14 Proven Tips For Completing Assignments

Completing assignments can be a daunting task, but there are a few things that you can do to make the process a whole lot easier. .

Are you finding it difficult to complete your assignments on time? If you’re looking for some tips to help you get organized and stay on track, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll share some helpful strategies that will make completing your assignments a breeze.

But first, let’s analyze why it’s essential that you complete your assignments on time.

Why are assignments important?

Though often met with groans and complaints, academic assignments are actually beneficial in a number of ways. For one, they force students to engage with the material on a deeper level, encouraging them to really think about what they’re learning and stay on track with their studies.

In addition, academic assignments help students to develop important research, writing and study skills that will be useful in college and beyond.

Academic assignments also give students the opportunity to receive feedback from their instructors on their work.

Notably, despite its benefits, too many assignments can do more harm than good.

Too much assignments can interfere with free time and involvement in extra-curricular activities. Assignment completion may be increasingly frustrating and stressful when there are challenges with the home environment. O’Rourke-Ferrara, 1998

Why is completing assignments on time important?

Completing assignments on time demonstrates to your instructor that you are capable of meeting deadlines. This is important in both academic and professional settings.

According to research, completing assignments improves independence, self-discipline, and time management skills. In addition, it has been linked with better grades and academic success. planchard et al., 2015

Tips for completing assignments

So how can you make sure that you complete your assignments on time? Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Read the assignment instructions carefully

2. identify why the assignment is necessary.

It gives purpose to your efforts, and this in turn can help provide focus and direction, leading to better results through hard work and dedication.

Research shows that the main motivating factors for homework completion were: (1) Reinforcement: desire to learn or master the material (2) Credit (3) Extra-credit planchard et al., 2015

3. Start early to complete assignments on time

4. set goals for assignment completion.

Once you’ve met that goal, you can set a new goal for the next day. Breaking the assignment down into smaller tasks can help to make it feel less overwhelming, and it can also help you to track your progress. 

5 . Create a schedule to finish assignments

Research shows that the most common demotivating factors for homework completion were: (1) Other commitments (2) Difficulty understanding (3) Too difficult or too long planchard et al., 2015

6. Identify the resources required for the assignment

7. track your reference s when researching.

As you’re doing research for your assignment, be sure to track the references that you’re using. This will save you time when you’re writing your paper and will ensure that you give credit to the sources that you’ve used.

8. Set aside uninterrupted time for assignments

9. ask for help if you get stuck, 10. take breaks when completing assignments.

Working on an assignment for long periods of time can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. To avoid this, take breaks throughout the day or week. during your break, do something that you enjoy or that will help you relax.

11. Celebrate your progress

12. proofread your assignments, 13. submit your assignments on time.

Make sure to submit your assignment on time. If you’re having trouble with this, talk to your professor or a tutor. They may be able to offer extension or help you get back on track.

14. Relax after completing each assignment

Final words on proven tips for completing assignments.

Drop a comment below and let me know. Best of luck in all your future assignments.

Planchard, Matthew S. et al. “Homework, Motivation, and Academic Achievement in a College Genetics Course.”  Bioscene: The Journal Of College Biology Teaching  41 (2015): 11-18. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1086528.pdf

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Spend less time on homework

How many times have you found yourself still staring at your textbook around midnight (or later!) even when you started your homework hours earlier? Those lost hours could be explained by Parkinson’s Law, which states, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, if you give yourself all night to memorize those geometry formulas for your quiz tomorrow, you’ll inevitably find that a 30 minute task has somehow filled your entire evening.

We know that you have more homework than ever. But even with lots and lots to do, a few tweaks to your study routine could help you spend less time getting more accomplished. Here are 8 steps to make Parkinson’s Law work to your advantage:

1. Make a list

This should be a list of everything that has to be done that evening. And we mean, everything—from re-reading notes from this morning’s history class to quizzing yourself on Spanish vocabulary.

2. Estimate the time needed for each item on your list

You can be a little ruthless here. However long you think a task will take, try shaving off 5 or 10 minutes. But, be realistic. You won’t magically become a speed reader.

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3. Gather all your gear

Collect EVERYTHING you will need for the homework you are working on (like your laptop for writing assignments and pencils for problem sets). Getting up for supplies takes you off course and makes it that much harder to get back to your homework.

The constant blings and beeps from your devices can make it impossible to focus on what you are working on. Switch off or silence your phones and tablets, or leave them in another room until it’s time to take a tech break.

Read More: How to Calculate Your GPA

5. Time yourself

Noting how much time something actually takes will help you estimate better and plan your next study session.

6. Stay on task

If you’re fact checking online, it can be so easy to surf on over to a completely unrelated site. A better strategy is to note what information you need to find online, and do it all at once at the end of the study session.

7. Take plenty of breaks

Most of us need a break between subjects or to break up long stretches of studying. Active breaks are a great way to keep your energy up. Tech breaks can be an awesome way to combat the fear of missing out that might strike while you are buried in your work, but they also tend to stretch much longer than originally intended. Stick to a break schedule of 10 minutes or so.

8. Reward yourself! 

Finish early? If you had allocated 30 minutes for reading a biology chapter and it only took 20, you can apply those extra 10 minutes to a short break—or just move on to your next task. If you stay on track, you might breeze through your work quickly enough to catch up on some Netflix.

Our best piece of advice? Keep at it. The more you use this system, the easier it will become. You’ll be surprised by how much time you can shave off homework just by focusing and committing to a distraction-free study plan.

Stuck on homework?

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How to Ace Your College Assignments

College can be tough. You’re juggling classes, homework, a social life, and maybe a job on the side. It’s no wonder that sometimes your college assignments don’t get the attention they deserve. But did you know that there are tricks to acing your college assignments? Here are some tips and strategies that will help you get better grades in school!

For many students, college is a big learning curve. It’s a time in your life that involves a lot of change and getting used to many new things. When it comes to college assignments, many students find that things work differently from when they were in high school. The format and types of assessments are different, the criteria for passing can feel unfamiliar, and of course, the level of learning is a step up from high school too.

But getting good grades has a direct impact on your success at college, so it’s important to do as well as you can. So what can you do to get to grips with college assignments so you ace them? Here are some tips.

Read The Instructions

Start by reading the assignment instructions carefully. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure you understand what the task is and what your lecturer or professor is looking for. If you’re unsure about anything, ask for clarification from your instructor. They are there to help you, so you should never feel unsure about going to ask for clarification, or for a little extra direction. You could even ask them what they’re looking for in order to give good grades. For example, is it more about research, or a good writing style? Any tips you can glean from the people marking your assignments will help.

Use Past Papers And Study Materials

When you have a better understanding of what’s required, it can be helpful to use past papers and college study materials to give yourself an idea of the sort of thing that might be expected. Study materials can also give you an idea of the level of detail required and the standard expected by your college. If you’re not sure where to find these things, ask your instructor or librarian for help. Getting hold of some of these past materials will help to give you a framework for your learning, understand the types of assignments your college sets, and what success looks like to them.

Create A Plan And Work Schedule

Once you have a good understanding of the task at hand and what’s expected of you, it’s time to create a plan. This should be a detailed document that outlines everything you need to do in order to complete the assignment to a high standard. Your plan should include a timeline and deadlines for each task, as well as what resources you’ll need and any other information that will help you to complete the assignment.

Work In Short Bursts

One of the best pieces of advice for college students is to work in short bursts . This means setting a timer for a certain amount of time and working on the task at hand for that amount of time, before taking a break. This method is often recommended for students because it’s a more effective way of working than trying to power through for hours on end. It’s also a lot easier to stay focused when you’re working in short bursts. When you take a break, make sure you get up and move around, have a snack, or do something to take your mind off of your work so you can come back refreshed and ready to focus again.

Take Regular Breaks

It’s important to take regular breaks when you’re working on an assignment. This will help to keep you from getting too bogged down in the task and will allow you to come back to it with fresh eyes. When you’re taking a break, make sure you get up and move around, have a snack, or do something to take your mind off of your work so you can come back refreshed and ready to focus again.

Set A Deadline For Yourself

As well as any deadlines set by your instructor, it can be helpful to set a deadline for yourself. This should be a date or time by which you will have completed the assignment. Having a personal deadline will help to keep you on track and motivated to get the work done.

Don’t Leave It To The Last Minute

One of the worst things you can do is leave your college assignment to the last minute. This will only lead to stress and will likely result in a rushed and poorly done piece of work. If you start the assignment early, you’ll have more time to do it properly and you’ll be less likely to make mistakes. It will also give you time to deal with any unexpected circumstances, such as some additional research you decide you need to do, or dealing with a cold that leaves you feeling under the weather for a few days.

Start With The Easy Stuff

When you’re starting an assignment, it can be helpful to start with the easy stuff. This will help to get you into the flow of working on the task and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve completed the easy stuff, you can move on to the more challenging tasks. This will help you to stay focused and motivated, and will make the whole process less daunting.

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  • Mastering Homework: 15 Strategies to Tackle Assignments Like a Pro »

Mastering Homework: 15 Strategies to Tackle Assignments Like a Pro

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“Homework”. The very phrase can send shivers down the spines of students, evoking images of late nights, overwhelming tasks, and endless frustration. But fear not! We are here to equip you with the ultimate arsenal of strategies for tackling homework that will transform your approach and help you conquer assignments like a true pro. You can use our 15 tried-and-true strategies to tackle homework and learn how to complete tasks efficiently. So, say goodbye to homework blues and get ready to unleash your full potential with these game-changing techniques.

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15 Strategies for Tackling Homework

In this section, we will explore 15 powerful strategies that will empower you to take charge of your homework, boost productivity, and achieve academic success.

Tip 1: Set a Dedicated Study Space

Creating a designated study area helps you focus and stay organized. Find a quiet corner where you can concentrate without distractions, ensuring that all necessary materials are within reach. 

Tip 2: Plan Your Homework Schedule

Develop a homework schedule that suits your routine. Break your workload into manageable chunks and allocate specific time slots for each task. This approach will prevent procrastination and allow for better time management.

