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How to beat the last minute assessment rush

Blog by Charlotte Stone | TuneFM team member & student

We’ve all experienced it at least once, that last-minute rush to submit an assignment with only minutes until it’s due. If this is something you’d like to avoid this trimester, but are not sure where to start, here are some top tips to avoid assignment anxiety!

Make a good start

Kicking off your assignment can be the hardest part; we tend to overthink our first words. We can get so focused on writing the perfect essay that we don’t start it at all! Remember the #1 rule when it comes to beginning your assignment – keep it simple! It’s easier to focus on the simple stuff first and then expand on it later. After you’ve read your assignment guideline, take some time to create simple bullet points of basic ideas and concepts that you can elaborate on and guide your research. This will also help you to focus on creating a foundation for the assignment, without feeling overwhelmed by the larger task at hand.

Chip away at it

So you’ve made that tiny start by planning out the assignment. Maybe you’ve gone over the structure of the essay, or tossed around some ideas on what you’re going to write about – either way, you’ve done the hardest part. With that foundation in place you can now work in small, but regular chunks. Gradually chipping away at assessment tasks can not only help you to avoid rushing a submission but can help create a balance between work and play! Instead of burning yourself out by cramming the day before, try setting small and attainable goals each week leading up to the due date! An example might be to set yourself a time or word goal – this might look something like writing between 100-300 words each day. Each time you meet that daily quota you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something each study session, and after a few weeks, you’re a lot closer to that full-length essay. You can also measure it as ‘I’m going to spend 1 hour today with no distractions working on my essay!’ –  If you have trouble focusing for that long try splitting it into 20-minute segments with five-minute breaks. These sprints don’t have to be perfect! In fact, they’ll probably be far from your polished final product but it’s words on the page that you can go through and edit later – and will help you feel confident leading up to the due date.

Keep yourself accountable

Saying you’ll do a tiny bit of work per day is all well and good, but it’s perfectly human for us to have trouble sticking to it. Your brain knows there are plenty of things you’d rather be doing. So how can we ensure we get things done well before the deadline?  If you can’t work every day, condition your brain to associate at least one day of the week with doing uni work – and reward yourself after with something you enjoy doing! Remember to also take frequent breaks, get a snack, and stretch your body. Don’t forget to reduce immediate distractions and keep your phone out of reach.

Of course, we all approach learning differently, but hopefully some of the advice above can help you to make a start on that nagging assignment! Here at UNE, we have a number of people you can reach out to if you find yourself struggling to submit assessments on time, these include.

  • Contacting your Unit Coordinator with specific inquiries about your unit, their details can be found in the ‘Welcome’ block of your unit on Moodle!
  • Contact the Academic Skills Office for help with referencing, academic writing and study strategies!
  • PASS@UNE offers support for traditionally difficult units in sessions run by your fellow students!
  • Your First Year & Academic Advisors for each department can be found here!
  • And our team at Advocacy & Welfare can provide advice on what options are available to you.

If you need help applying for an extension or special consideration for your studies, you can find out how to approach it here.

So as Trimester 2 heats up, best of luck with your next assignments!

You’re never alone at UNE.

Our team at Advocacy and Welfare offers confidential support to students! Contact us here.
Student Success also has confidential counseling for students, you can find them here.
Lifeline is also a 24/7 hotline and you can call them on 13 11 14