Your Assignment…. If you Choose to Accept It?
Written by Professional Academy Tutor and Marketing Expert Peter Sumpton
Being prepared for an exam (which I have already covered in a previous blog) and writing an assignment are two very different things. In an exam scenario you only have a set period of time to answer questions. You may be fooled into thinking that with an assignment you have all the time in the world, but this mission, if you choose to accept it, should still be undertaken in a structured, methodical, timely way to receive top marks. Below are just a few hints and tips to get you started:
Answer the task given, not your own
Similar to an exam, it is easy to read a task, misinterpret what it is asking for and answer in a way you feel comfortable with, rather than what is actually being asked for. The good news is you have time to change you answer. Like a good pair of jeans that take time for you to feel comfortable in, you can shape, mould and remould you answer making sure it is fit for purpose.
Style it out
It is not just about the content of your answer that counts towards your overall mark. Around 10% of your mark will be determined on the presentation style set out at the start of the assignment paper. Before writing anything, make sure you understand the style format that is required.
Report format is very different from an article, which differs from a general discussion. Presentations, blogs and even podcasts are popular elements to many assignments. Don’t be afraid to embrace the style specified, it will make you stand out and be engaging for the examiner to read and mark.
You have my word, you can count on it
A word or page count will guide you thought each task, which should be followed closely; you won’t get additional marks for waffling on in an answer. If you have gone over this limit, it probably means you have written too much or your answers aren’t as succinct as they could be. Too little and the chances are you haven’t written enough.
Use an appendix if you need to include additional content of any length, but only if this adds value to your answer. An appendix should be used to add information that is not essential, but can support your answers. Although there is no limit to what can be placed in an appendix, it shouldn’t be used as a safety net or research dumping facility.
Do your research
Speaking of research, there is no excuse in not researching your answers, be it via company specific information or through the wider marketing genre (theories, models, case studies), it is all readily available for you and should be used.
The weight of it all
Each task will have a specific number of marks apportioned to it making it easy to figure out how much should be written per mark. Doing this before you start your assignment will help to keep each answer focussed.
Remember there are no additional marks per task, so don’t go looking for them. One pitfall can be completing a task you are more comfortable with at length, even when unnecessary, talking vital content away from other areas of your assignment. Respect the marking!
What’s your point?
When you feel you are ready to start to complete your assignment, it can be daunting. Try and start with getting the key messages down for each section in bullet point format. This will assist with building your answer in a number of ways:
- Adding structure
- Make sure you cover all key elements
- Keeps each answer on course
- Assists in keeping within the page / word count
It’s life, but not as we know it
The assignments are usually structured in a way that tries to focus your learning around real life organisations (preferably one you work for). There will be a wealth of information you can gather by asking the right people internally, at your company. Try to remember this is more about lifelong learning than just simply passing an assignment. Tackle each question as if it has been given to you at work – this will give you focus and will help with the writing style specified.
Real life examples are an important part of an assignments content. Start to build a portfolio of examples that could be used in your answers.
Referencing is vital. Giving credit for theory, models and commentary highlights your extended reading and knowledge gathering. The Harvard referencing system is current what the CIM request is used and more information on this can be found here (add link to referencing guide). Keep a list of the content that has been used as this will make completing a reference guide at the back of your assignment easier.
Get it in on time!
One of the most important aspects of your entire CIM / CAM qualification journey. Make sure you know the key submission dates and structure your time accordingly. Complete each assignment on time, allowing for;
- Any questions that may occur during your research
- Your tutor to review your assignment and provide feedback
- Check, double check and tripe check what you have written*
*Reading it backwards maybe a pain, but it helps to spot typo’s and errors.
This blog will now self-destruct in 10 seconds……. It won’t really.
If you would like to improve your Digital Marketing skills or complete a CIM qualifcation which includes Digital Strategy why not get in touch with one of our qualification advisers today and speak to us about which qualification is right for you today?