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Tip 3: Prioritize Tasks

Start with the most challenging assignments first while your mind is fresh. Prioritizing tasks based on their due dates and complexity will help you tackle them systematically and avoid last-minute stress

Tip 4: Take Regular Breaks

Studying for long stretches without breaks can lead to fatigue and reduced productivity. Incorporate short breaks into your homework sessions to recharge your mind and maintain focus

Tip 5: Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique involves working in focused intervals of 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. This structured approach can improve your concentration and efficiency while studying

Tip 6: Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking might seem like a time-saving strategy, but it often leads to decreased productivity. Concentrate on one task at a time, completing it before moving on to the next, to ensure better comprehension and quality work

Tip 7: Seek Clarity

If you encounter difficulties or have questions about a particular assignment, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from your teacher or classmates. Clearing doubts early on will prevent misunderstandings and ensure accurate completion of your homework

Tip 8: Break Down Complex Tasks

Large or complex assignments can be overwhelming. Break them down into smaller, more manageable parts. By dividing the task into smaller goals, you can approach it step-by-step, making it less daunting

Tip 9: Use Productivity Tools

Various productivity apps and tools are available to help you organize your tasks, set reminders, and track your progress. They can help you avoid missing deadlines and complete your homework more efficiently.

Tip 10: Take Proper Notes

Develop effective note-taking strategies during classes to ensure you have organized and comprehensive material to refer back to when doing your homework.

Tip 11: Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination only leads to increased stress and rushed work. Combat this habit by breaking down tasks, setting deadlines, and maintaining a disciplined approach to homework

Tip 12: Take Advantage of Available Resources

Make use of online references, and other learning materials. You should also take advantage of additional features of these platforms to make studying more convenient. Extramarks Smart Class Plus offers after-school connectivity which allows you to access your homework from your phone. Even teachers can check it remotely.

Tip 13: Collaborate With Peers

Teaming up with classmates for group study sessions can be beneficial. Sharing ideas, discussing concepts, and explaining topics to each other can deepen your understanding and make homework more enjoyable

Tip 14: Review and Revise

Before submitting your homework, review your work for errors, clarity, and completeness. Taking the time to revise your assignments ensures that you have produced quality work and avoided unnecessary mistakes

Tip 15: Celebrate Your Achievements

Acknowledge your efforts and celebrate your accomplishments. Rewarding yourself for completing homework tasks will motivate you to maintain a positive attitude toward future assignments

Benefits of Planning Homework

complete your assignment

Planning your homework brings a multitude of advantages that can transform your academic experience. Here are a few benefits of using our strategies for tackling homework.

Benefit 1: Improved Time Management

Planning your homework allows you to allocate time efficiently, ensuring you complete assignments on time without feeling overwhelmed

Benefit 2: Reduced Stress Levels

A well-planned homework schedule reduces the stress associated with procrastination and rushed work, enabling you to complete your homework in a timely and efficient manner

Benefit 3: Enhanced Learning

Planning your homework enables you to structure your study sessions effectively. By organizing your workload, you create an environment that promotes focused learning and better retention of information

Benefit 4: Increased Productivity

With a clear plan in place, you can eliminate distractions and optimize your productivity during homework sessions, leading to more efficient completion of tasks

Benefit 5: Better Understanding of Concepts

Planning your homework provides an opportunity to review and consolidate what you have learned in class. This reinforcement aids in better understanding and retention of concepts

Benefit 6: Greater Accountability

A homework plan holds you accountable for completing tasks as scheduled. This sense of responsibility instills discipline and helps you develop essential life skills

Benefit 7: Improved Performance

Effective homework planning allows you to dedicate sufficient time to each assignment, resulting in higher quality work and improved academic performance

Benefit 8: Enhanced Time for Revision

By planning your homework in advance, you can ensure that you have enough time for revision and practice 

Benefit 9: Reduced Homework-Related Conflicts

With a structured plan, you can balance your homework with extracurricular activities, family time, and other commitments, minimizing conflicts and creating a harmonious routine

Benefit 10: Increased Confidence

Successfully managing your homework through planning instills a sense of accomplishment and boosts your confidence in your abilities as a student

Planning your homework not only helps you stay organized and manage your time effectively but also offers a range of benefits that contribute to your overall academic success. By employing our strategies for tackling homework, you can experience improved time management, reduced stress levels, enhanced learning, increased productivity, a better understanding of concepts, greater accountability, improved performance, ample time for revision, reduced conflicts, and increased confidence in your abilities.

How Extramarks Smart Class Plus Can Help Students in Planning Homework

Extramarks Smart Class Plus offers a range of connectivity features that make homework planning easier and more efficient.

1. 24×7 Availability of Classroom Lectures

Extramarks Smart Class Plus provides 24×7 access to classroom lectures. Students can catch up on missed lessons or review them to ensure they don’t fall behind in their studies. With the ability to revisit lectures anytime, students can better plan their homework around their learning needs.

2. Supplementary Resources

The platform offers a vast repository of supplementary resources related to in-class lessons. Students can access these resources to enhance their understanding of complex concepts and reinforce their learning. These additional materials provide valuable support in planning and completing homework assignments.

3. One-Tap Video Solutions

Extramarks Smart Class Plus offers comprehensive explanations and visual demonstrations through one-tap video solutions. Students can resolve their doubts and master complex concepts with ease. This feature ensures that students have access to instant guidance, helping them plan and complete their homework efficiently.

Extramarks Smart Class Plus goes beyond traditional homework support by offering connectivity features designed to enhance the homework planning process. By leveraging these features, you can stay organized, access additional learning materials, resolve doubts instantly, and maximize your productivity in planning and completing your homework. Extramarks Smart Class Plus can be your companion on your journey to academic success.

Q1. How can I find the best study space for homework?

Ans: Finding a quiet and comfortable area free from distractions such as a dedicated corner in your room or a library, can be an ideal study space for homework.

Q2. Is it necessary to follow a specific homework schedule?

Ans: Having a homework schedule is highly recommended as it helps you manage your time effectively and ensures that you complete assignments on time.

Q3. How can Extramarks Smart Class Plus help in planning homework?

Ans: Extramarks Smart Class Plus offers after school connectivity which allows students to access their homework from their phone. This allows them to complete it at their own convenience and also allows teachers and parents to know when it has been completed. These features facilitate effective homework planning and help students stay organized and on track.

Q4. Can collaboration with peers improve homework completion?

Ans: Collaborating with peers through group study sessions allows for sharing of ideas, discussion of concepts, and clarification of doubts, which can enhance understanding and make homework more manageable.

Q5. How can I stay motivated while tackling homework?

Ans: Staying motivated can be challenging, but you can reward yourself after completing tasks, study in a group, or break down tasks into smaller goals to maintain motivation and make homework more enjoyable.

Last Updated on September 1, 2023

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that they will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove their point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, they still have to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and they already know everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality they expect.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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We know that homework can be a real drag. It’s time-consuming, and can be difficult to complete all on your own. So, what can you do if you’re struggling?

You might try looking online or in the app store! If you’ve already looked around you probably know that there are tons of homework sites for students and homework apps out there that all say they can help you improve your grades and pass your classes. But, can you trust them? And what are the best apps for homework help?

Below, we answer these questions and more about homework help apps–free and paid . We’ll go over: 

  • The basics of homework help apps
  • The cost of homework help apps
  • The five best apps for homework help
  • The pros and cons of using apps that help you with homework 
  • The line between “learning” and “cheating” when using apps that help you with homework
  • Tips for getting the most out of homework sites for students 

So let’s jump in!

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The Basics About Apps that Help You With Homework–Free and Paid

The bottom line is, homework sites and homework apps are intended to help you complete your take-home assignments successfully. They provide assistance that ranges from answering questions you submit through a portal all the way to one-on-one tutoring, depending on the help you need! 

The big plus for both homework help apps and websites is that they usually offer help on-demand. So if you can’t make it to after school tutoring, or if you're studying late into the night (it happens!), you can still access the help you need! 

If you’re specifically looking for an answer to the question: “what is the best homework help website ?,” you can check out our article on those here! [LINK COMING SOON]

What’s the Difference Between a Homework Help Website and an App?

So if they’re both designed to give you a little boost with your take-home assignments, what makes homework apps and websites different from one another? First off, homework help websites are optimized to be used on a desktop, while apps are designed to be run natively on mobile devices. So depending on which devices you have access to, you may decide to use a website instead of an app…or vice versa! 

The other big difference between homework help apps and websites is that they sometimes offer different features. For instance, with the Photomath app, you’ll be able to submit photos of math problems instead of having to type everything out, which is easier to do by using an app on your phone. 

If you’re trying to decide whether to go with a website or app, the good news is that you may not have to. Some homework help websites also have companion apps, so you can have the best of both worlds!

What Makes a Homework Help App Worth Using

Apps that help you with homework should ideally help you actually learn the material you’re struggling with, and/or help you turn in your work on time. Most of the best apps for homework help allow you to ask questions and provide answers and explanations almost immediately. And like we mentioned earlier, many of these apps let you send a picture of a question or problem instead of writing it all out.

But homework help apps offer more than just quick answers and explanations for your assignment questions. They also offer things like educational videos, lectures, tutorials, practice tests and quizzes, math solving tools, proofreading services, and even Q&A with experts.

And the best part is, most offer these services 24/7! 

What You Should Look Out For

When it comes to homework help, there are lots–and we mean lots –of apps willing to prey on desperate students. Before you download any apps (and especially before you pay to sign up for any services), read reviews of the app to ensure you’re working with a legitimate company. 

Keep in mind: the more a company advertises help that seems like cheating, the more likely it is to be a scam. Actual subject matter experts aren’t likely to work with those companies. Remember, the best apps for homework help are going to help you learn the concepts needed to successfully complete your homework on your own. 

If you’re not sure if an app is legitimate, you can also check to see if the app has an honor code about using their services ethically , like this one from Brainly. (We’ll go over the difference between “homework help” and “cheating” in more detail a little later!) 

How Expensive Are Apps That Help You With Homework?

A word to the wise: just because a homework help app costs money doesn’t mean it’s a good service. And, just because a homework help app is free doesn’t mean the help isn’t high quality. To find the best apps, you have to take a close look at the quality and types of information they provide! 

Most of the apps out there allow you to download them for free, and provide at least some free services–such as a couple of free questions and answers. Additional services or subscriptions are then charged as in-app purchases. When it comes to in-app purchases and subscriptions for homework help, the prices vary depending on the amount of services you want to subscribe to. Subscriptions can cost anywhere from $2 to around $60 dollars per month, with the most expensive app subscriptions including some tutoring (which is usually only available through homework help websites.)

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The 5 Best Apps for Homework Help

Okay, now that you’re up to speed on what these apps are and how they can help you, we’ll run you through the best five apps you can use. 

Keep in mind that even though we recommend all of these apps, they tend to excel at different things. We’ve broken these apps into categories so that you can pick the best one for your needs! 

Best Free Homework Help App: Khan Academy

  • Price: Free!
  • Best for: Practicing tough material 

While there are lots of free homework help apps out there, this is our favorite because it actually supports learning, rather than just providing answers. The Khan Academy app works like the website, and offers the same services. It’s full of information and can be personalized to suit your educational needs. 

After you download the app, you choose which courses you need to study, and Khan Academy sets up a personal dashboard of instructional videos, practice exercises, and quizzes –with both correct and incorrect answer explanations–so you can learn at your own pace. 

As an added bonus, it covers more course topics than many other homework help apps, including several AP classes.

Best Paid Homework Help App: Brainly

  • Price: $18 for a 6 month subscription, $24 for a year 
  • Best for: 24/7 homework assistance 

Brainly is free to download and allows you to type in questions (or snap a pic) and get answers and explanations from both fellow students and teachers. Plus, subject matter experts and moderators verify answers daily, so you know you’re getting quality solutions! The downside is that you’re limited to two free answers per question and have to watch ads for more if you don’t pay for a subscription. 

That said, their subscription fees average around only $2 per month, making this a particularly affordable option if you’re looking for homework help on a budget. Brainly subscriptions not only cover unlimited answers and explanations on a wide variety of school subjects (including Art and World Languages which aren’t always included in other apps), they also provide tutoring in Math and Physics!

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Best App for Math Homework Help: Photomath

  • Price: Free (or up to $59.99 per year for premium services) 
  • Best for: Explaining solutions to math problems

This app allows you to take a picture of a math problem, and instantly pulls up a step-by-step solution, as well as a detailed explanation of the concept. Photomath subscription services also include animated videos that break down mathematical concepts–all the way up to advanced Calculus!--to help you better understand and remember them. 

The basic textbook solution service is free, but for an additional fee you can get extra study tools, access to one-on-one tutoring, and additional strategies for solving common math problems.

Best App for STEM and English Homework Help: Studypool

  • Price: Varies; you’ll pay for each question you submit
  • Best for: Science and English homework help in one app

When it comes to apps for science and English homework help, there aren’t lots of great resources out there, much less out there all in one place. While Grammarly is a good service for proofreading, SparkNotes has some decent summaries, and Khan Academy covers science, the best of the bunch if you need help with both subjects Studypool. Instead of using lots of different apps for STEM and English help, they’re combined together here! But while Studypool has great reviews, there are some downsides as well. 

The Studypool Q&A model is a little different than other homework help apps. After you create a free account, you ask questions, and tutors submit bids to answer them. You’ll be able to select the tutor–and price point–that works for you, then you’ll pay to have your homework question answered. You can also pay a small fee to access thousands of notes, lectures, and other documents that top tutors have uploaded.  

The downside to Studypool is that the pricing is not transparent . There’s no way to plan for how much your homework help will cost, especially if you have lots of questions! It’s also not clear how they choose their tutors, so you’ll need to be careful when you decide who you’d like to answer your homework questions. That said, if you only need a few questions answered per month, this could be cheaper than other monthly subscription services.

Best Homework Scheduling App: MyStudyLife

  • Best for: Keeping track of your schedule and deadlines

If the reason you’re looking for homework help is less about finding answers to questions and more about needing assistance with organization and time-management , MyStudyLife is a great option. This is a cross-platform planner that allows you to store your class schedule, upcoming tests, and homework assignments in the cloud so you can access it all wherever you are, and on any device. 

One of the unique things about it is that it easily works for daily or weekly rotating class schedules that can get confusing, helping you keep track of when you need to finish your homework based on your changing schedule. You can get reminders for upcoming classes and assignments as well as past-due homework and any revisions you may need to do. It can even let you know when you need to start studying for a big test!

Best of all, you can actually schedule assignments and study sessions for multiple nights, and specify how much of the task you got done each night. That way you’ll know how much additional time you’ll need to spend! 

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While homework apps might seem like magic, it's important to weigh the pros and cons before you commit to one. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Homework Help Apps?

Homework help apps can be useful tools if you’re struggling in any of your classes. But there are a few problems you might run into if you don’t use them ethically and responsibly. 

Below we’ll cover some of the good and the not-so-good parts of using homework help apps to complete your take-home assignments.

3 Pros of Using Homework Help Apps

Let’s start with the pros of using apps for homework help.

Pro 1: All-Around Better Grades

This is undeniably the main pro and the reason apps that help you with homework are so popular with students. Not only can you potentially get better grades on individual assignments, because they help you learn tricky concepts, you can also earn better grades overall .

Just keep in mind that if you want better grades you have to actually learn the material you’re studying, not just find easy answers. So be sure to use apps that provide good explanations . That way you’ll have the mental tools you need to succeed on your class exams and on standardized tests for college. 

Pro 2: Flexibility

It’s hard to beat homework help that you can access anywhere you are from your mobile device. You can also get assistance whenever you need it since the best apps offer their services 24/7. This is especially useful for students who need to study during hours when their free school resources aren’t available because of extracurriculars, jobs, or family obligations. 

If you need convenient and flexible homework help or tutoring services to fit your schedule, apps can be your go-to resource. 

Pro 3: Individualized Learning

Sometimes the kind of learner you are doesn’t match your teacher’s style of teaching. Or maybe the pace of a class is a little too fast or too slow for your tastes. Homework apps can help by allowing you to learn at your own speed and in ways that support your own learning style. 

You can use their features, such as educational videos, 24/7 conversations with experts and peers, and tutorials to review concepts you may have forgotten. These apps can also let you dive deeper into topics or subjects you enjoy! With homework help apps, you get to choose what you need to learn and how you learn it.

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3 Cons of Using Homework Help Apps

Next, let’s look at the cons of homework help apps. 

Con 1: Questionable Info 

Unfortunately there are lots of less-than-reliable homework help apps out there. They might not hire actual experts in their fields to provide answers and create study tools, or they rely on user-submitted answers that they don’t verify. In those cases, you might not be getting the accurate, thorough, and up-to-date answers you need to really learn.

In addition to the possibility of running into plain-old wrong answers, even the best apps sometimes just won’t have a specific answer you need. This could be because you’re enrolled in an advanced class the app doesn’t really cover or because of the algorithm or chatbot a particular app uses. 

If that’s the case , your best bet will likely be to talk to your teacher or a free tutor (if your school provides them) to get help answering your question.

Con 2: Information Overload

While having tons of information at your fingertips can be helpful, the sheer amount and variety of videos, tutorials, expert answers, and resources a homework app provides can be overwhelming . It’s also easy to get sucked into a research rabbit-hole where you learn new things but don’t actually get your work done. This is especially true for students who tend to be easily distracted.

Additionally, you may be learning to do things differently than you’ve learned them in class , which could cause problems. For example, if your math teacher asks you to solve a problem one way, but you learned to do it differently through an app, you could get confused come test time! 

Con 3: Cutting Corners

There are a lot of apps out there that bill themselves as “the best app for cheating.” They allow users to type in a question or take a picture, then instantly provide an answer without any explanation of the material. Many of these are scams or provide unreliable answers, but not all. Some apps are legitimate and provide quick and easy answers that could allow you to do your whole homework assignment in minutes. 

The problem is that even though taking shortcuts on homework to save time is tempting, it can keep you from really learning. The point of practicing concepts and skills is so you develop them and can access them whenever you need to. This is especially true if skills build on one another, like in a math or English class. 

Sometimes s truggling with an assignment or question, trying, failing, then trying again until you succeed can help you learn difficult material. If you don’t let yourself really try, and instead take too many shortcuts, you may end up behind.

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When Does “Help” Become “Cheating”?

When it comes to using homework help apps, sometimes the difference between “help” and “cheating” is really clear. For example, if you’re using an app to get answers while you’re taking a test, that’s definitely cheating . But what if you’re struggling with a math problem and need to know the correct answer so you can work backwards to learn the process? Is that “cheating” or is it “help?” 

The truth is, not everyone agrees on when “help” crosses the line into “cheating .” If you’re not sure, you can always check with your teacher to see what they think about a particular type of help you want to get. That said, a general rule of thumb to keep in mind is to make sure that the assignment you turn in for credit is authentically yours . It needs to demonstrate your own thoughts and your own current abilities. Remember: the point of every homework assignment is to 1) help you learn something, and 2) show what you’ve learned. 

So if you’re relying on an app to do all of the work for you, there’s a good chance using it might constitute cheating. 

Think of it this way: say you’re studying for an upcoming math test, and are stumped by a few of the questions on the study guide. Even though you’ve tried and tried, you can’t seem to get the right answer because you can’t remember the steps to take. Using an app to explain the steps as you’re studying is “help.” Using the app to get answers so you can make a good homework grade is “cheating.” 

The same is true for other subjects: brainstorming essay ideas with others or looking online for inspiration is “help” as long as you write the essay yourself. Having someone read it and give you feedback about what you need to change is also “help,” provided you’re the one that makes the changes later. 

But copying all or part of an essay you find online or having someone write (or rewrite) the whole thing for you would be “cheating.” Ultimately, if you’re not generating your own work or learning to produce your own answers, it’s probably cheating. 

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5 Tips for Finding the Best Homework Help App for You

If you’re serious about using a homework help app, our expert tips can help you pick one that’s right for you and your budget!

#1: Decide What Tools You Need to Succeed 

While most apps offer Q&A services, the best apps provide study tools to help you learn the material you need to learn . 

For instance, if you’re a visual learner, you might need an app that provides lots of videos. If you learn best by reading, an app that provides lots of in-depth written resources might be better for you. Or, if you learn best by actually doing things, look for an app that provides practice tests and quizzes, along with explanations for correct and incorrect answers.

Before committing to an app, take a quick survey of the tools they offer users to make sure they meet your unique learning needs. 

#2: Decide Which Subjects You Need to Study

Not all homework apps are created equal. One might provide tutoring in math and science, but no proofreading services to help you with writing. Another might be perfect for American History, but what you really need help with is your Spanish class. So, before you can decide which app is best for you, make sure to create a list of the subjects you need the most help in.

#3: Do Your Research

As we’ve said before, there are tons of homework apps in the app store to choose from, and the most important thing you can do is research what they offer students. Services, prices for those services, and subjects that the apps cover all vary, so it’s important that you look into your options. We’ve compiled our all-around favorite (and reliable) apps here, but it’s still a good idea to do your own research to find out what might meet your individual needs best.

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#4: Learn Why People Like and Dislike the App

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “buyer beware?” It means that the person buying something should check for quality before actually handing over their money. This applies to both free and paid homework apps, but especially those that actually cost money.

Before you download anything, be sure to read the user reviews . While all apps will have both positive and negative reviews, you want to look for one that has more positive than negative. And if you’re considering paying for a service, be sure that users think it’s worth the price overall!

#5: Budget Yourself

If you find a paid app that provides the learning tools you need, covers the subjects you need to study, and that has good reviews overall, set a budget to pay for it before you hit that “install” button. The costs for paid homework apps vary, and especially if you’re using one that requires you to pay for individual questions or services, the prices can add up quickly. So make sure there’s money for it in your budget before you commit!

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What’s Next?

If you’re not quite sure why you’re struggling with homework, or want to know how you can do your homework as quickly as possible , check out this list of 15 expert homework tips and tricks to make your life a little bit easier!

Effective studying requires the right balance of concentration, understanding, retention and rest. So if you need help striking that balance, read these 16 tips for better study habits in both the short and long-term.

Getting good grades is about more than just answering questions correctly on your assignments. It also requires planning ahead and participation. In this article we cover the academic survival strategies that can help you throughout high school .

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Last Updated: January 29, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD . Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 108,977 times.

Getting started on an assignment or homework can often times be the hardest step. Putting off the assignment can make the problem worse, reducing the time you have to complete the task and increasing stress. By learning how to get started and overcome the urge to procrastinate, you can get your assignments done on schedule and with less stress, opening up more free time.

Restructuring Your Assignment

Man with headphones on working on his assignment.

  • For example, you might research areas of a report that you find most interesting before moving on to other areas.
  • If your math assignment has different types of questions, try doing those that you enjoy the most before moving on to the others.
  • You might also try tackling smaller or easier tasks first so you can cross a few items off your list. Seeing that you've already made progress may help you feel motivated to continue.

Step 2 Start working for five minutes.

  • Promise yourself that you will meet your goal of working for five minutes on the assignment.
  • Once you get started, you may find that you don't want to stop working. Otherwise, you can take a break and come back to the assignment, knowing you're at least five minutes closer to finishing than you were before.

Step 3 Break up your time.

  • Try to set reasonable periods of time that you know you can meet. For example, you might set aside two hours on a Friday to dedicate to your assignment. If you don't have that much time all at once, try to carve out a few 20- or 30-minute blocks.
  • You may or may not wish to continue working after your time limit has gone by.
  • Have a realistic understanding of how fast you can write and plan your schedule accordingly.

Step 4 Get started.

  • It can help to read the assignment as soon as you get it and then ask any questions you might have.
  • If you're not sure if you understand the assignment, try rewriting it in your own words or explaining it to someone else. If you find you can't or have a lot of questions, you may need more information.
  • You should have an overview of the assignment, understand the main task, and understand the technical and stylistic requirements.
  • Look for important words in the instructions to understand the assignment. These words might include define, explain, compare, relate, or prove.
  • Keep your audience in mind and write a paper that would best deliver information to them.

Step 6 Make sure your goals are manageable.

  • Goals that are too big or not well defined can be difficult to start working towards.
  • Smaller and well defined goals can seem easier to achieve than larger ones.
  • For example, you could break a research paper down into several smaller tasks: 1) do preliminary research, 2) write an outline, 3) draft an introduction, 4) draft body paragraphs, 5) write conclusion, 6) revise. Each of these is much more do-able on its own.

Changing Your Focus

Step 1 Change your mood.

  • You might want to go for a quick walk after working for a set amount of time.
  • Try reading a website or book that you enjoy for a few minutes after working.
  • Alternatively, try a quick burst of exercise before setting to work. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins and can also help boost your memory. [8] X Research source

Step 2 Stay positive.

  • Instead of dreading your work, focus on how good it will feel to make progress. You won't have it hanging over your head. You can actually enjoy the weekend instead of feeling guilty.
  • Keeping your eye on long-term rewards can help you stay motivated to finish your assignment.

Step 3 Avoid procrastination while working.

  • Avoid moving your workspace constantly.
  • Don't get lost on tangential research.
  • Don't take constant breaks to get a snack.

Step 4 Create some consequences for procrastination.

  • For every hour you waste procrastinating, you can limit how much television you watch that night.
  • If you waste too much time procrastinating, you might deny yourself a favorite snack later on.

Step 5 Don't worry about perfection.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

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Do Your Homework on Time if You're a Procrastinator

  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/solving-unsolvable-problems/201408/4-steps-stop-procrastinating
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/friendship-20/201405/the-surefire-first-step-stop-procrastinating
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/procrastination/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/understanding-assignments/
  • ↑ https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/ab22ff64-3358-4387-9761-8c58878a6b84/resource/3ee38320-17e4-46f9-b24f-c95f9f345eb9/download/ipp7.pdf
  • ↑ http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/07/how-exercise-can-help-us-learn/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/happy-life.html

About This Article

Michelle Golden, PhD

To start an assignment, try working on the most enjoyable or easiest parts of the assignment first to get the ball rolling. Even if no part of the assignment seems enjoyable or easy, set a timer and try to make yourself work for at least 5 minutes, which is usually enough time to build momentum and overcome procrastination. You can also try breaking your assignment up into smaller, more manageable tasks and scheduling yourself regular breaks so it doesn't seem as overwhelming. To learn how to stay positive and avoid procrastination while working on your homework, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Finish Assignments When You Can’t

How to finish assignment

Crunch time is coming, deadlines need to be met, essays need to be submitted, and tests should be studied for. As a student who’s waiting for the end of crunch time, you’re looking for all the right ways to cut corners while being ultra efficient with your time and energy. But sometimes racing the clock you’ll come to a realization that this mountain of a task is insurmountable and it seems almost impossible to accomplish. But at this low point is exactly where you shouldn’t settle with an incomplete assignment or missing work. There are workarounds and “life hacks” that can help pull you out of this sticky situation.

Homework and education are very important, so finishing your assignments should be something that’s on every student’s mind. Here’s some ideas to get you started on your path to getting your assignments finished:

Ask for an Extension

Lots of students find themselves in this awful situation that seems impossible to do. Even if it is your fault for being a bad student or lazy, it’s worth a try to confront your professor or teacher and ask for an extension – as long as you actually complete it. Teachers and professors understand that the point of homework isn’t to give you something to do, rather train you and give you extra practice on materials you learn in class. Just know that it’s not their responsibility to give you an extension and they are not obligated to give you points for your late or missing assignments. But do them anyway – and have your teacher check your work so they know you’re good for the work even though it’s late. 

Ask for Help from Classmates

Your classmates are a good resource for you to help you finish your assignments, late or on time. They may even just give you answers – as long as you are polite about it and aren’t pressuring them to do so. They are helping you when they aren’t required to, and they’ll be more inclined if you are also reliable. The worst position to be in is to be the student who helps others but doesn’t receive help. Help could even be in the form of understanding the assignments and learning from them, kind of a tutoring situation. But again, it’s important that your classmates aren’t obligated to help you, so be grateful for any help you receive. 

Prevent This Happening in the Future

We don’t want you to constantly be stuck in this seemingly impossible situation – so we urge you to think about your assignments carefully – so it doesn’t happen again. This means several things:

  • Keep Organized – understand when your assignments are due, and know how much time you have left so you can plan around it. It’s worth noting that this will also help you plan your lifestyle a bit better, so its a great thing to do
  • Give Yourself Time – saving things for last minute is a surefire way to shoot yourself in the foot. Don’t do that. Instead, if they give you an assignment to do for the next lesson or the next day – set time aside after school to do it.
  • Don’t Procrastinate – saying that you’ll do it later is the downfall of many missed assignments. You may forget about it or something may come up that will prevent you from doing your assignments on time. Get it done sooner rather than later

Use Your Resources

When we say “resources” we mean tutors, teacher’s assistants, and even the world wide web to help you complete your assignments when you’re unable to. Don’t make it a habit, but there are websites like Assignment Expert that are here to help you do exactly that: finish your homework. Note that schools and universities have their own rules for these types of resources, so use with caution. There are also websites that may have guides or flash cards that can help you in most of your subjects. If you do use them, they can be quite helpful to get you out of this situation. 

Prioritize Your Assignments

If you’ve got a ton of assignments to finish – and only a limited amount of time – its good to prioritize them in an order of importance – which classes do you need to complete them today – ones with very lenient teachers or professors – and ones that are low priority because you’re allowed to miss this one assignment. Having that done, your experience with finishing your assignments will go over much smoother and less stressful. 

Motivate Yourself

There’s a reason why you’re feeling stressed in this crunch time, you’re trying to accomplish something. Whether its to improve your grade or pass class, you still have motivation to do it. If you didn’t have any motivation, you wouldn’t be this stressed to read this article on the internet. But keep in mind your end goals so you’ll have the time and energy to spend on it. Complaining about not having enough time, isn’t going to give you more time.

Figure Out Your Problems

If you’ve procrastinated and put off your assignments, there must be a good reason, right? A good reason or not – you should reevaluate the things you’re doing in your life that put you in this position. If it can be helped, avoid these kinds of situations. Education is important and you should treat it as such. 

Once you get a handle on your situation, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Managing your time isn’t easy, so once its done you can relax a bit before your next deadline. 

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Assignment Juggling Mastery: Strategies to Efficiently Navigate and Excel When Facing a Pile-Up of Academic Tasks.

Managing multiple assignments can be overwhelming. However, with effective strategies and time management, you can complete them successfully. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to manage and complete multiple assignments on or before the given deadlines:

1. Prioritize Your Assignments:

- Start by identifying which assignments are due. Prioritize them based on deadlines. Consider factors like the complexity of the assignment, the amount of research required, and your familiarity with the topic.

2. Break Down Each Assignment:

- Divide each assignment into smaller, manageable tasks. It could include researching, outlining, writing, revising, and proofreading. Breaking down assignments into smaller steps makes them less intimidating.

3. Create a Schedule:

- Develop a detailed schedule or to-do list that outlines when you'll work on each assignment. Allocate specific time slots for research, writing, and editing. Be realistic about the time needed for each task.

4. Set Goals:

- Establish daily or weekly goals for completing portions of your assignments. Setting achievable milestones will help you stay on track and motivated.

5. Minimize Distractions:

- Find a quiet and focused workspace to minimize distractions. Turn off social media notifications and other distractions while working on assignments.

6. Use Time Management Techniques:

- Techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (working in focused intervals with short breaks) can improve productivity and prevent burnout.

7. Start Early:

- Begin working on assignments as soon as they are assigned. Procrastination can lead to stress and lower-quality work.

8. Utilize Resources:

- If you encounter challenges with a particular assignment, seek help from professors, or you can opt for platforms offering Assignment Help USA . Don't hesitate to ask questions when you're unsure about a task.

Diverse Time Management Techniques for students

9. Stay Organized:

- Keep all your assignment-related materials well-organized, including research notes, outlines, and drafts. Use digital tools or physical folders to manage your resources.

10. Avoid Multitasking:

- Focus on one assignment at a time. Multitasking can reduce the quality of your work and increase stress levels.

11. Take Breaks:

- Allocate short breaks between tasks to recharge your mind. Use this time to stretch, walk, or do something enjoyable to prevent burnout.

12. Stay Healthy:

- Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Physical and mental well-being are crucial for effective time management and productivity.

13. Review and Revise:

- After completing an assignment, take the time to review and revise your work. Check for errors and improve the overall quality of your assignment.

14. Seek Extensions if Necessary:

- If you encounter unexpected challenges or circumstances that hinder your ability to complete an assignment on time, consider requesting an extension from your professor. Be sure to provide valid reason/reasons and request it before the deadlines mentioned in the instructions.

15. Celebrate Your Achievements:

- Acknowledge your accomplishments along the way. Reward yourself for meeting milestones and completing assignments. Positive reinforcement can boost motivation.

You must remember that effective time management and organization are crucial to completing multiple assignments successfully. Following these steps and maintaining a proactive approach to your coursework can reduce stress and produce high-quality work within your deadlines.

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Rubric Best Practices, Examples, and Templates

A rubric is a scoring tool that identifies the different criteria relevant to an assignment, assessment, or learning outcome and states the possible levels of achievement in a specific, clear, and objective way. Use rubrics to assess project-based student work including essays, group projects, creative endeavors, and oral presentations.

Rubrics can help instructors communicate expectations to students and assess student work fairly, consistently and efficiently. Rubrics can provide students with informative feedback on their strengths and weaknesses so that they can reflect on their performance and work on areas that need improvement.

How to Get Started

Best practices, moodle how-to guides.

  • Workshop Recording (Fall 2022)
  • Workshop Registration

Step 1: Analyze the assignment

The first step in the rubric creation process is to analyze the assignment or assessment for which you are creating a rubric. To do this, consider the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the assignment and your feedback? What do you want students to demonstrate through the completion of this assignment (i.e. what are the learning objectives measured by it)? Is it a summative assessment, or will students use the feedback to create an improved product?
  • Does the assignment break down into different or smaller tasks? Are these tasks equally important as the main assignment?
  • What would an “excellent” assignment look like? An “acceptable” assignment? One that still needs major work?
  • How detailed do you want the feedback you give students to be? Do you want/need to give them a grade?

Step 2: Decide what kind of rubric you will use

Types of rubrics: holistic, analytic/descriptive, single-point

Holistic Rubric. A holistic rubric includes all the criteria (such as clarity, organization, mechanics, etc.) to be considered together and included in a single evaluation. With a holistic rubric, the rater or grader assigns a single score based on an overall judgment of the student’s work, using descriptions of each performance level to assign the score.

Advantages of holistic rubrics:

  • Can p lace an emphasis on what learners can demonstrate rather than what they cannot
  • Save grader time by minimizing the number of evaluations to be made for each student
  • Can be used consistently across raters, provided they have all been trained

Disadvantages of holistic rubrics:

  • Provide less specific feedback than analytic/descriptive rubrics
  • Can be difficult to choose a score when a student’s work is at varying levels across the criteria
  • Any weighting of c riteria cannot be indicated in the rubric

Analytic/Descriptive Rubric . An analytic or descriptive rubric often takes the form of a table with the criteria listed in the left column and with levels of performance listed across the top row. Each cell contains a description of what the specified criterion looks like at a given level of performance. Each of the criteria is scored individually.

Advantages of analytic rubrics:

  • Provide detailed feedback on areas of strength or weakness
  • Each criterion can be weighted to reflect its relative importance

Disadvantages of analytic rubrics:

  • More time-consuming to create and use than a holistic rubric
  • May not be used consistently across raters unless the cells are well defined
  • May result in giving less personalized feedback

Single-Point Rubric . A single-point rubric is breaks down the components of an assignment into different criteria, but instead of describing different levels of performance, only the “proficient” level is described. Feedback space is provided for instructors to give individualized comments to help students improve and/or show where they excelled beyond the proficiency descriptors.

Advantages of single-point rubrics:

  • Easier to create than an analytic/descriptive rubric
  • Perhaps more likely that students will read the descriptors
  • Areas of concern and excellence are open-ended
  • May removes a focus on the grade/points
  • May increase student creativity in project-based assignments

Disadvantage of analytic rubrics: Requires more work for instructors writing feedback

Step 3 (Optional): Look for templates and examples.

You might Google, “Rubric for persuasive essay at the college level” and see if there are any publicly available examples to start from. Ask your colleagues if they have used a rubric for a similar assignment. Some examples are also available at the end of this article. These rubrics can be a great starting point for you, but consider steps 3, 4, and 5 below to ensure that the rubric matches your assignment description, learning objectives and expectations.

Step 4: Define the assignment criteria

Make a list of the knowledge and skills are you measuring with the assignment/assessment Refer to your stated learning objectives, the assignment instructions, past examples of student work, etc. for help.

  Helpful strategies for defining grading criteria:

  • Collaborate with co-instructors, teaching assistants, and other colleagues
  • Brainstorm and discuss with students
  • Can they be observed and measured?
  • Are they important and essential?
  • Are they distinct from other criteria?
  • Are they phrased in precise, unambiguous language?
  • Revise the criteria as needed
  • Consider whether some are more important than others, and how you will weight them.

Step 5: Design the rating scale

Most ratings scales include between 3 and 5 levels. Consider the following questions when designing your rating scale:

  • Given what students are able to demonstrate in this assignment/assessment, what are the possible levels of achievement?
  • How many levels would you like to include (more levels means more detailed descriptions)
  • Will you use numbers and/or descriptive labels for each level of performance? (for example 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and/or Exceeds expectations, Accomplished, Proficient, Developing, Beginning, etc.)
  • Don’t use too many columns, and recognize that some criteria can have more columns that others . The rubric needs to be comprehensible and organized. Pick the right amount of columns so that the criteria flow logically and naturally across levels.

Step 6: Write descriptions for each level of the rating scale

Artificial Intelligence tools like Chat GPT have proven to be useful tools for creating a rubric. You will want to engineer your prompt that you provide the AI assistant to ensure you get what you want. For example, you might provide the assignment description, the criteria you feel are important, and the number of levels of performance you want in your prompt. Use the results as a starting point, and adjust the descriptions as needed.

Building a rubric from scratch

For a single-point rubric , describe what would be considered “proficient,” i.e. B-level work, and provide that description. You might also include suggestions for students outside of the actual rubric about how they might surpass proficient-level work.

For analytic and holistic rubrics , c reate statements of expected performance at each level of the rubric.

  • Consider what descriptor is appropriate for each criteria, e.g., presence vs absence, complete vs incomplete, many vs none, major vs minor, consistent vs inconsistent, always vs never. If you have an indicator described in one level, it will need to be described in each level.
  • You might start with the top/exemplary level. What does it look like when a student has achieved excellence for each/every criterion? Then, look at the “bottom” level. What does it look like when a student has not achieved the learning goals in any way? Then, complete the in-between levels.
  • For an analytic rubric , do this for each particular criterion of the rubric so that every cell in the table is filled. These descriptions help students understand your expectations and their performance in regard to those expectations.

Well-written descriptions:

  • Describe observable and measurable behavior
  • Use parallel language across the scale
  • Indicate the degree to which the standards are met

Step 7: Create your rubric

Create your rubric in a table or spreadsheet in Word, Google Docs, Sheets, etc., and then transfer it by typing it into Moodle. You can also use online tools to create the rubric, but you will still have to type the criteria, indicators, levels, etc., into Moodle. Rubric creators: Rubistar , iRubric

Step 8: Pilot-test your rubric

Prior to implementing your rubric on a live course, obtain feedback from:

  • Teacher assistants

Try out your new rubric on a sample of student work. After you pilot-test your rubric, analyze the results to consider its effectiveness and revise accordingly.

  • Limit the rubric to a single page for reading and grading ease
  • Use parallel language . Use similar language and syntax/wording from column to column. Make sure that the rubric can be easily read from left to right or vice versa.
  • Use student-friendly language . Make sure the language is learning-level appropriate. If you use academic language or concepts, you will need to teach those concepts.
  • Share and discuss the rubric with your students . Students should understand that the rubric is there to help them learn, reflect, and self-assess. If students use a rubric, they will understand the expectations and their relevance to learning.
  • Consider scalability and reusability of rubrics. Create rubric templates that you can alter as needed for multiple assignments.
  • Maximize the descriptiveness of your language. Avoid words like “good” and “excellent.” For example, instead of saying, “uses excellent sources,” you might describe what makes a resource excellent so that students will know. You might also consider reducing the reliance on quantity, such as a number of allowable misspelled words. Focus instead, for example, on how distracting any spelling errors are.

Example of an analytic rubric for a final paper

Above Average (4)Sufficient (3)Developing (2)Needs improvement (1)
(Thesis supported by relevant information and ideas The central purpose of the student work is clear and supporting ideas always are always well-focused. Details are relevant, enrich the work.The central purpose of the student work is clear and ideas are almost always focused in a way that supports the thesis. Relevant details illustrate the author’s ideas.The central purpose of the student work is identified. Ideas are mostly focused in a way that supports the thesis.The purpose of the student work is not well-defined. A number of central ideas do not support the thesis. Thoughts appear disconnected.
(Sequencing of elements/ ideas)Information and ideas are presented in a logical sequence which flows naturally and is engaging to the audience.Information and ideas are presented in a logical sequence which is followed by the reader with little or no difficulty.Information and ideas are presented in an order that the audience can mostly follow.Information and ideas are poorly sequenced. The audience has difficulty following the thread of thought.
(Correctness of grammar and spelling)Minimal to no distracting errors in grammar and spelling.The readability of the work is only slightly interrupted by spelling and/or grammatical errors.Grammatical and/or spelling errors distract from the work.The readability of the work is seriously hampered by spelling and/or grammatical errors.

Example of a holistic rubric for a final paper

The audience is able to easily identify the central message of the work and is engaged by the paper’s clear focus and relevant details. Information is presented logically and naturally. There are minimal to no distracting errors in grammar and spelling. : The audience is easily able to identify the focus of the student work which is supported by relevant ideas and supporting details. Information is presented in a logical manner that is easily followed. The readability of the work is only slightly interrupted by errors. : The audience can identify the central purpose of the student work without little difficulty and supporting ideas are present and clear. The information is presented in an orderly fashion that can be followed with little difficulty. Grammatical and spelling errors distract from the work. : The audience cannot clearly or easily identify the central ideas or purpose of the student work. Information is presented in a disorganized fashion causing the audience to have difficulty following the author’s ideas. The readability of the work is seriously hampered by errors.

Single-Point Rubric

Advanced (evidence of exceeding standards)Criteria described a proficient levelConcerns (things that need work)
Criteria #1: Description reflecting achievement of proficient level of performance
Criteria #2: Description reflecting achievement of proficient level of performance
Criteria #3: Description reflecting achievement of proficient level of performance
Criteria #4: Description reflecting achievement of proficient level of performance
90-100 points80-90 points<80 points

More examples:

  • Single Point Rubric Template ( variation )
  • Analytic Rubric Template make a copy to edit
  • A Rubric for Rubrics
  • Bank of Online Discussion Rubrics in different formats
  • Mathematical Presentations Descriptive Rubric
  • Math Proof Assessment Rubric
  • Kansas State Sample Rubrics
  • Design Single Point Rubric

Technology Tools: Rubrics in Moodle

  • Moodle Docs: Rubrics
  • Moodle Docs: Grading Guide (use for single-point rubrics)

Tools with rubrics (other than Moodle)

  • Google Assignments
  • Turnitin Assignments: Rubric or Grading Form

Other resources

  • DePaul University (n.d.). Rubrics .
  • Gonzalez, J. (2014). Know your terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics . Cult of Pedagogy.
  • Goodrich, H. (1996). Understanding rubrics . Teaching for Authentic Student Performance, 54 (4), 14-17. Retrieved from   
  • Miller, A. (2012). Tame the beast: tips for designing and using rubrics.
  • Ragupathi, K., Lee, A. (2020). Beyond Fairness and Consistency in Grading: The Role of Rubrics in Higher Education. In: Sanger, C., Gleason, N. (eds) Diversity and Inclusion in Global Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.

Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center

  • Teaching Resources
  • TLPDC Teaching Resources

How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?

Prepared by allison boye, ph.d. teaching, learning, and professional development center.

Assessment is a necessary part of the teaching and learning process, helping us measure whether our students have really learned what we want them to learn. While exams and quizzes are certainly favorite and useful methods of assessment, out of class assignments (written or otherwise) can offer similar insights into our students' learning.  And just as creating a reliable test takes thoughtfulness and skill, so does creating meaningful and effective assignments. Undoubtedly, many instructors have been on the receiving end of disappointing student work, left wondering what went wrong… and often, those problems can be remedied in the future by some simple fine-tuning of the original assignment.  This paper will take a look at some important elements to consider when developing assignments, and offer some easy approaches to creating a valuable assessment experience for all involved.

First Things First…

Before assigning any major tasks to students, it is imperative that you first define a few things for yourself as the instructor:

  • Your goals for the assignment . Why are you assigning this project, and what do you hope your students will gain from completing it? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you aim to measure with this assignment?  Creating assignments is a major part of overall course design, and every project you assign should clearly align with your goals for the course in general.  For instance, if you want your students to demonstrate critical thinking, perhaps asking them to simply summarize an article is not the best match for that goal; a more appropriate option might be to ask for an analysis of a controversial issue in the discipline. Ultimately, the connection between the assignment and its purpose should be clear to both you and your students to ensure that it is fulfilling the desired goals and doesn't seem like “busy work.” For some ideas about what kinds of assignments match certain learning goals, take a look at this page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons.
  • Have they experienced “socialization” in the culture of your discipline (Flaxman, 2005)? Are they familiar with any conventions you might want them to know? In other words, do they know the “language” of your discipline, generally accepted style guidelines, or research protocols?
  • Do they know how to conduct research?  Do they know the proper style format, documentation style, acceptable resources, etc.? Do they know how to use the library (Fitzpatrick, 1989) or evaluate resources?
  • What kinds of writing or work have they previously engaged in?  For instance, have they completed long, formal writing assignments or research projects before? Have they ever engaged in analysis, reflection, or argumentation? Have they completed group assignments before?  Do they know how to write a literature review or scientific report?

In his book Engaging Ideas (1996), John Bean provides a great list of questions to help instructors focus on their main teaching goals when creating an assignment (p.78):

1. What are the main units/modules in my course?

2. What are my main learning objectives for each module and for the course?

3. What thinking skills am I trying to develop within each unit and throughout the course?

4. What are the most difficult aspects of my course for students?

5. If I could change my students' study habits, what would I most like to change?

6. What difference do I want my course to make in my students' lives?

What your students need to know

Once you have determined your own goals for the assignment and the levels of your students, you can begin creating your assignment.  However, when introducing your assignment to your students, there are several things you will need to clearly outline for them in order to ensure the most successful assignments possible.

  • First, you will need to articulate the purpose of the assignment . Even though you know why the assignment is important and what it is meant to accomplish, you cannot assume that your students will intuit that purpose. Your students will appreciate an understanding of how the assignment fits into the larger goals of the course and what they will learn from the process (Hass & Osborn, 2007). Being transparent with your students and explaining why you are asking them to complete a given assignment can ultimately help motivate them to complete the assignment more thoughtfully.
  • If you are asking your students to complete a writing assignment, you should define for them the “rhetorical or cognitive mode/s” you want them to employ in their writing (Flaxman, 2005). In other words, use precise verbs that communicate whether you are asking them to analyze, argue, describe, inform, etc.  (Verbs like “explore” or “comment on” can be too vague and cause confusion.) Provide them with a specific task to complete, such as a problem to solve, a question to answer, or an argument to support.  For those who want assignments to lead to top-down, thesis-driven writing, John Bean (1996) suggests presenting a proposition that students must defend or refute, or a problem that demands a thesis answer.
  • It is also a good idea to define the audience you want your students to address with their assignment, if possible – especially with writing assignments.  Otherwise, students will address only the instructor, often assuming little requires explanation or development (Hedengren, 2004; MIT, 1999). Further, asking students to address the instructor, who typically knows more about the topic than the student, places the student in an unnatural rhetorical position.  Instead, you might consider asking your students to prepare their assignments for alternative audiences such as other students who missed last week's classes, a group that opposes their position, or people reading a popular magazine or newspaper.  In fact, a study by Bean (1996) indicated the students often appreciate and enjoy assignments that vary elements such as audience or rhetorical context, so don't be afraid to get creative!
  • Obviously, you will also need to articulate clearly the logistics or “business aspects” of the assignment . In other words, be explicit with your students about required elements such as the format, length, documentation style, writing style (formal or informal?), and deadlines.  One caveat, however: do not allow the logistics of the paper take precedence over the content in your assignment description; if you spend all of your time describing these things, students might suspect that is all you care about in their execution of the assignment.
  • Finally, you should clarify your evaluation criteria for the assignment. What elements of content are most important? Will you grade holistically or weight features separately? How much weight will be given to individual elements, etc?  Another precaution to take when defining requirements for your students is to take care that your instructions and rubric also do not overshadow the content; prescribing too rigidly each element of an assignment can limit students' freedom to explore and discover. According to Beth Finch Hedengren, “A good assignment provides the purpose and guidelines… without dictating exactly what to say” (2004, p. 27).  If you decide to utilize a grading rubric, be sure to provide that to the students along with the assignment description, prior to their completion of the assignment.

A great way to get students engaged with an assignment and build buy-in is to encourage their collaboration on its design and/or on the grading criteria (Hudd, 2003). In his article “Conducting Writing Assignments,” Richard Leahy (2002) offers a few ideas for building in said collaboration:

• Ask the students to develop the grading scale themselves from scratch, starting with choosing the categories.

• Set the grading categories yourself, but ask the students to help write the descriptions.

• Draft the complete grading scale yourself, then give it to your students for review and suggestions.

