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Assignment Advice from Your Marker

Miss Honey from Matilda

I recently finished my law degree and crossed over to the ‘dark side,’ working at a university and marking assignments, essays and exams. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Given your final assignments are almost due and exams are coming up, here are some things to remember…

Markers are often under tight deadlines. Sometimes they have second jobs and stay up late (until 2am) reading through your assignments and exams. They become the law student: sitting in their pyjamas, cramped over their computer eating two minute noodles, and looking outside the window wondering when they can enjoy the sunshine again.

Please, proof read your work before you submit. Spell check takes about two minutes! If we come across a badly written assignment, it frustrates us and it can be a painful task to try and decipher what exactly you are trying to say. It always helps to print off and read a hard copy of your assignment before you submit it; you’ll often find mistakes that aren’t obvious on your computer screen.

If you want/need an extension, do not write to your lecturer the day it is due (or a week following) to ask for this extension, as chances are you won’t get it. Keep the communication lines open with your lecturer if you are ill or are having personal problems. Your lecturer is a human as well and understands that sometimes life is a little crazy (after all, your lecturer was once a law student!).

Never ever use Wikipedia as a reference. Your marker will rip your assignment apart if they see Wikipedia as a source. Always use academic references. Always cite legislation and case law over a textbook – the same way as in a courtroom you’ll never be able to cite ‘John’s guide to Property Law.’

Get to know the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 3. There are certain requirements for referencing and if you do not reference properly your marker will think that you have not taken the time to properly research and understand. You will never be a high distinction student if you cannot reference properly.

Read the question. Make sure you know what is required for the assignment. Check the subject outline for tips or a marking rubric that shows what level of work is expected for a High Distinction, Distinction or Credit.

Markers are not horrible people and we don’t like to fail students. We like to help you excel in your studies, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek feedback on your assessments.

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