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    Completing Unit Assessments

Read the assessment questions carefully and avoid resubmissions
Itís important that you read questions carefully. You will find that they are often presented in specific sections which are interlinked. Therefore, when providing answers, be aware of the way questions are grouped. This will help you to focus on the area of the course materials being covered and the type of answers which are likely to be required. If you find you need to remind yourself about a particular area, go back and review this section, rather than taking a guess. Since there are strict marking guidelines for many courses a guess will often not be good enough and you may be asked to resubmit some answers Ė or potentially the complete assessment paper !

You may find it useful to be aware of the way questions are worded. For example, a question may contain the words describe, outline, or perhaps list. Itís important to note that if you are being asked to describe or outline in a question you are expected to do more than simply list a set of points. Therefore, you should provide a description or outline the key issues when you give your answer. You will usually find that the allocated space for your answer is a good indicator of how much information you are expected to write. If you are asked to list the key points, donít be afraid to add to the points made in the course materials with a few suggestions of your own. This will often give your tutor/assessor a better understanding of your knowledge, and ultimately better comments about your standard of work.

Understand your subject
Itís important that you understand your subject and that you are able to relate the course to your own practice. Therefore, you should avoid simply Ďmatchingí answers to questions when starting your unit assessments. When you use this approach you may find that you are not actually Ďlearningí from the course and any information you do absorb will quickly be forgotten. Studying is all about learning new information which enables you to improve your skills Ė itís about understanding your work in more depth and being able to do your job to the very best of your ability. Therefore, it shouldnít simply be viewed as a way of obtaining another certificate or qualification Ė particularly if you donít feel you have fully absorbed or understood the new information within the course ! Remember, organisations will often use qualifications as a guide to a personís competence when employing new staff. Therefore, there is an obvious danger in presenting a certificate in a subject that you donít fully understand.

Try to express answers in your own words
Itís important that you try to express answers in your own words. If you simply copy from course text you will often find that you havenít considered answers in any real depth Ė you will be Ďbypassingí the learning process ! However, it may sometimes be difficult to express answers in your own words Ė particularly if you are asked to list key points. Therefore, make a special effort to add extra suggestions of your own to these types of questions so it is clear that you do understand what is being asked.

Consider taking regular breaks when working through unit assessments
 When you start your assessment itís often a good idea to divide it into sections and then take a short break between each section. This break will allow you to focus on each section individually and ensure you understand the issues involved. You could perhaps make yourself a drink, relax and review that particular section of the course book. When you are ready, you should try to answer the questions in one block and then take another break to review the next section. If you use this method you avoid getting tired or fatigued and running the risk of misinterpreting questions or guessing answers as you try to reach your forty-eighth question all in one go ! You may well find that you are relieved that itís all over, but then realise you havenít fully understood the relevance of the questions or been able to put them in any particular context. Additionally, you may discover that far from it being Ďall overí you are required to resubmit many of the answers by your assessor.

Happy Studying !

Andersen Counselling & Advice, Chelmsford, Essex UK.
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