This morning I handed in a piece of coursework, though my head is not feeling so great now, probably due to working till late last night pulling together the bilbliography and double checking it. So, to help those of you who might not yet be so well acquainted with essay hand-ins, I thought I’d put together a few pointers, which I’ve picked up from my own experience.
1) Make sure you know the deadline, how long the essay is meant to be and that you’re actually answering the question
2) Know what books and journal articles you might be required to read
3) Make sure you actually read the right stuff
I must admit I failed on most accounts with this essay. I erroneously believed the essay needed to be a thousand words longer than necessary, although I realised my mistake before much work had been done (I suppose it’s better to overestimate the word count than underestimate it!). I thought I knew which books and journals to read, so I dutifully took out the books about 3 weeks ago and started reading. Then last night (the day before the hand in) as I was making the finishing touches to the essay, I realised that half the books and journals I had read, although very much related to the topic, were not actually those specified by the lecturer, which we were specifically asked to use in the essay! Suffice to say, this was not a pleasing moment. I think I was able to skim read and incorporate enough of the required material in the essay at the last minute to make it look convincing! One crucial mistake I made was to get confused with two similarly named books on similar topics by the same author.
I could add another point here –
4) Don’t leave it to the very last day (try and finish it early!). But let’s be honest, is that really going to happen?
Let me know any of your coursework related tips in the comments!