Once you have found all the resources you wish to use as supporting evidence in your work the next thing is to get acquainted with those resources, make some notes and then make a plan so that you can write your assignment.
In order to do this efficiently and calmly the best thing is to work out the time you have available before the hand in date and then plan your time over the next few weeks so that you can work on your assignment and fit in your home commitments, job and social life. Make sure that you won’t be working on the essay in a panic the night before hand in date.
See our guide to time management
Once you have sorted out when and where you can do some study, you need to look at the resources you’ve collected and start reading them to make sense of the topic.
If your lecturer has given you a reading list that is great place to start but see Get searching for some more ideas. Use indexes and contents pages to find the crucial bits in the books you are using.
See our guide to academic reading
You will probably want to take notes from reading. Reading can be a passive activity, most of us need to do something to help us remember information we have read. Try these approaches to keep your reading time lively.
See our guide to note taking
Once you’ve read all the resources you’ve identified to support your work you’ll need to make a plan. You need to think about the structure of your essay or assignment. See our guide on structuring your assignment
Try allocating a number of words to each section in your plan so you don’t end up writing too much about one section and don’t have enough words left for another.
Answering these questions will help you plan your work. Try to stick to your plan if you can and make sure you don’t spend longer on creating your plan than writing your assignment- you can’t hand in a plan!
It may help to think about your topic in different ways. You could try these 3 approaches to get you started on writing.
Allocate ten minutes or so to just write down anything and everything that you know about the topic. Try not to stop to think just keep writing. The idea is to really focus your mind on the topic and your existing knowledge. It will also help in making you aware of gaps that need to be filled. Don't worry about spelling or grammar at this stage just get the ideas down. See the MIT guide to the technique guide to freewriting
Mind mapping uses a mapping process so you make connections with lines. You start with your central topic in the middle of a large blank sheet of paper and you make connections to other topics around the central concept or word. Find out more about the basics.
Cubing encourages you to look at a topic in 6 different ways.
The Six Sides of the Cube are: