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Key Assignment Questions


You have received an new writing assignment and listen carefully as the instructor explains the task. A few hours later you sit down to begin to write and realize you have questions....

This is not uncommon. While each assignment will be different, there are techniques and questions you can use from the first day of class to make later writing assignments easier to handle.

First Day of Class

Writing assignments don't start with the instructor handing out the writing assignment topic. They begin with knowing what the writing expectations are in a class along with other course requirements. To start preparing, review the syllabus for key information. Remember the syllabus is your guide to course policies, assignments and other information.

Syllabus Information

When reading the syllabus look for information on assignments and writing. Note the following:

  • Are there writing assignments specifically listed in the syllabus or course schedule?
  • Does the instructor include a statement about formatting, citation style or other information?
  • Are there key phrases that may indicate writing or research will be required (e.g. analysis, argument, report, etc.)?

If these questions are not clear, ask the professor about the writing requirements for the course. Some key questions that you should ask if they are not in the syllabus are:

  • What citation style is being used?
  • If a specific citation style is being used are their special reu