Coursework is a boon for many students, as it doesn’t involve the same kind of high pressure found in an exam room. As a result, they are better able to showcase just what they are capable of, academically. For those students who have a tendency to buckle under the pressure of an exam room, coursework is a golden opportunity to maximize their grade at the end of the semester.
Now, this isn’t to say that coursework isn’t challenging. It definitely is. The difference between the kinds of challenges experienced in coursework, as compared to exams, is more in kind than degree. They are different challenges. Since coursework offers more time to deliver, the threshold of quality is higher. As a result, more research and planning are required to make your coursework as good as it can be. You also need to be very good at gathering and analyzing data, as well as communicating your thoughts in a well-written essay.
Coursework at the high school level is usually in the form of an extended project or essay. The objectives change, depending on the subject, but the emphasis is always on the student doing independent research on a particular topic. In that sense, coursework is more detective work than anything.
What are the rules of coursework?
While there’s room for creativity and independent thinking for most coursework, there are a few rules one should not forget:
- You shouldn’t plagiarize. This is dangerous, as it can damage your reputation and ruin your chances of getting to the university of your choice. There’s nothing wrong with getting credible information off the internet, but make sure you express everything in your own words.
- Coursework is independent. Your teacher can go only so far in helping you. Beyond some guidance on what to include, or what examiners look for, they won’t actually help you write the essay or do the project.
- Don’t forget about the word count. In fact, find out whether appendices, footnotes, and bibliography are part of the word count or are excluded from it. Make sure you stick to the word count without writing fluff.
- Know your limits. Find out what topics you’re allowed to tackle. More often than not, topics that have an exam are excluded from those allowed for coursework, so try to find that out before-hand.
The planning phase
As easy as it is to fall into that trap, you should avoid leaving the coursework until the last minute. Even if it normally works for you, it’s generally not the best strategy. If you feel that you are overwhelmed with school work, and can’t dedicate enough time to coursework, consider contracting a writing service, like Writix, to help you with the heavy lifting. Whatever you do, though, start working on your coursework early.
Figure out what your deadlines are, including the ones for submitting first drafts. Schedule blocks of time to work on your coursework, with plenty of time before the deadline to provide for possible contingencies. You can even impose deadlines for yourself, to force yourself to stay disciplined and consistent.
Do good research
As mentioned above, coursework is often an investigative process. As a result, you need to be a good researcher to do good coursework. Don’t skip this part and go straight to the write-up. This will seriously compromise the quality of your work. Consult as many different sources as you can. For science-based coursework, you need one or more hypotheses to base your work on, or else your research won’t have any real sense of direction.
Structure your work
Once you’re done with the research, plan how you’ll do the write up. For an essay, you might want to come up with an outline of the essay, with the main headings and subheadings you will tackle. For something else, you need to structure your information in a coherent way so your argument is clear. Plan that before you commit to writing.
Hone your writing abilities
Writing is a powerful medium of communication. It not only allows you to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely to people, but it also directly forces you to improve your thinking and deepen your understanding of the things you write about. If you don’t have a first principles understanding of a subject, you can’t write it simply and clearly enough for a reader to understand.
To write good essays, you need to learn to write better. Get an essay writing service to help you learn if you have to, but don’t skimp on this skill if you want to ace your coursework. Finally, when you’re done, you can submit your coursework, knowing that you did your absolute best.
Coursework is a wonderful, low pressure opportunity to showcase what you’re made of. With good planning, research, and structure, you are bound to impress your teachers. The tips above should help you do that. All that’s left is to keep your head down and get to work. All the best!
Robert Everett is a writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys breaking down complex subjects into simple, digestible tidbits for his readers. When not writing, he loves to learn to play different musical instruments.