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Assignment and Study Help

Assignment and library skills

What you need to do

So you have just been handed your assignment and you do not know where to start?

Before you begin looking for information you should:

  • Read the question, including the marking criteria sheet carefully
  • Understand what is expected
  • Know when it is due
  • Use the assignment calculator to help plan your assignment

Following these steps will help you get ready to start your search for information.

Remember: If you are unsure of anything you should contact your teacher as they will be the one marking your work!

New Students often find the start of study challenging, Learning time management and planning skills will enhance your study skills and benefit you in your future career.

 A process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between different activities, working smarter not harder 

(Tumisu, 2017)



 Mind Mapping - A creative thinking tool that is used to brainstorm ideas when preparing for assignments, reports, presentations and exams

Reference List

Tumisu (2017)  Time management  [Photograph]  Pixabay

To start your search you need to determine the main parts of your assignment question. 

Assignment questions contain instructional words, keywords and limiting words. These form the structure of your assignment.

Instruction words tell you how to approach the topic or subject, and clarify what focus your research should take. Words like examineexplore and argue all require you to tackle your assignment in a different way.

Limiting words determine where to start and stop and set limits to your topic.They may identify specific time periods or geographic areas, eg. Australia or 20th century.

Keywords are single words or phrases which define the subject or main ideas of the question. To identify the keywords of your question:

  1. Read and analyse the question carefully
  2. Underline or highlight all the keywords. These are the words that will tell you what information you need to find.
  3. Circle all the instructional words. These words will tell you what to do with the information you find.
  4. Create a mind map to help you structure, organise and analyse your ideas. Mind map software link is located in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.
  5. Begin a list of everything you need to combine into your assignment. This will help ensure you include everything that your assignment question has asked for.
  6. Next write a list of the topics you need to research. Use other sections in this Guide to ensure your search is broad, including books, eJournals and reputable websites just to name a few. Don’t forget your suggested reading list & textbooks.

The following may also be relevant when choosing keywords:

  • Alternative words or synonyms (e.g. mobile phones / cell phones)
  • Abbreviations (e.g dept for department)
  • Singular or plural terms (woman and women)
  • Spelling variations (colour and color)
  • Variations of word endings (e.g. nurse, nurses, nursing or nursery)

TIP: If you can't think of any synonyms or related terms yourself, try searching a thesaurus, dictionary or encyclopaedia

For more help watch the video tutorials below.

Note: you will use the keywords and limiting words when conducting your search

Before moving onto the next tutorials, ensure you understand the following:

What exactly are you required to do?

Read the assignment task & the assignment marking criteria sheet carefully.

Remember to talk to your teacher if you are confused or have any questions.

What type of assignment is it? Is it an essay, report or oral presentation?

When is it due?

Plan and allocate time for researching information, writing drafts, and editing the finished assignment.

  • Use the assignment calculator to help you plan your assignment.

How long should the assignment be?

How many words or approximate number of pages?



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