Approaching The Question

When approaching assignments allow yourself adequate planning and preparation time. A good approach is to analyse the topic question, brainstorm (write down quickly) what you can remember about the topic and questions you need to answer (research), then sort through what you have written and prepare a plan for writing the assignment.

1. When you read a topic or question, look for the following expressions:

Topic words:              

What are the main areas/themes you will need to consider?

Instruction words:   

 What do you have to do? Look for words like discuss, compare, demonstrate, analyse and critically assess, which will let you know what you need to do in the assessment.

 Limiting words:           

Look for time, place or other limiters; for example, ‘in the 1990s’, ‘nursing in Victoria’, ‘after the 1962 Mental Health Act’.


2. Next, brainstorm the main points and areas you'll need to research.

3. Group similar ideas together, cross out ones that don't match the marking criteria and think about what sources would be useful in your research.

4. Write a preliminary plan, making sure you have covered all required elements of the assessment in a logical order. This plan should change and grow as you research the topic more.

5. Finally, check the marking criteria to be sure you haven't missed anything or spent too much time on one area while not fully covering another.