How to Not Actually Have to Write an Assignment

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Another 52 minutes of great self control to get that assignment done! Best way to kill some time while you have a break. Go grab some water as well — staying hydrated is important! Another words should be your goal. By the end of this 52 minutes you should really have a draft body complete. Try 2 minute noodles so you can spend the other 15 reading online articles. You should be able to smash through them.

That should get you to the 1, word mark. When was the last time you went through the vine archives?


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At six seconds a video you could potentially watch vines during this break. Spend this 52 minutes sorting your in text and reference list. Print your work out and look at it with some fresh eyes. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation. More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:. Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor.

What this handout is about

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, he or she still has 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. 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. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association. However, their joys are short-lived. Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. 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.

Should you use statistics?

Tips To Concentrate On Boring Homework Assignments

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.

What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment

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.

No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor.


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  • When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality she or he expects. 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. 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.

    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.

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    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.