Top 10 Assignment Tips Study skills | Karl Meyer | 29 January 2019

Based on hundreds of assignments I have compiled, I thought I would share the top 10 things I advise my students.

  1. RTFQ - Read The Flipping Question.  Check that you are answering the question not what you think the question is.
  2. Analyse, don't Describe. I write this on pretty much every single draft.  Just listing what you're doing or giving me a shopping list of what you will do is NOT enough.  You need to provide analysis and evidence to justify/explain WHY you're doing/planning this.  Link this analysis to evidence and the core marketing models. This is an academic piece of work not a Radio5 football phone-in so "reckoning" is insufficient.
  3. Use references. Harvard references are needed to demonstrate this evidence (2-3 per page as a rough rule of thumb).  Don't just reference the coursebook - show a breadth and depth of reading.
  4. Make it easy to read. The marker will be bored and under a huge time pressure.  Do not turn your assignment into a treasure hunt where your nuggets of mark earning text are buried in dense prose. I once had a 700 word paragraph - not nice.
  5. 11pt is not the only font size. (and black is not the only colour) use headings and sub-headings to help the marker (and me) navigate your work.  Don't use the MS word header auto-numbering thing.  It does not match the CIM assignment structure.
  6. Yes the word count is tight.  This is deliberate. You have up to 10% over the word count but anything below word count is highly unlikely to answer in sufficient detail. Word count for sub-sections should be pro-rata to the marks awarded.
  7. Don't game the system by chucking lots of stuff in appendices.  Appendices are not marked so sticking a 3 page SWOT analysis in an appendix and writing "Please see Appendix S for a SWOT analysis" will earn you no marks.
  8. A picture is worth a thousand words. Use diagrams to help explain complex things. BUT
  9. Ctrl C, Ctrl V does not earn you marks.  So do not simply copy stock diagrams - make them personal to your business (so show how your sales funnel works not just a generic funnel)
  10. Would you show this to your boss?  If not why are you showing it to me or the marker?


Once you have written the draft, print it out and print out the assignment questions and do a parallel read/trial marking of your own work.  Can you honestly see where and how you have answered the question and earned the marks?