Written Assignment Checklist


As you sit down to write your first draft, you should be able to say yes to the six questions in the first stage. The six questions in the second stage will serve both as reminders for what you need to remember as you write, and as a checklist on completion of the draft.. If you cannot tick everything (and few people get it totally right the first time) then you know what you have to work on before you hand it in.


Stage 1: Before Writing:

1.       Have you carefully re-read the relevant text with a fresh eye and mind now that you know what topic you are going to write your essay on? There may be things that you missed the first time or that are relevant but we just did not focus on in class. Have you got a good grasp of the whole text as well as the parts that you are using? Remember, if you are unsure about anything, this is the time to ask me what is going on. That is what I am here for.


2.       Have you looked through the assessment criteria, and the other resources on the website, to remind yourself what the examiner will be looking for?


3.       Have you selected a clear, specific topic which you find interesting (at least relatively).


4.       Have you assembled evidence from each text to ensure that you have enough material to support your points


5.       Have you looked back through examples of other essays and opening paragraphs to give you some guidance about how to structure your essay


6.       Are you aware of the times and cultures and different literary traditions in which your texts were written and whether these are relevant to the points that you are going to make in your essay?




Stage 2: After Completing your First Draft:

1.       Have you really explored what you said you were going to in the title. If, for example, you were exploring the role of the grandfather in Season of Migration to the North then have you made sure that you explored a number of different roles that he plays rather than just saying one thing about him over and over again?


2.       Are your main ideas and points carefully supported and illustrated with relevant, precise and, preferably, short references to the texts, or quotations? If not, find good ones and incorporate them. You need them for a convincing argument.


3.       Is your essay analytical instead of being descriptive? Does it go beyond simply describing, for example, different instances of violence and analyse the role that violence plays in the text, why it is important and the different effects the author has created by using violence in the way that it has been used?


4.       Have you relied too much on secondary sources for your ideas? Remember this essay must start with your ideas. Once you know where you are going and what you want to say then you might use secondary sources for some extra ideas but do not value someone elseˇ¦s opinions above your own. This assignment is all about you.


5.       Are you within the word limit? Preferably try to get as close to 1500 words as possible. This is not a lot.


6.       Have you made a bibliography indicating the editions and translations of the texts you are using, as well as any other sources used?