Depending on which course you study, you will either be assessed by means of written assignments, or through a combination of written assignments and exams. Assignments not only help to deepen your understanding of the work, but they often also count toward your final mark.

It is therefore important that you put effort into your assignments, and that you complete them to the best of your ability.

We realise that, like many other students, you might be unsure of how to go about completing your assignments, or that you might be afraid of failure. If you are an Oxbridge Academy student, we’d like you to know that we are here to help you every step of the way, and that we will give you the opportunity to resubmit your assignments if you don’t achieve a pass mark the first time around.


Here are 10 tips for how you can achieve higher marks for your written assignments:


Achieve higher marks for your written assignments

1 – Read (and follow) the instructions carefully.

If you are an Oxbridge Academy student, the general assignment guidelines will be provided in your “Success” Study Guide. Specific instructions will also be included at the beginning of each of your assignments.

If you don’t follow the instructions, you might lose marks or fail the assignment completely.

2 – Read the questions carefully.

Make sure you understand what is being asked of you, so that you focus on answering the right questions, instead of providing irrelevant information.

3 – Remember that presentation is important.

Neatness, spelling, and the structure of your assignment will all count toward the mark that you receive for your assignment.

4 – Use your course material and other external sources to find answers to the assignment questions. 

But make sure to use your own words — don’t just copy. You need to show the person marking your assignment that you have developed a sound understanding of the subject.

5 – When you use external resources, remember to reference them properly, and to include them in a bibliography.

If you don’t, you will be guilty of plagiarism, which is a serious offence.

6 – If you discuss the assignment questions with other students:

Always hand in your own work, and make sure that you use your own words when you formulate your answers. 

7 – When it comes to essay questions:

  •  Plan/outline your answer before doing the final draft.
  •  Remember that essays have titles, introductions, bodies, and conclusions.
  •  Use headings and paragraphs to structure your answer.
  •  Each paragraph should contain one main thought or idea, and there should be a logical link between each paragraph and the next.  
  •  Make sure that you focus on answering the question – only include relevant information, and remember to present logical arguments in support of your answer.

8 – Proofread your assignment before handing it in.

Tip: read your answers out loud to make sure that they sound logical. 

9 – Always keep a copy or electronic backup of your assignment.

This way, you won’t have to start over if your computer crashes, or redo the whole assignment if the original goes missing.

10 – When you get your assignment back from your tutor:

Read through the feedback, and learn from your mistakes. This will help you to prepare for your exams (if you have to write them), as well as to help you achieve better marks in future assignments. 


Types of questions that you will frequently come across in assignments


In your assignments, you will often be asked to write short paragraphs or longer essays in which you have to “explain” a particular concept, “identify” certain features, or “prove” a certain point. It’s sometimes difficult to figure out exactly what these questions mean — which is why we are providing you with the following list of explanations:


Analyse, argue

Assess, compare, consider, contrast, criticise


Describe, discuss, define, distinguish, explain

Identify, interpret, illustrate, justify, outline

Prove, summarise

Look out for the next part of this series, in which we’ll be sharing tips on how to answer questions in exams.