Assignment Tricks (and Treats!)

Now is the time of year that many students need to complete their first assignments. It’s also Halloween! Here are some spooktacular tricks and self-help treats to help you succeed.

Assignment Tricks and Self Help Treats

We hope things are going well for you, but we know this can be a scary time, especially if you’re a fresher and this is your first ever assignment at university. You may be worried, confused, or unsure of what to do.

It’s also Halloween! So here are some spooktacular tricks and self-help treats to help you succeed with your assignment while looking after your (very important) wellbeing and mental health.

Share your own assignment tips using #USWAssessmentTips to help other students!

Trick
Read plenty of different sources (not just Wikipedia). By referencing a variety of academic journals, text books and other sources, you can show you have thoroughly researched a topic and compared and contrasted many different points of view (this is key in many assignments to improve your mark). Use FindIt to search for articles that may be of use to you or pop along to see your Faculty Librarian.

Treat
Relax with a facemask! They do not have to be expensive, did you know you could make your own? Put a slice of cucumber on each eye for 10 minutes to relieve tired and strained eyes, especially good if you have been hitting those books hard! Have a 10 minute break with some relaxing music, some deep breathing exercises and a face mask. Treat yourself…you deserve it.

Trick
You can’t claim extenuating circumstances for work that is lost/damaged due to a technical problem or IT failure e.g. a lost memory stick or program crash. Storing your work on Google Drive (provided to you free as part of your student IT account) offers some protection if the computer (e.g. your laptop) with your work on is damaged or lost.

Just storing your work on Google Drive is NOT a backup. You should store your electronic work in at least two and ideally three different places.

Treat
Studies show a short 20 minute nap can help to improve your mood, aid concentration and memory. Our brains contextualise a lot of information when we are asleep, so take that nap and put your brain to work while you relax! Recharge the body, feel more energised and ready to take on the rest of the day…

Trick
If you study hard for approximately 50 minutes and then reward yourself with a break for 10 minutes, you will feel more energised.

There are apps that can block you accessing certain websites apps for a specified length of time. What a great way to avoid distractions. Or you could simply turn off your phone and all social media for a while.
In your break time you might stretch, getting those muscles moving that you’ve had in uncomfortable positions for the past 50 minutes.

Treat
Your productivity levels are low, your concentration has waned and you cannot remember anything from what you have just read. Sometimes we just need to get away from everything. Time to move, time to go for a walk!

Did you know just a 15 minute brisk walk can reduce stress and boost your mood? Walking is good for the mind, body and soul! NHS guidelines state that we should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.

Trick
Use the library. Obvious right? Not always! Some students do not use the library or study skills for a large part of their course. The library has some fantastic books and journals both online and offline that can help you enhance your grade.

Treat
Take a bath. Some people like nothing better than being surrounded by bubbles, candles and relaxing music and it has loads of benefits, such as relaxing aching muscles, reducing stress and nourishing the skin. No Bath? A warm shower and a few minutes alone can help relax your body and quiet your mind.

Trick
Reference, reference, reference! This one is vital. Check with your lecturer what type of referencing you need. There are handy guides here.

Accurate referencing can improve your overall grade, whereas poor referencing can make your work look like it’s plagiarised and you could be committing academic misconduct.

Treat
Eat some ‘brain food’. For most people that means eating your greens, foods high in protein and not eating too much sugar. A bad diet can leave us feeling ill, sluggish and make us more susceptible to illness. It can also lead to chronic long term conditions such as diabetes. Did you know a healthier diet can improve concentration? So ditch that pizza and just eat the pineapple!

This Feature was written by the Advice Zone’s Student Communication Assistant (Graduate Placement) in conjunction with the USW Progression Advice Team.