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HEAT Stage 4 Planning the structure of your assignment.

HEAT Stage 4: Planning the structure of your assignment.

4.1 What are the benefits of PLANNING the structure of an assignment?



This section will help you to...

  • Choose a clear focus for your assignment
  • Clarify your ideas
  • Put your ideas in order


How to make an Assignment Plan


Clarify your ideas

  • You might already have used free writing when you started thinking about the assignment - but it can be useful at this stage too, because your ideas may have changed after your reading and they will certainly have developed. ( writing)
  • Use bullet points and lists to capture the information and ideas you want to include.
  • Try using a mind maps, a spider gram, a flow chart or use sticky notes to get your thinking started.


There's no right way to do this so find what works best for you. Time to experiment!


Choose a clear focus for your assignment

  • Have a go at explaining the main point of your assignment in just one sentence. (e.g. 'This essay will show that students who plan their assignments before they start writing, achieve higher marks than students who do not')
  • Try to identify three or four key topics that you consider to be essential to support or explain your main point.
  • These key topics will really help you to focus your writing. You could use the ' Table to make an initial Assignment Plan' or the mind map example to help you to do this


Why not give each of your key topics a colour - and then colour-code your notes with highlighter pens - so you can find all the relevant information easily!


Now put your ideas in order.

(This will form the main body of your report or essay)

  • What order would be most helpful to your reader? Imagine helping a fellow student to learn about the topic.
  • Try using one of these ideas
    • A simple bullet point list
    • A flow chart
    • Sticky notes that mean you can move your topics around until you're satisfied with the order
  • Look at the Essay Structure and Report Structure Handouts.


It's easy to sort out the structure of your assignment at this stage -but it's much harder when you're in the middle of writing the assignment. Planning reduces stress!


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