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5 top tips on how to tackle deadlines



It’s getting to that time of year when deadlines are appearing. Although hand in dates after the Easter break may seem far away, they will come around before you know it. Many students struggle to organise themselves efficiently, choosing to delay starting assignments by going out or spending time with friends in the increasingly sunny weather. It is very easy to put these deadlines to the back of your mind and only begin to tackle them days before their due date. We have all done this and it can be a hard habit to get out of.

Below are some tips on ways to get yourself through this often daunting time of year as easily as possible.

1. Start planning early

When handed out a piece of coursework start gathering some ideas straight away. Write them in a journal or blog so you can read over them at your leisure. By beginning to think about your work as soon as you receive it the information your lecturer has given you will be fresh in your head, meaning you can run ideas by them and check you are heading in the right direction. Another benefit of gathering ideas early is they get the ball rolling. They will be in the back of your mind and you can be thinking about it and coming up with ideas very easily. It will also make it easier when you sit down to get stuck into the assignment as you wont have to spend time wondering what to write about.

2. Familiarise yourself with the mark scheme

A common mistake students make is to not read the mark scheme for the piece of work they are doing. Mark schemes are there to tell you exactly what the examiners are looking for when they mark the work. They have a set criteria you need to know, as assignments will inevitably gain higher marks if they include what has been specified. If you think the mark schemes are unclear or too brief, talk to your lecturers. They can often amend or increase the information to help students feel more confident in what is expected from their work.

3. Decide where is best for you to study

Most people have something that helps them work well. For some it is listening to music, others prefer complete silence and some people like to have company while studying. Find out what works for you and tackling assignments may become easier to complete. What helps you will affect where you choose to study. Sometimes working at home can provide too many distractions such as TV, Facebook or food. The library is usually a safe bet but if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere try a cafe or park or anywhere you feel comfortable. The location of where you work can drastically change how efficient you are. So if you struggle to get through ten minutes work, try doing it somewhere else.

4. Ask for help if you need it

The staff at Leeds Met are there for you. They are there to help and encourage you through your studies and each one will have a great amount of knowledge that could help you. If you are unsure on anything then make sure you send an email and set up a meeting with them. The staff at the library are a great help for helping you find what you need. Make sure you use them to get the books and resources you need and also to advise you on how to make a bibliography to avoid any plagiarism.

5. Don't leave it until the last minute

The worst mistake to make is to think that completing your work the night before its submission date is a good idea. Not only will it compromise the quality of your work but it is always a possibility things can go wrong and there will not be time to rectify them. Frequent problems are computers crashing, faulty printers, lost USB’s, etc. Often genuine reasons like these will not be credible to staff and marks will be deducted for work submitted late. Try to get into your head the deadline is a week earlier than it is. This will spur you on to complete it early and if you do encounter an unlucky situation there will be time to fix it.

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