A Few Do's and Don'ts…

Determining your goals for the assignment and its essential logistics is a good start to creating an effective assignment. However, there are a few more simple factors to consider in your final design. First, here are a few things you should do :

  • Do provide detail in your assignment description . Research has shown that students frequently prefer some guiding constraints when completing assignments (Bean, 1996), and that more detail (within reason) can lead to more successful student responses.  One idea is to provide students with physical assignment handouts , in addition to or instead of a simple description in a syllabus.  This can meet the needs of concrete learners and give them something tangible to refer to.  Likewise, it is often beneficial to make explicit for students the process or steps necessary to complete an assignment, given that students – especially younger ones – might need guidance in planning and time management (MIT, 1999).
  • Do use open-ended questions.  The most effective and challenging assignments focus on questions that lead students to thinking and explaining, rather than simple yes or no answers, whether explicitly part of the assignment description or in the  brainstorming heuristics (Gardner, 2005).
  • Do direct students to appropriate available resources . Giving students pointers about other venues for assistance can help them get started on the right track independently. These kinds of suggestions might include information about campus resources such as the University Writing Center or discipline-specific librarians, suggesting specific journals or books, or even sections of their textbook, or providing them with lists of research ideas or links to acceptable websites.
  • Do consider providing models – both successful and unsuccessful models (Miller, 2007). These models could be provided by past students, or models you have created yourself.  You could even ask students to evaluate the models themselves using the determined evaluation criteria, helping them to visualize the final product, think critically about how to complete the assignment, and ideally, recognize success in their own work.
  • Do consider including a way for students to make the assignment their own. In their study, Hass and Osborn (2007) confirmed the importance of personal engagement for students when completing an assignment.  Indeed, students will be more engaged in an assignment if it is personally meaningful, practical, or purposeful beyond the classroom.  You might think of ways to encourage students to tap into their own experiences or curiosities, to solve or explore a real problem, or connect to the larger community.  Offering variety in assignment selection can also help students feel more individualized, creative, and in control.
  • If your assignment is substantial or long, do consider sequencing it. Far too often, assignments are given as one-shot final products that receive grades at the end of the semester, eternally abandoned by the student.  By sequencing a large assignment, or essentially breaking it down into a systematic approach consisting of interconnected smaller elements (such as a project proposal, an annotated bibliography, or a rough draft, or a series of mini-assignments related to the longer assignment), you can encourage thoughtfulness, complexity, and thoroughness in your students, as well as emphasize process over final product.

Next are a few elements to avoid in your assignments:

  • Do not ask too many questions in your assignment.  In an effort to challenge students, instructors often err in the other direction, asking more questions than students can reasonably address in a single assignment without losing focus. Offering an overly specific “checklist” prompt often leads to externally organized papers, in which inexperienced students “slavishly follow the checklist instead of integrating their ideas into more organically-discovered structure” (Flaxman, 2005).
  • Do not expect or suggest that there is an “ideal” response to the assignment. A common error for instructors is to dictate content of an assignment too rigidly, or to imply that there is a single correct response or a specific conclusion to reach, either explicitly or implicitly (Flaxman, 2005). Undoubtedly, students do not appreciate feeling as if they must read an instructor's mind to complete an assignment successfully, or that their own ideas have nowhere to go, and can lose motivation as a result. Similarly, avoid assignments that simply ask for regurgitation (Miller, 2007). Again, the best assignments invite students to engage in critical thinking, not just reproduce lectures or readings.
  • Do not provide vague or confusing commands . Do students know what you mean when they are asked to “examine” or “discuss” a topic? Return to what you determined about your students' experiences and levels to help you decide what directions will make the most sense to them and what will require more explanation or guidance, and avoid verbiage that might confound them.
  • Do not impose impossible time restraints or require the use of insufficient resources for completion of the assignment.  For instance, if you are asking all of your students to use the same resource, ensure that there are enough copies available for all students to access – or at least put one copy on reserve in the library. Likewise, make sure that you are providing your students with ample time to locate resources and effectively complete the assignment (Fitzpatrick, 1989).

The assignments we give to students don't simply have to be research papers or reports. There are many options for effective yet creative ways to assess your students' learning! Here are just a few:

Journals, Posters, Portfolios, Letters, Brochures, Management plans, Editorials, Instruction Manuals, Imitations of a text, Case studies, Debates, News release, Dialogues, Videos, Collages, Plays, Power Point presentations

Ultimately, the success of student responses to an assignment often rests on the instructor's deliberate design of the assignment. By being purposeful and thoughtful from the beginning, you can ensure that your assignments will not only serve as effective assessment methods, but also engage and delight your students. If you would like further help in constructing or revising an assignment, the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center is glad to offer individual consultations. In addition, look into some of the resources provided below.

Online Resources

“Creating Effective Assignments” http://www.unh.edu/teaching-excellence/resources/Assignments.htm This site, from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning,  provides a brief overview of effective assignment design, with a focus on determining and communicating goals and expectations.

Gardner, T.  (2005, June 12). Ten Tips for Designing Writing Assignments. Traci's Lists of Ten. http://www.tengrrl.com/tens/034.shtml This is a brief yet useful list of tips for assignment design, prepared by a writing teacher and curriculum developer for the National Council of Teachers of English .  The website will also link you to several other lists of “ten tips” related to literacy pedagogy.

“How to Create Effective Assignments for College Students.”  http:// tilt.colostate.edu/retreat/2011/zimmerman.pdf     This PDF is a simplified bulleted list, prepared by Dr. Toni Zimmerman from Colorado State University, offering some helpful ideas for coming up with creative assignments.

“Learner-Centered Assessment” http://cte.uwaterloo.ca/teaching_resources/tips/learner_centered_assessment.html From the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo, this is a short list of suggestions for the process of designing an assessment with your students' interests in mind. “Matching Learning Goals to Assignment Types.” http://teachingcommons.depaul.edu/How_to/design_assignments/assignments_learning_goals.html This is a great page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons, providing a chart that helps instructors match assignments with learning goals.

Additional References Bean, J.C. (1996). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Fitzpatrick, R. (1989). Research and writing assignments that reduce fear lead to better papers and more confident students. Writing Across the Curriculum , 3.2, pp. 15 – 24.

Flaxman, R. (2005). Creating meaningful writing assignments. The Teaching Exchange .  Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008 from http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Sheridan_Center/pubs/teachingExchange/jan2005/01_flaxman.pdf

Hass, M. & Osborn, J. (2007, August 13). An emic view of student writing and the writing process. Across the Disciplines, 4. 

Hedengren, B.F. (2004). A TA's guide to teaching writing in all disciplines . Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.

Hudd, S. S. (2003, April). Syllabus under construction: Involving students in the creation of class assignments.  Teaching Sociology , 31, pp. 195 – 202.

Leahy, R. (2002). Conducting writing assignments. College Teaching , 50.2, pp. 50 – 54.

Miller, H. (2007). Designing effective writing assignments.  Teaching with writing .  University of Minnesota Center for Writing. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008, from http://writing.umn.edu/tww/assignments/designing.html

MIT Online Writing and Communication Center (1999). Creating Writing Assignments. Retrieved January 9, 2008 from http://web.mit.edu/writing/Faculty/createeffective.html .

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Eberly Center

Teaching excellence & educational innovation, creating assignments.

Here are some general suggestions and questions to consider when creating assignments. There are also many other resources in print and on the web that provide examples of interesting, discipline-specific assignment ideas.

Consider your learning objectives.

What do you want students to learn in your course? What could they do that would show you that they have learned it? To determine assignments that truly serve your course objectives, it is useful to write out your objectives in this form: I want my students to be able to ____. Use active, measurable verbs as you complete that sentence (e.g., compare theories, discuss ramifications, recommend strategies), and your learning objectives will point you towards suitable assignments.

Design assignments that are interesting and challenging.

This is the fun side of assignment design. Consider how to focus students’ thinking in ways that are creative, challenging, and motivating. Think beyond the conventional assignment type! For example, one American historian requires students to write diary entries for a hypothetical Nebraska farmwoman in the 1890s. By specifying that students’ diary entries must demonstrate the breadth of their historical knowledge (e.g., gender, economics, technology, diet, family structure), the instructor gets students to exercise their imaginations while also accomplishing the learning objectives of the course (Walvoord & Anderson, 1989, p. 25).

Double-check alignment.

After creating your assignments, go back to your learning objectives and make sure there is still a good match between what you want students to learn and what you are asking them to do. If you find a mismatch, you will need to adjust either the assignments or the learning objectives. For instance, if your goal is for students to be able to analyze and evaluate texts, but your assignments only ask them to summarize texts, you would need to add an analytical and evaluative dimension to some assignments or rethink your learning objectives.

Name assignments accurately.

Students can be misled by assignments that are named inappropriately. For example, if you want students to analyze a product’s strengths and weaknesses but you call the assignment a “product description,” students may focus all their energies on the descriptive, not the critical, elements of the task. Thus, it is important to ensure that the titles of your assignments communicate their intention accurately to students.

Consider sequencing.

Think about how to order your assignments so that they build skills in a logical sequence. Ideally, assignments that require the most synthesis of skills and knowledge should come later in the semester, preceded by smaller assignments that build these skills incrementally. For example, if an instructor’s final assignment is a research project that requires students to evaluate a technological solution to an environmental problem, earlier assignments should reinforce component skills, including the ability to identify and discuss key environmental issues, apply evaluative criteria, and find appropriate research sources.

Think about scheduling.

Consider your intended assignments in relation to the academic calendar and decide how they can be reasonably spaced throughout the semester, taking into account holidays and key campus events. Consider how long it will take students to complete all parts of the assignment (e.g., planning, library research, reading, coordinating groups, writing, integrating the contributions of team members, developing a presentation), and be sure to allow sufficient time between assignments.

Check feasibility.

Is the workload you have in mind reasonable for your students? Is the grading burden manageable for you? Sometimes there are ways to reduce workload (whether for you or for students) without compromising learning objectives. For example, if a primary objective in assigning a project is for students to identify an interesting engineering problem and do some preliminary research on it, it might be reasonable to require students to submit a project proposal and annotated bibliography rather than a fully developed report. If your learning objectives are clear, you will see where corners can be cut without sacrificing educational quality.

