Brush up on your study skills

How’s your trimester going?

With the end of year break just around the corner, now’s the time to run away and never come back brush up on your study skills!

Have you checked out our Study Smart tutorial yet?

We have a range of self-help materials to help you totally nail your studies!

If you’re new to uni, you can get an online orientation to the library! Then go on to learn about critical thinking, time management, reading effectively and effective note taking.

Now – become a pro at uni assessment, following our tutorials for preparing for your assignment, writing your assignment, referencing (trust us, it’s super important to be on top of this – and not nearly as daunting as it seems!) and exam prep.

We’ve even got info to help you brush up your social media skills. We know, you’re Millennials, what can we teach you? But take a squiz, you might actually learn something – like how to use social media to help land a job!

How to effectively prepare for your next assignment

First thing’s first: turn off the Netflix (just kidding, but you should prob do that anyway).

The first step to getting your assignment done is to understand what you need to do – you need to pull your assignment question apart to figure out how to put an answer together that will score you top marks.

So how do you analyse your assignment question? Simply follow the four steps below:

1. Get the bigger picture
Do you know what the learning outcomes of the course are? You need to know how your assignment fits in with the course learning outcomes and aims. Head to the course profile in myGriffith to find out what they are, and then ask yourself ‘how do they relate to the assignment?’ Understanding the connection will help you find the focus of the assignment.

3. Gather all information
You should be able to find all the assignment details in the course profile in myGriffith. Identify when the assignment is due, how much it’s worth (e.g. 50% of your overall course grade), how long it has to be (i.e. the word limit) and what format it should take. You will be asked to submit assignments in different formats, such as essays, literature reviews, reports or oral presentations. The Writing your Assignment Study Smart module introduces you to the different formats and provides an outline of what they could include. Finally, be sure to check the marking criteria. It will show you how many marks each section is worth and how your work will be assessed. If you understand the marking criteria, you can write an assignment that ticks all the boxes for your course.

3. Decipher the assignment task
You need to identify directive, topic and limiting words in the assignment question. These important words help you figure out how to research and write the assignment.

  • The assignment task will contain directive words like ‘examine’, ‘analyse’ or ‘compare’. Directive words tell you how to approach the assignment.
  • Topic words identify the major concepts in your task. These will come in handy when you are looking for resources, and help you stay focused on your topic.
  • Limiting words help narrow the scope of your assignment. They set boundaries for you and are often dates, locations or populations.

4. Ask a lot of questions
Now that you understand what you are being asked to do, it’s time to break the task into mini questions. Having a series of questions to answer will help you focus your research and writing, as well as develop a logical response to the topic. The assignment task itself may contain mini questions. It may have a primary question and a number of secondary questions. The answer to the primary question is your overall argument. The secondary questions could be descriptive or analytical. A descriptive question asks for background information or context to the primary question. Whereas, an analytical question prompts you to dig deeper into the assignment topic.

For further help, check out our Study Smart tutorial.

Assignment submission 101

After many Redbulls and late nights you have finally finished that assignment, proofread it a million times and ensured everything is referenced correctly. You’re ready to be done with it – but how do you submit?

At Griffith, all assignment submission is online (yep, no need to come into the library, you can stay right there on your computer chair/bed, in your PJs).

Simply head to Learning@Griffith, load up your course site and locate the submission point (you’ll find it under the relevant Assessment folder in the left hand menu).

While the method of submission depends on what your course convener has chosen, the main two assessment tools used at Griffith are Turnitin and the Blackboard Assignment tool (this includes SafeAssign).

They’re as easy to use as Mi Goreng is to make – simply follow the prompts on the page. However if you need a little bit more help, you can find further information on these tools via the guides below:

Once you’ve clicked that Submit button, it’s a good practice to check your submission has been successful.

In Turnitin, when you have submitted successfully you will see a Digital Receipt appear in a popup window. It is a great idea to Print or Save a copy of this receipt.

In Blackboard Assignment tool, when you submit successfully you will receive a ‘Submission received’ email. You can also check under the Submitted tab in your My Marks area to see submission receipts for any assignments submitted via this tool.

After you’ve submitted, you’ll have an option to open the submitted file – to be safe, take a look through the file to ensure it has uploaded correctly.

Now that’s done, it’s time to wait and hope you’ve done enough for that 7 you’re aiming for (no ‘Ps get degrees’ mottos here, right?)!

If you do encounter any issues during the submission process (or post submission), you can easily access the Support Centre by clicking the little ? at the top right of your screen, or contact the wonderful IT Service Centre for further assistance.


Eating veggies improves your writing and spelling

Photo of food in a bowl

Do you need help writing that lengthy essay, literature review or research report?

Sure, you could consult the handy Study Smart tutorial and read up on how to write an assignment. And we totally recommend that you do just that.

But if your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, your output is going to be less than the sheer genius it should be. And what you eat and drink has an effect on how well your brain performs.

