Planning your assignment will help you get focused and keep you on track. It will also help make writing your assignment easier.
Before you start your research
- Check the marking schedule to see what the marker will be looking for. This will help you know what to focus on. If there isn’t a marking schedule, check the assignment question to see if that information is there.
- Check how much your assignment is worth and what percentage of the final mark it is. This will help you decide how much time to spend on it.
- Plan how much time you will need to spend on your assignment. Think about the steps you need to do to complete your assignment:
- writing drafts
- reference checking
- reviewing and editing.
- Break these up into a list of tasks to do. Give each task a deadline, working backwards from your assignment due date.
For help with this try the Assignment Planner – RMIT University
Plan your assignment structure
After you have completed your research you need to plan how you will answer the assignment question. This will make writing it easier.
The steps below will help you sort your ideas and information into an order.
Start with a mind map
- Brainstorm what you know about the topic.
- Group and prioritise your ideas.
- Organise these ideas and show the connections.
Make a linear plan
You can then use your mind map to make a linear plan for your assignment. Linear plans use headings, subheadings and lists so you can organise information and ideas for the body of your assignment. Think about:
- what sections you need
- what information to include in each section (these will be the paragraphs).
From there you can think about how you want to order the sections. Think about:
- start - what section to start with
- key ideas - the key ideas you need to get across (if you don’t have evidence to back up any of your points, don’t include them)
- connecting ideas - how you will group or link these ideas to create a story
- ending - how you will end your assignment.
Once you have a plan, start writing.
Example of a linear plan
The example below is based on the mind map examples on the Mind Mapping page.
- Definitions and background
- Link to next topic (carry over from ancient to modern times)
- Modern chocolate production
- Introduce example companies (size, market, main products)
- Components and sources of these companies
- Link to next topic (conditions for workers)
- Ethical vs low wage
- Issues and impacts for farmers
- Ethical production Example company 1
- Example company 2 Note references to use for each
- Conclusion (summing up of history -> modern production -> ethical practice)
TIP – As you start writing, follow the plan, but don’t be afraid to move things around so that your ideas follow on from each other in a logical way.