you time to edit & improve it before actual submission. You might not have a lot of free time to write which is where you need to be tough & say no to things or cancel plans to free up more time & prioritise your assignment (remember this is only temporary). It’s important you schedule in time & it can be easier to block out periods in your calendar to focus on writing. For example every night after 8pm once the kids are in bed you could write for a couple of hours, or on your days off from uni instead of booking those bank shifts.
4. Write The Damn Assignment!
Now you’ve got your assignment outline, your timeline & dedicated time to write, you’re ready to start…..except you can’t get a single word on screen?! We’ve all been there & sometimes the hardest thing about assignments is just getting them started. Procrastination is the biggest challenge for student nurses because you simply don’t have the time for it! Maybe you’re a perfectionist & an active procrastinator, meaning you can’t start writing until you’re ready & the house is clean first etc. Or maybe you’re a passive procrastinator & feel too overwhelmed so you just scroll social for hours instead? To find out which type you are & get some practical tools on how to overcome procrastination for good check this article.
5. Set Up Your Referencing & Bibliography System & Stick To It.
Don’t underestimate how important referencing is for all your assignments. The quicker you get to grips with the referencing system your uni has told you to use, the better. Nothing more frustrating than spending hours on writing a great assignment only to lose marks due to incorrect referencing! If you know you struggle with referencing get further help & support from your personal tutor, your library & other resources available online. There are a few apps & browser add on’s which can make referencing easier, however they are not always accurate so you need to manually check each one as well. Some of the tools worth looking into are Grammarly (great for additional spell check & punctuation) & cite this for me (a browser extension that allows you to instantly create & edit a reference whilst on the internet). You may find these helpful, or you may find by the time you have inputted all the reference information, it was just as quick to type out the reference yourself! I usually find there are 2 types of students when it comes to referencing. Those who reference as they go along, taking the time to create the correct reference in the list & bibliography. Then they add it into the main assignment body so it’s all done when they’ve finished typing. The second type are those who type the whole assignment & go back at the end to add in all their references & do their reference list. The benefits of the first way mean you understand how to reference & have all the correct references so you don’t have to rush to finish a reference list before your deadline. But taking the time to stop & reference as you go can interrupt your writing flow & you could also forget to include important points. The second way means you can write more freely & get all your words on screen quite quickly. The problem with this second method is that it’s difficult to remember what point you read where & find the correct reference to go back & add it in. It’s also very easy to miss references in the main body which you need to include otherwise you risk being accused of plagiarism! You can avoid this by always pausing to highlight text you have written to remind yourself to go back & reference it. Whichever way you do it, stick to one method so you get yourself into the habit for every assignment.
If you would like more tips & tricks on how to make assignment writing easier comment below or send us an email.
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