So what specifically should you eat come assignment-writing time? According to a recent study published in Appetite, you should consume vast quantities of sweet, sweet soft drink.

No, just messing with you.  Vegetables are the answer. But if you’re thinking that snacking on some carrot and hummus while drafting your essay is all that it takes, think again.

The 2017 study found greater consumption of vegetables with the evening meal (7 nights/week) was associated with higher test scores in the domains of spelling and writing.

That means veggies for dinner every night of the week people! And lots of them…

Now, the study didn’t mention a specific type of vegetable. We are taking that to mean you can eat any vegetable of your choice.

So whether you have a particular penchant for peas, parsnips or pumpkin, life is a bowl of cherries.

Back to the sweet beverages though, the study also found that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with significantly lower test scores in reading, writing, grammar/punctuation, and numeracy.

Put down that can of cola and back away.

A guide to writing your assignment

You’ve unpacked the topic, gathered information, and now you’re ready to write your assignment.

If you have been staring at an open Word document for 30 minutes, trying to come up with a good opening sentence, you need to check out our guide on writing your assignment.

When you’re beginning the writing process you’ve got to work out what type of assignment you are writing. Is it a report, essay, reflective piece, or literature review? If you’re not sure, take another look at your assignment information or check with your lecturer or tutor.  This information will help inform your layout, and influence your content.

Literature reviewsreports, and reflective pieces all vary in terms of content and layout, so take a look at our guides so you know what to include and where to focus.

Now, it’s time to get writing. Most academic writing has a similar structure. You’ll need an introduction, body, and conclusion. The writing your assignment guide will give you a detailed overview of what you need to include in each of these sections, as well as how to structure each individual section.

Start writing by creating a rough outline of your structure, and what you intend to include in each section. Try using dot-points under headings to note down key information to include. Then, you can begin filling the sections in!

When you’re done, don’t forget to proofread (it always helps to get somebody else to take a look over your assignment too, as they may catch things you had missed). Don’t neglect your reference list – it needs to be proofread too!

How to ace group assignments

Not all university assessments are a solitary activity. Sometimes you will be required to work on an assignment, project or class presentation with a group of fellow students.

Group work can enhance your social skills, build self-esteem and confidence, and promote tolerance through the sharing of alternative ideas and points of view.

Working in a group will help prepare you for team environments in the workplace and teach you a range of values and competencies that employers look for in graduates.

Here’s some tips to help you work effectively in a group.

Start with introductions and set some ground rules

It takes time for a group of individuals to become a team. Meet your team members as soon as possible and get to know each other.

Decide how the group will communicate. Are you going have face-to-face meetings or communicate online through email or group discussion forums?

Whether you meet in person or virtually, create a schedule of meetings with agendas. Decide on team roles so that everyone keeps on track.

And remember, play nicely with others. Be inclusive and treat each other with respect and courtesy.

Understand the assignment requirements

Do you understand what the assignment is asking you to do? Take the time to analyse your assignment topic. Identify specific tasks and estimate the time required to complete them.

Once you have done this, you will need to prioritise the tasks, set deadlines, and allocate the tasks to team members.

This will ensure work is divided fairly and effectively. Use your meetings to regularly review progress and revise deadlines.

Use technology to collaborate

Get to know your technology. There are so many technologies available to help you collaborate online with your team mates.

From discussion boards, wikis and instant messaging to email, social media and Google Docs.

Make sure you are an active online participant: read, respond and contribute to the group’s postings.

Use effective strategies to overcome problems

Problems may arise within a group for a variety of reasons. They may result from unequal efforts from team members, disagreements about group objectives, clash of personalities, simple misunderstandings and straight-out differences of opinion.

Any issues need to be dealt with promptly and decisively. Learn to effectively manage conflict so you can facilitate discussion and come to a resolution. Contact the lecturer or tutor if a problem is not able to be resolved.

– Extract from Study Smart –

Kick start your study success by attending an earlybird workshop

Quick quiz:

  • Are you starting uni this trimester?
  • Did you find last trimester’s study a challenge?
  • Do you want to further develop your learning skills?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, our earlybird workshops are perfect for you!

Prior to Trimester 2, 2017, we are offering the following earlybird workshops free to Griffith students:

Strategies for study at university
Get an overview of university culture and expectations, and learn some helpful strategies for managing your time and studying effectively. Beginning the trimester with a head start on study and time management will make a world of difference, we promise!

Writing university assignments
Does your assignment writing process involve opening a new word document, and staring at an empty page for 30 minutes trying to come up with an opening sentence? Don’t let assignments get the better of you! This workshop will cover the basics of getting started on structuring and writing assignments, and will help prepare you to smash the next assignment you get!

Researching and Referencing for your assignments
Being able to research and reference is a kinda crucial part of uni. If this seems daunting, come along to this workshop. You’ll gain awareness of the wide range of information resources available at Griffith and learn to identify the principles of referencing and the process of applying them within academic work.

Check out the times, dates, and locations, come along to a workshop, and start trimester two prepared for success!