Getting It Right, the First Time!

It’s that time of the semester where you may find yourself sitting at your desk, doing an assessment for the second time because you didn’t pass it the first time. Nothing is more frustrating especially when you have other assessments to work on, and you feel like you have taken a step back instead of a step forward. There is nothing worse than looking back at your first assessment and seeing silly mistakes that resulted in unnecessary marks being deducted.


Here are Claire Jackson-Barnardo’s (BMH, Sandton PR lecturer) Top Tips on how to get your assessment right, the first time!

  • First impressions count – Ensure your cover page has the subject and lecturer’s name spelt correctly. Imagine you have submitted work to a client and you have misspelt their or the company’s name…
  • Understand the assessment brief – Read through the assessment brief thoroughly before you start the assessment. Make sure you understand exactly what is being asked for. (See also: Understanding Assessment Briefs)
  • Topic and textbooks are key – Make sure you understand and have read the textbook chapters that covers the section your assessment is based on. Use a highlighter and mark the key points in your textbook that you may want to include in your assessment. Keep referring back to the assessment topic to ensure that you have covered everything.
  • Number your answers correctly – Ensure that all your answers are numbered correctly as per the assessment brief. Also, make sure that you answer the questions in the order they have been given in the assessment brief, and double-check that you are answering the question that has been asked. Don’t waste time by including unnecessary or irrelevant information in an attempt to “pad” your answer.
  • “Copy and Paste” is not okay – You aren’t studying for a BBA / Diploma in “cut and paste”, you are at BMH to learn about media. Assessments are there to show that you understand the content and concepts. In the world of work we are interested in what YOU know, not what your textbook or Google says. Cutting and pasting large sections from other sources doesn’t demonstrate any skill or understanding.
  • We don’t steal the work of others – If you are going to draw from or refer to a source / idea that is not your own, make sure you reference it properly. Both in-text citations and a reference list are required at the end of assessments. Educators are trained to detect plagiarism and, believe it or not, we are actually interested in what you have to say. (See also: Referencing and Plagiarism).
  • Word – Is a computer programme designed to help you write properly, so use it. It will tell you if your sentences are too long or if you have spelt something wrong – just remember to change the spell-check option to UK English.
  • Loud and proud – Read your assessment out loud to yourself, a friend, or family member before printing the final version. When you read something out aloud you find all sorts of mistakes in terms of spelling, grammar and flow.
  • – If you leave an assessment to the last minute, you are not going to pass. Give yourself enough time to complete your assessments properly. (See also: Assessment Due Dates).
  • Ask for help – As an educator, I like nothing better than marking a good assessment. Nothing is more frustrating than marking an assessment where you can see the student did not understand the assessment brief. BMH educators are available to help, each educator has dedicated “consultation times”. Bring your notes, rough drafts, questions and meet with your educator. Those 5 or even 20 minutes of consulting with your educator may be exactly what you need to ensure that you pass…and pass well! (See also: Student-Lecturer Meetings).

Good luck and remember:

You aren’t at BMH to become an accountant! We are in an amazing industry and your assessments are aimed at helping you become a professional member of the South African media industry!