Articulate the task description clearly.

If an assignment is vague, students may interpret it any number of ways – and not necessarily how you intended. Thus, it is critical to clearly and unambiguously identify the task students are to do (e.g., design a website to help high school students locate environmental resources, create an annotated bibliography of readings on apartheid). It can be helpful to differentiate the central task (what students are supposed to produce) from other advice and information you provide in your assignment description.

Establish clear performance criteria.

Different instructors apply different criteria when grading student work, so it’s important that you clearly articulate to students what your criteria are. To do so, think about the best student work you have seen on similar tasks and try to identify the specific characteristics that made it excellent, such as clarity of thought, originality, logical organization, or use of a wide range of sources. Then identify the characteristics of the worst student work you have seen, such as shaky evidence, weak organizational structure, or lack of focus. Identifying these characteristics can help you consciously articulate the criteria you already apply. It is important to communicate these criteria to students, whether in your assignment description or as a separate rubric or scoring guide . Clearly articulated performance criteria can prevent unnecessary confusion about your expectations while also setting a high standard for students to meet.

Specify the intended audience.

Students make assumptions about the audience they are addressing in papers and presentations, which influences how they pitch their message. For example, students may assume that, since the instructor is their primary audience, they do not need to define discipline-specific terms or concepts. These assumptions may not match the instructor’s expectations. Thus, it is important on assignments to specify the intended audience http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm (e.g., undergraduates with no biology background, a potential funder who does not know engineering).

Specify the purpose of the assignment.

If students are unclear about the goals or purpose of the assignment, they may make unnecessary mistakes. For example, if students believe an assignment is focused on summarizing research as opposed to evaluating it, they may seriously miscalculate the task and put their energies in the wrong place. The same is true they think the goal of an economics problem set is to find the correct answer, rather than demonstrate a clear chain of economic reasoning. Consequently, it is important to make your objectives for the assignment clear to students.

Specify the parameters.

If you have specific parameters in mind for the assignment (e.g., length, size, formatting, citation conventions) you should be sure to specify them in your assignment description. Otherwise, students may misapply conventions and formats they learned in other courses that are not appropriate for yours.

A Checklist for Designing Assignments

Here is a set of questions you can ask yourself when creating an assignment.

  • Provided a written description of the assignment (in the syllabus or in a separate document)?
  • Specified the purpose of the assignment?
  • Indicated the intended audience?
  • Articulated the instructions in precise and unambiguous language?
  • Provided information about the appropriate format and presentation (e.g., page length, typed, cover sheet, bibliography)?  
  • Indicated special instructions, such as a particular citation style or headings?  
  • Specified the due date and the consequences for missing it?
  • Articulated performance criteria clearly?
  • Indicated the assignment’s point value or percentage of the course grade?
  • Provided students (where appropriate) with models or samples?

Adapted from the WAC Clearinghouse at http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm .

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IMAGES

  1. 8 Amazing Tips to Complete Your Assignment Faster

    complete your assignment

  2. How to Complete Your Assignment Quickly

    complete your assignment

  3. Best Ways to Complete Your Assignment with Ease

    complete your assignment

  4. How to Complete Your Assignment Quickly

    complete your assignment

  5. 5 Simple Steps to Finish Your Assignment

    complete your assignment

  6. How to Start an Assignment Right: Tips and Examples

    complete your assignment

VIDEO

  1. How To Complete Assignment#1-Lesson Plan Evaluations

  2. Students

  3. Complete Your Assignment II

  4. June 8, 2024

  5. Dr. Marcus Cosby

  6. How to write an assignment

COMMENTS

  1. 14 Proven Tips For Completing Assignments

    Start early to complete assignments on time. Assignments can take longer than you think, so start working on them as soon as they're assigned. This will help you avoid last-minute stress and ensure that you have enough time to complete the assignment to the best of your ability. 4. Set goals for assignment completion

  2. How to Finish Your Homework: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    Download Article. 1. Ask your parents or peers for help. Parent involvement in homework has been shown to help with homework completion and improved academic performance. [15] Asking a friend for help in understanding a concept or an assignment can go a long way in helping you complete your homework on time. [16] 2.

  3. How to Do Homework: 15 Expert Tips and Tricks

    Here's how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, you get to take a 5 minute break.

  4. 8 Easy Ways to Finish Your Homework Faster

    Evaluate and improve your SAT score. 3. Gather all your gear. Collect EVERYTHING you will need for the homework you are working on (like your laptop for writing assignments and pencils for problem sets). Getting up for supplies takes you off course and makes it that much harder to get back to your homework. 4.

  5. The 5 Best Homework Help Websites (Free and Paid!)

    Homework help websites are designed to help you complete your homework assignments, plain and simple. What Makes a Homework Help Site Worth Using. Most of the best sites allow users to ask questions and then provide an answer (or multiple possible answers) and explanation in seconds.

  6. How to Ace Your College Assignments

    Create A Plan And Work Schedule. Once you have a good understanding of the task at hand and what's expected of you, it's time to create a plan. This should be a detailed document that outlines everything you need to do in order to complete the assignment to a high standard. Your plan should include a timeline and deadlines for each task, as ...

  7. 1.1.10 Practice

    Practice: Complete Your Assignment Practice Name: Date: Write a literary analysis essay about an intercalary chapter of The Grapes of Wrath. Your essay should examine how the structure and language support the overall purpose, and it should include specific examples from the text to support your claim. Your essay should include the following ...

  8. Mastering Homework: 15 Strategies to Tackle Assignments Like a Pro

    Planning your homework allows you to allocate time efficiently, ensuring you complete assignments on time without feeling overwhelmed. Benefit 2: Reduced Stress Levels. A well-planned homework schedule reduces the stress associated with procrastination and rushed work, enabling you to complete your homework in a timely and efficient manner

  9. Understanding Assignments

    An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment. Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand.

  10. The 5 Best Homework Help Apps You Can Use

    Best App for Math Homework Help: Photomath. Price: Free (or up to $59.99 per year for premium services) Best for: Explaining solutions to math problems. This app allows you to take a picture of a math problem, and instantly pulls up a step-by-step solution, as well as a detailed explanation of the concept.

  11. How to Start an Assignment: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

    Look over your assignment and discover the steps it will require you to take in order to complete it. Find the most appealing and personally interesting steps and work on those first. By doing the parts of your assignment that you like the most, you will be more inclined to get started and see the rewards of working rather than procrastinating. [1]

  12. How to Finish Assignments When You Can't

    Ask for Help from Classmates. Your classmates are a good resource for you to help you finish your assignments, late or on time. They may even just give you answers - as long as you are polite about it and aren't pressuring them to do so. They are helping you when they aren't required to, and they'll be more inclined if you are also ...

  13. How to complete when you have lots of assignments

    4. Set Goals: - Establish daily or weekly goals for completing portions of your assignments. Setting achievable milestones will help you stay on track and motivated. 5. Minimize Distractions: - Find a quiet and focused workspace to minimize distractions. Turn off social media notifications and other distractions while working on assignments.

  14. 4 Tips To Help You Complete Online Assignments On Time

    1. Create A Time Table. At least a week before the official commencement of class, a course outline is usually posted in the course area. This course outline gives the assignments for each week. Get a head start by reviewing the eLearning course outline, a day or two prior, instead of waiting until class begins.

  15. Rubric Best Practices, Examples, and Templates

    Step 4: Define the assignment criteria. Make a list of the knowledge and skills are you measuring with the assignment/assessment Refer to your stated learning objectives, the assignment instructions, past examples of student work, etc. for help. Helpful strategies for defining grading criteria:

  16. How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?

    Being transparent with your students and explaining why you are asking them to complete a given assignment can ultimately help motivate them to complete the assignment more thoughtfully. If you are asking your students to complete a writing assignment, you should define for them the "rhetorical or cognitive mode/s" you want them to employ ...

  17. 2.3.9 Practice

    2.3 Practice: Complete Your Assignment Practice English 12 Sem 1 Name: Cesar Alvarez Date: 1/9/ Write a two-paragraph analysis about which of two artists Dante would have chosen to illustrate the Inferno. The first paragraph should explain Dante's overall purpose for writing the Inferno, based on what you've learned in the unit.

  18. Improving Your Argumentative Research Essay: Tips for Revising

    4.3.9 Practice: Complete Your Assignment Practice English 10 Honors Sem 2 Points Possible: 40 Name: Date: Revise and edit the argumentative research essay you wrote in Lesson 2, based on feedback from your peers and from your instructor. Your revised essay should show that you paid special attention to the feedback you've received and that you've made a major effort to improve the assignment.

  19. 1.2.9 Practice

    1.2 Practice: Complete Your Assignment Practice English 11 Sem 2 Name: Kamara Terrapin Date: 1/19/ Write annotations and a short introduction for a poem from this lesson. Your annotations and introduction will look at how the aesthetic impact of the poem is affected by tone, figurative language, and other elements.

  20. Creating Assignments

    After creating your assignments, go back to your learning objectives and make sure there is still a good match between what you want students to learn and what you are asking them to do. ... Consider how long it will take students to complete all parts of the assignment (e.g., planning, library research, reading, coordinating groups, writing ...

  21. Do My Assignment For Me Online

    Everyone is a professional with the proper education needed to complete order to do your assignment online and create plagiarism-free text. The final piece must have no issues, even if the assignments help online is urgent. Your request takes many hours but should be done with close attention to detail. Plagiarism-Free Policy

  22. 2.2.9 Practice

    Practice: Complete Your Assignment 1/ Practice: Complete Your Assignment Practice Name: Date: The assignment for this lesson is as follows: Write a letter to the editor in response to Curtis Wilkie's editorial "Words Triumph Over Images." In the letter, you must give your opinion about how the type of media affects the way people experience news.

  23. English 2.2.9 Practice.pdf

    2.2.9 Practice: Complete Your Assignment English 12 Sem 2 Points Possible: 30 Jamie Sundberg Answer a series of essay questions in which you evaluate and analyze Joseph Stalin's 1941 speech. You must make judgments about the quality of the speaker's argument, examining how his biases, use of evidence, and logical fallacies affect the speech's overall point and purpose.