Once you’ve finished your assignment, closed those 300 tabs you’ve had open for days and tidied up the remains of endless coffees and snacks, all you want to do is to upload your work to Turnitin and never see it again. But… you’re not quite finished. There are things to do BEFORE submitting your assignment. Luckily, I’ve put together some tips and tricks for submitting assignments. Trust me, as a fourth year, these are handy!
Check to see if your references are complete
Depending on what subject you study depends on what referencing style you use. Each referencing style will have their own sets of rules and if used incorrectly, it could lose you a few marks! Make sure you are checking over your references by using a referencing guide – these are available from your My Library tab on Learning Edge. (If you’re struggling with your referencing, you can even book a peer to peer appointment with one of us Student Advisors!)
Use Microsoft Word’s “Read Aloud” feature
Microsoft Word has a brilliant feature that will read your assignment aloud, helping you to hear where you might’ve made a mistake, or where a sentence is not as clear as you wanted it to be. Make use of this tool! To launch the Read Aloud feature go to Review and locate the Read Aloud feature. Take a look at the Assistive Technology pages for more great support.
Highlight where you have answered the questions / met the learning outcomes
It can be easy, especially in essays, to go off topic and start writing about content that doesn’t answer your topic question. Go through and highlight places where you have answered your assignment title or question and try to think of areas where things could be tightened or strengthened.
Check for incorrect spelling and grammar
Thankfully, Microsoft Word often does this for you without you having to lift a finger. However, if you’re like me, you might make spelling or grammatical mistakes that Word might not pick up. For example, I often use words that are not in the right place, or use an alternative correct spelling (e.g. there, their, they’re). Also, make sure that you are avoiding contractions (can’t, shouldn’t, won’t) and idioms (e.g. at the end of the day).
Check that the format is correct
Does your assignment follow the formatting rules for your course? Usually, courses will outline preferences for the format of assignments, so they look professional. For example, they might specify a font style, font size, spacing etc. Check with your module handbook or tutor if you are not sure.
Take a break
If you have time, leave your assignment for a few days to allow yourself to come back to it with a clear mind. Looking over your assignments with fresh eyes will help you notice where you have made mistakes, or where you think your assignment might need more work.
Look at previous feedback from tutors
Feedback from previous assignments is your best way of achieving a better mark. Looking back over you tutor’s comments and acting upon them will show that you have developed and improved since your last assignment.
Check your originality report
Turnitin will provide you with an originality report that will let you know what percentage of your assignment is matching other materials. The originality report shouldn’t be used as a proofreading tool. However, you might want to have a look through to see if you have referenced all of your quotes and ideas correctly.
DO NOT LEAVE UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE
Take this advice from an MA student… submitting your assignment at the last minute can go awful if Turnitin goes down or is under scheduled maintenance. Make sure you submit your assignment a few days before the deadline to ensure an easy and smooth submission.
So… that’s a wrap on my tips. Of course, there are many more things you could do before submitting your assignment, but these are the tips I’ve found the most important.
Dylan Booth – Student Advisor
MA Creative Writing