IMPORTANT DO’s AND DON’T’s !
My first hand tips based on my years of marking
- DON’T just describe a situation and not include any in depth analysis. For example with Topic 8 merely doing a few ratio calculations, producing graphs and telling the reader that something has increased or decrease but omitting the reasons WHY
- DON’T use so many figures in the text that the reader cannot keep up with them (as neither will the marker). Remember use graphs and charts to SHOW the position and words to EXPLAIN (and these reasons need to reflect something that the readers could not see for themselves if they downloaded the annual report and had a quick scan of it)
- DO use clear graphs (lack of them in some topics will lead to a fail on presentation of the information). All graphs and charts need a title and the axes need labels. Without units the figures are just that – the reader should not have to guess whether you are showing figures in thousands or millions or what currency it is. (On the subject of graphs remember that English is read from left to right so a graph should similarly show the earliest year on the left and the latest year on the right)
- DO ensure the graphs are all in the right place – don’t put them all in the appendices! The best place for a graph or chart is at the beginning of the relevant section. So if writing about gross profit show the graph about gross profit first then the marker can immediately assimilate the information and understand the position so that your subsequent commentary in the context of this all makes sense.
- DON’T exceed the word count and paste a lot of tables and charts as images into your work. You may get away with the odd one but a marker may start to question too much use of these and recognise it is merely a way you are trying to get round the word count!
- DON’T OVER use abbreviations either in an attempt to get round the word count. The first rule if using any abbreviations is to ensure that you have a glossary of abbreviations and terms as an appendix. