Mythbuster Series: Shhhhhhh!

Myth #1: You can’t talk in the library.

Not-A-Librarian: “You must love telling people to be quiet all the time.”

Please Keep Quiet in the Library By Enokson (CC BY 2.0)

Librarian: “Only when people ask that question.”

Contrary to popular belief librarians don’t revel in shushing people all day. The days of the library being a silent place of study are long-gone and librarians are embracing the community spirit. We like to think of the library as a place where students can not only do individual silent study but come to work on assignments or study with peers.

To help facilitate your collaborative study needs we have group study rooms available for you to book in advance. If you need to blow off some steam after an exam or assignment, why not get a group of friends together and play some games in the Games Lab. Students are free to talk to their peers on each level of the library – except those areas that are marked for silent study (the top two floors of Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove Libraries).

So remember, the library doesn’t need to be the kind of place you can hear a pin-drop but be mindful of your fellow students and keep noise to a respectful minimum (or we’ll have to shush you!).

Light! End of the tunnel!

You're nearly there minifig! 'Small Climb' by  Black Zack (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

You’re nearly there minifig! ‘Small Climb’ by Black Zack
(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The weather’s warming up, and all that sunshine is like a beacon of hope – it’s almost the end of semester! You’ve already handed in a few assignments and things are rolling along. To make sure you keep the momentum going, here are a few tips:

  • Use the Assignment Calculator to help manage your time on these last assessments.
  • Set some time aside for each of your assessment pieces. A weekly planner is available here.
  • If you aren’t sure about your assignment task, talk to your tutor or lecturer about what is required.
  • Ask someone at the Library Helpdesk to show you our online learning resources and help you find information.
  • Book a Study Solutions appointment for a 25 minute one-on-one appointment to talk about your assignment.
  • Check out your faculty’s peer assistance program to talk to another student about your study.

Time can slip away quickly. For best results with less stress, start early, work consistently and finish strong!

So, learning to knit ISN’T going to help with my essay?

Procrastination-001 by  Ludie Cochrane (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Procrastination-001 by Ludie Cochrane (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sorry procrastinators and those who thrive on the adrenaline rush of last-minute essay completion – the results are in and it’s not good news. A study out of the University of Warwick Business School has shown that students who hand in assignments at the last minute face a five per cent drop in marks when compared with those who submitted 24 hours or more before it was due.

The paper, Time of submission: An indicator of procrastination and a correlate of performance on undergraduate marketing assignments, which was presented at the European Marketing Academy conference investigated 504 first-year students’ and 273 third-year students’ end of term assignments

Work handed in ahead of schedule was far more likely to be awarded a distinction than work not handed in until much closer to the deadline. The average mark dropped by the hour until those handing in the paper at the last minute produced the worst results. Those that literally handed work in at the last minute could see as much as a five per cent drop on score, from 64.17 to 59.00 — taking them a whole grade lower.

Image provided by David Arnott and Scott Dacko, of Warwick Business School http://www.wbs.ac.uk/news/leaving-essays-to-the-last-minute-ruins-students-grades/

So what can you do about your procrastination habit?  How do you stop yourself from meandering into the depths of pointless activities, random hobbies (not that there isn’t value in knowing how to knit) and delaying the inevitable task ahead?

It’s all about time management.

  • The nifty QUT Library Assignment Calculator can keep you on track to complete an assignment with plenty of time to spare – including reminding you to take breaks and have some fun along the way!
  • For a more long-range view of how to manage your time across the semester, the QUT Library Semester & Weekly Planning guide can help you see at a glance what’s looming and help you juggle all your competing priorities.
  • For specific essay help, the Library Writing an Essay guide as well as our most popular resource, the Writing Structure Overview, specifically address the requirements of essay writing.

Also, check out our related QUT Library Blog post Writing great Assignments for more tips and save the knitting until semester break.

Because proofreading!

The now notorious bus stop in Bristol. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Bup? Really? Anyone who saw this picture in the media last week would have been incredulous at how on earth these sign writers managed this spelling absurdity: ‘Bup Stop’. Read the full story here.

Still, it does prove how easily spelling and grammar mistakes can slip through unnoticed. Your spelling mistakes are unlikely to trend on Twitter of course but the consequences and damage to your marks can be high.

Whereas editing looks at the ‘bigger picture’ of your writing: structure,style and task requirements, proofreading drills down to the finer points: spelling, grammar, word choice and punctuation.

Here are some key tips for proofreading:

  • Read your assignment out loud one sentence at a time. Often mistakes are easier to hear than see.
  • A sentence should only have one point. If it’s longer than two or three lines perhaps it should be more than one sentence
  • Use a spell checker – but do not rely on it!
  • Learn to spell the words and jargon and that you will be using often.
  • Check your work by reading it backwards. You’ll concentrate on each word individually this way rather than seeing what’s expected.
  • Get a critical friend – no, not a ‘frenemy’ but someone who can read your work and spot mistakes and give constructive feedback.

You can read more on the Editing and Proofreading on QUT Library’s Studywell.

Writing great assignments

 

"Maze Starts Here" by Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Maze Starts Here” by Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The secret to writing great assignments is all about how you begin and end the process. Take the time to plan and edit to make your writing clear, logical, relevant and … great!

Before

  • Plan your time carefully so that you will have time to edit before the due date. Aim to write at least one draft. This will remove the pressure to write perfectly and you’ll build momentum.
  • Know what type of assignment you’re writing. Reports, essays, critiques, annotated bibliographies, etc. have different structures, tones and styles. Know the difference before you begin.

During

  • Break the assignment into chunks and divide the word count by the number of paragraphs you plan to write. Start writing whichever paragraph you like: there is no need to write the introduction first!
  • Check regularly to ensure that your writing responds to the task sheet, the marking criteria and any other resources available on QUT Blackboard.
  • Take short breaks every hour and reward yourself when you reach the end of each section.

After

Edit and proofread by asking  these five important questions:

  1. Am I answering the assignment question?
  2. Do I use clear examples and good evidence to support my ideas?
  3. Is my assignment organised and carefully structured so a reader can follow my logic?
  4. Am I referencing correctly and consistently?
  5. Is my writing formal and free of errors? Am I using the scholarly language of my discipline: the technical terms, words and theories that are used by my lecturers and are relevant to my subject area?

For any help with writing assignments, come and see us at Study Solutions!

 

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…

'Breathe' by Rob (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

‘Breathe’ by Rob (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of Semester – particularly if this is your first semester at Uni. You’ve had your first lecture, seen the reading list (and freaked out); you’re still finding your way around campus (why is Z block next to C block?); You know there’s folders on the Blackboard site that have important info in them but you haven’t got to them all yet; you may be juggling paid work and family responsibilities; your first assessments are due soon…queue hyperventilating. It’s all pretty overwhelming stuff.

So, take a breath and come to the library for free mindfulness and meditation sessions run by QUT Counselling and calm your mind. They’re drop in, free and open to all QUT Staff and Students.

  • KG: Thu 2:15-3pm Library R403 (practical exercises for calming & clearing the mind; sitting on floor)
  • GP: Wed 12:30-1pm Library V4.08 (practical exercises for calming & clearing the mind; sitting on floor)

And when you’re calm and able to focus again, sign up for one of the Library workshops to help manage your study and we’ll have you swimming along in no time!

Submitting your assignment at Caboolture Library

QUT Library Caboolture All Rights Reserved Queensland University of Technology

QUT Library Caboolture All Rights Reserved Queensland University of Technology

Ah, the sweet relief of successfully submitting your assignment! As you are probably aware, Assignment Minder closes 15 minutes before the library at all campuses. What you may not know is that Caboolture Library’s opening hours are significantly different to those of Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point Libraries.

During semester, Assignment Minder is available at Caboolture at these times:

Monday to Friday          8am – 6.45pm

Saturday                       9am – 3.45pm

Sunday                         9am – 11.45am

Remember, students can submit at any campus. So even if Caboolture is closed, Caboolture students can still submit assignments at Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point.

If you find yourself often rushing to submit at the last minute, check out the resources available to help you manage your study, including planners and videos, on Studywell.

Good luck with your final assignments!

Was your last assignment rushed or incomplete?

Never again! I am going to get my next assignment in on time. I’m going to start early and not get stressed out!

If you would like to keep these promises, you are in luck. Our assignment calculator can do some of the planning for you leaving your brain free to do the work that will get you the results you want.

All you have to do is open the calculator, plug in your assignment due date and the calculator will break the assignment down into manageable chunks. Even better, there are links to online resources that will help you if you get stuck at any stage. Too easy!

Assignment calculator

Give it a go and remember – Assignment Minder closes slightly before the library building closes. Always check the opening hours as part of your assignment planning.

Help with writing and referencing a click away

Help! I have a report due on Friday…

My tutor went through it in class and it looked pretty straightforward but now I have to write the thing I just don’t know…

This is embarrassing, but I haven’t written an essay in years…

These are the types of questions and comments we hear at the Library Learning and Research Desk every day. The answers to these and many more questions are all found in one great tool…

cite write

QUT cite|write is more than just a heap of excellent examples showing you how to correctly cite sources and create an awesome looking (and correct) reference list. (Useful as that is.) QUT cite|write will also walk you through the process of creating your report/review/critique/ other type of assignment.

And don’t forget to double check your assignment information and ensure you are following the correct format.

Happy Writing!

 

Study Skills Expo – 2014

Study Skills ExpoThe Study Skills Expo is back!

Drop by this one-stop shop for tips to help with your studies and getting the most out of your life as a uni student.

Visit the stalls and exhibits to find out more about:

  • starting your first assignment
  • working in groups
  • writing
  • researching
  • getting organised
  • career planning
  • managing your finances
  • IT help
  • and more

Three convenient locations and times:

Caboolture
When:  Tuesday 11 March, 10am – 1pm
Venue: Caboolture Library, L block

Gardens Point
When:  Thursday 13 March, 10am – 2pm
Venue: Gardens Point Library, V block, level 4

Kelvin Grove
When:  Tuesday 18 March, 10am – 2pm
Venue: Kelvin Grove Library, R block, level 3

The Study Skills Expo is all about you and what you need to succeed! Don’t miss it!

For more info visit the Study Skills Expo website.