Words by The Learn Ranger

Five ways to make the best of a bad situation …

Keep Calm

The deadline’s looming and you’ve hardly started. Panic is setting in and the fear of failure looming. What can you do?


1. Go for the easy marks

Find the mark scheme for your coursework. It should be available on your exam board website. They’re not always easy to interpret – written in teacher/exam board language but it’s worth persevering.

First, look for simple things that get you marks – maybe the way the coursework is set out – things like sections, headings, word counts, references, diagrams. Make sure you have all these.

Now look at the detail – what does it take to get into the higher levels? Do you have time to show some of these skills? You may not be able to get into the highest levels but you may well have enough time to cover off the basic skills and knowledge and avoid wasting any time on unnecessary work.

2. Start and finish well

Whoever’s marking the coursework it’s likely that they’ll be under pressure to get through a big pile of work in a fairly short time. This means that first and last impressions will matter.

This is why it’s often a good idea to devote some of your precious time to starting and finishing the coursework well. Of course it depends on the subject and format required, but the sort of things that help might be a concise introduction setting out your aims and a summary conclusion showing that you really do understand the key issues.

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3. Make sacrifices to gain more time

You’re in a bit of a tricky situation so is it possible to buy yourself some more time? The coursework may get you quite a few of your total marks so can you get up a bit earlier? Carry on working a bit later? Cancel some activities or social occasions – just for long enough to get the coursework done to a decent standard?

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4. Find out whether the deadline is ‘flexible’

Well, it’s worth a try. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5. Make sure you submit the coursework on time

Don’t bury your head in the sand and fail to give the work in. Even if you’re not totally proud of what you’ve done, some marks are most definitely better than no marks.

What are your tips and stories about coursework panics? Post below!