There are plenty of different essay writing styles depending on your subject and your college.  Assignment questions can be rather different from essay questions. This can be an opportunity for the tutor to break a task into several pieces, for example, your instructor may devise a Business Studies assignment which asks you to write a mission statement, prepare business promotional material and write a business plan.  The instructions for the assignment may be spread over several pages.

To tackle this type of homework, first you need to read the assignment carefully.  If there is anything you don’t understand, ask the tutor.  If the answer makes no sense – ask again!  Without understanding the question it’s going to be hard for you to succeed.  Assignment questions often include the following sections:-

  • Background text – The assignment may begin with some background description relevant to the subject.  If the tutor has used this sort of material then they want you to answer the question with reference to this topic.  Read this introduction carefully and highlight key words.
  • The task – This section will tell you what you are expected to do.  Does the tutor want you to Summarize, Create, Invent, Imagine, Calculate, Investigate or Describe?  Make sure you follow these instructions.  There is no point writing 1500 words about marketing coffee if the question asked for a mission statement  for the coffee company.
  • Submission and Design – There will be details (either on the assignment or in the course material) to tell you exactly how to set out your work – the font size, the line spacing and the deadline date are important details.  Don’t waste time and money putting the work in a fancy folder or binding, or including lots of colour pictures.  A pretty layout won’t make the tutor give you more marks if the quality of your work is poor.

Other points to remember with assignment writing:-

Academic Writing Although the assignment question can look very different from an essay question, you are still being asked to think carefully about a topic, read widely and construct an argument.  This means that you still need to look for evidence to support what you say and that you should reference the books you read.

Writing style
– Assignments may not be as strictly formal as essays, but that does not mean that you can write slang, informal language or leave errors in the text.  Proofread carefully, just as you would for any other formal, academic work.  Take a look at essay examples to see the style of writing you need in your assignments.

Which style do you prefer – essays or assignments?  Let us know!  Post a comment below.