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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Coursework: top tips for success

Coursework is an important part of the qualifications you take in Years 10 to 13. Following these hints and tips will help you cope.

Getting on top of coursework

Many of the subjects you’ll study in Years 10 to 13 can include a significant element of coursework, so it’s important to do your best if you want to get good grades.

You’re much more likely to do well if you:

  • choose topics you find interesting - this will keep you motivated
  • get organised - try to plan your projects carefully and give yourself plenty of time to do all your work
  • make sure you find somewhere quiet to study
  • research your topics carefully - make sure you do all your research before you start writing up
  • write up your coursework clearly and neatly - always check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, and also check if there’s a word limit you need to stick to

Things to avoid

Similarly, there are some definite no-nos if you want to give yourself the best chance of doing well:

  • don’t leave projects until the last minute
  • don’t start writing up before you’ve done all your research
  • don’t go over the word limit
  • don’t try to watch tv at the same time
  • don’t rush things
  • don’t copy or plagiarise

Plagiarism – what it is and how to avoid it

It’s really important that the coursework you produce is your own. Copying chunks of text and pretending they’re yours is cheating, and is known as ‘plagiarism’.

You can be guilty of plagiarism if you copy from sources such as:

  • the internet
  • books
  • computer programs
  • friends or family members
     

If you simply copy someone else’s work, you probably won’t understand it properly. You could really come unstuck if your coursework is linked to exams you have to take later in the course.

Despite what you might think, plagiarism can often be easy to spot, as people’s writing styles can be very distinctive. There are also a number of computer programs that can help teachers, tutors and exam boards identify plagiarism.

If you get caught

As well as being dishonest and unfair on the person you’re copying from, plagiarism can get you into trouble. You might receive a warning, have your final grade lowered, or even be disqualified from the qualification altogether.

Sticking to the rules

When you are given a coursework assignment, you may want to share ideas or do some research with a classmate. This is okay, but you must make sure that you each write up your work on your own.

If you do quote text from other sources, you must always say where it comes from and who wrote it.

Need help and advice on coursework?

If you’re getting stuck with coursework, often the best thing to do is speak to your teachers.

You can also find lots of help online. The BBC’s Bitesize and Schools websites are full of tips and good ideas for coursework, homework and revision.

Need help and advice on learning and qualifications?

If you're aged 13 to 19, you can get free and confidential advice on anything to do with learning and qualifications from a careers adviser.

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Get careers and skills advice

Get careers advice online or speak with a National Careers Service adviser by calling 0800 100 900

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