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Writing Center Decipher and Assignment: Decipher an Assignment

Decipher An Assignment

Before you start writing, it’s important to make sure that you understand the assignment requirements. Use the resources below to interpret your assignment and manage your time while drafting.

Decode your Assignment

Deciphering writing expectations earlier in the process will make working on your assignment easier.

  • Plan how you are going to complete your assignment with an assignment calculator time management tool.
  • Read your assignment carefully. Don’t forget to review the assignment rubric as well. These rubrics are designed to provide specifics on how the instructor will be grading the assignment.
  • The earlier you begin thinking about your assignment, especially the portfolio projects, the more time you have to let your ideas develop. Pay attention to the format requirements as you are coming up with ideas. The minimum length of the paper, as well as the number of sources required, will guide you in coming up with an appropriate topic.
  • Get clarity from your instructor if you have any questions. Instructors prefer you contact them in advance rather than grade an assignment that was not done properly.
  • Know your purpose and audience. Ultimately, the purpose of the assignment is to demonstrate either your knowledge or your ability to apply knowledge. Your audience will help you determine how formal your writing should be and how much information is needed.
  • Look for key words in the assignment that indicate the type of writing your instructor expects.
  • Locate other hints. Technical details such as how your assignment should be formatted, assignment page length, and how fully you can answer a question should help you envision your writing project before you even start.
Verb: Writing Tasks:

Define, Describe, Summarize, Explain

Expository writing. Used to explain/inform through facts or ideas. Your language should be concise and direct, with few figurative images or words.

  • Define key subjects.
  • List the important ideas you have learned about the topic.
  • Provide background information.

Argue, Persuade, Convince

Persuasive writing. Used to convince the reader that your opinion is correct in regards to an issue.

  • Take a stand on an issue and convince your audience of your position.
  • Support this position with a series of facts.
  • Consider including anecdotes or hypothetical situations to further support your position.

Compare, Evaluate, Compare and Contrast

Compare/Contrast. Look for similarities and differences in the subjects and make a point or clarify a purpose.

Analyze, Assess, Evaluate, Synthesize

Analysis. Discuss how each part of something contributes to the whole by answering the questions how and why.

  • Look for strengths and weaknesses.
  • Give examples or reasons as to why you think the way you do about the topic.
  • Defend ideas about a subject.
  • Support ideas with concrete evidence.

Assignment calculator time management tool

The assignment calculator time management tool to help you generate a step-by-step calendar for your assignment.