Where & when to start studying
- Consult your study programme – it will indicate all the assignments you have to submit to the college and which units to study before attempting to answer the questions of a specific assignment.
- Suggested time per subject: decide how long you intend to take to complete your course – it is your choice if you want to complete your studies before your stipulated contract period comes to an end. Now take the amount of months and divide it by the amount of assignments you have to submit to the college. If your course is examined, make provision for at least one month for revision before you intend to write the exam. Also make provision for the fact that you might have to re-submit an assignment due to you not having achieved the desired competency level. This will be indicated by a W-grade (grade withheld), and you will be given another chance to resubmit your assignment.
- Example: I want to complete my course within two years, and my course is an examined course. I have 11 assignments to submit to the college within two years (24 months), leaving one month at the end to do revision for the exams, and making provision for holidays (thus ±22 months). Thus, 11 assignments/22 months = one assignment every two months. Please note that this is just an example of how to plan your time, but you can still choose whichever way works best for you.
- The best time to begin to study is when you receive your first study unit, so you have plenty of time to plan ahead. Draw up a study plan/schedule that allows you the time you need to get through the work you want to cover, scheduling study time every day, even if only an hour. You need to prioritise when you study, starting with the most important or difficult sections while you are fresh.
Include in your schedule, breaks for coffee, watching TV, a chat or just ten minutes to an hour of stretching and breathing exercises. This will get your circulation going, wake you up and help you to concentrate. Put this study plan on your wall where you are going to study, and stick to it!
- When you open a study unit, look at the contents page to see what each chapter is about. Take your time to absorb what you will be learning, and then focus on one section at a time. Always read the outcomes or learning objectives at the beginning of each study unit or chapter, so you know what you are going to learn before you start. Look carefully at the headings for each section, and see how everything fits together. Do the tasks and self-assessment questions in the study units, as these are designed to consolidate your understanding. Interact with the study material - make notes and highlight the parts you think are the key points. Get a friend or member of your family to ask you questions, so you become confident about answering.
How to submit assignments to the college:
- Write neatly and answer questions in the order and same manner as they appear on your question paper
- Write in blue/black pen (not pencil)
- Attach an Assignment Cover Sheet to your assignment, click here to download
- Staple pages in the left-hand corner (do not use paperclips)
- Fill out your details on the test sheet
- Make sure your address is visible and correct
- Always indicate your student number and test number
- Do not staple assignments together, rather staple them separately, each one with its own test sheet, although you may place them in the same envelope
- When emailing your assignments, please download and complete the Assignment Cover Sheet MS Word document - remember to attach it to the email with your assignment
- Contact details appear in your study pack or you can contact the Student Services Call Centre
Common reasons why assignments are failed
- Not enough time is spent studying the units before attempting to do an assignment
- Copying directly from the study material, without demonstrating a true understanding of the content
- Incomplete assignments – make sure you answer every question, even if you're unsure of the answer
- Not taking note of the mark allocations and thus providing insufficient information
- Not reading the questions properly
- Not answering exactly what is asked
- Not planning the outline of an essay, prior to writing it (i.e. introduction, body, conclusion, in-text referencing and reference list at the end)
Following are some key words, which you must ensure you understand the meaning of, since the key word indicates how you should answer the question.
Analyse: Discuss in detail, pointing out main issues as well as strengths and weaknesses.
Assess: Give your opinion after considering points for and against.
Account for: Give reasons for, and ensure that the reasons are supported by adequate evidence and that deductions are logical.
Comment on: Giving reasons and without going into too much detail, supply your opinion on...
Compare: Weigh up the differences, but accept and acknowledge similarities where relevant.
Contrast: Focus on differences, but accept and acknowledge similarities where relevant.
Criticise: Give your reasoned opinion on the merit of a topic, indicating weaknesses. Ensure reasoning is logical and sound.
Define: Supply exact meaning of a phrase or concept.
Describe: Give information about something, but do not interpret it.
Discuss: Examining all aspects, point out the strengths and weaknesses. After considering it from all angles, give a reasoned conclusion.
Enumerate: List in point form – a, b, c, etc.
Evaluate: Give your opinion after considering the evidence and opinions of others, providing the positive & negative points.
Explain: Using examples, clarify an issue or concept. Give an account of: Sequentially, describe...
Illustrate: Using examples, drawings, diagrams, charts, tables, etc, to make a concept clear or to clarify a point.
Interpret: Supply your opinion on the true meaning of the subject in question.
Justify: Show adequate reasons for a proposition or conclusion. List: Supply in point form.
Outline: Provide main points, without details.
Prove: Indicate the truth of something by giving factual evidence or logical reasons.
Relate a to b: Show connection between a and b and how the one is influenced by the other.
Review: Give a critical survey, highlighting the important, relevant points.
State: Provide main points in a brief, clear format.
Summarise: Present crux of an argument, including essential points but without finer details and examples.
Trace: Follow the course/trail of...