Planning Coursework and Being Prepared

Almost all of us will have to hand in some coursework at some point in our time at university. I feel like a lot more focus is put on how to prepare for exams than coursework such as essays or other hand-ins, so I thought a little guide on how to plan and prepare for coursework hand-ins would be useful!

First of all, when you get the timeline of all your deadlines at the start of a semester, make some kind of note of these dates that works for you. For me, I have a ‘sticky note’ app on my laptop which I write all my deadlines on, and this sticky note is always on my laptop home screen. This is a great reminder to keep you on track every time you open your laptop, which for most of us is at least a few times a day!

Simply knowing the dates of your deadlines, however, is not enough preparation. Depending on what the coursework is will determine how far in advance you need to start really thinking about what you are going to do for it. For example, as a history student I mostly only have essays as coursework, and I usually start planning essays three weeks before the deadline. The first week is just to pick a question and do some very rough planning, maybe a little reading to direct my essay plan. The second week is where I really start doing more reading and research to add to my essay. And the third week is to finalise everything and make sure the essay is my best work. However, if the coursework is something that is only, say, 500 words long, you could do that in a week. This part is entirely up to you as you should know how long it takes you to plan and write! If you’re unsure though, three weeks is a good space of time to properly get into a piece of coursework in my opinion.

It might be worth considering talking to your lecturer about your plan for your coursework before you get too far into writing it. Some lecturers don’t like to offer this help though, as it could be deemed unfair for those who don’t reach out for the assistance, so it’s a good idea to email the lecturer to check if they’re okay to go through your plan with you before simply turning up at their office!

Bonus tip: For next semester, it might be worth checking the reading lists of your modules to get a head start on reading which could definitely help you feel more prepared for your upcoming coursework!

I hope this was helpful for some of you! I know a lot of courses don’t have coursework but for those of you that do, or have a mix of coursework and exams, I hope this helps you feel more prepared for your next hand-in.

Written by:

Hey, I'm Kiah: a footballer, drummer and an avid film fan. I'm from County Durham, England, now a third year History student at Dundee!

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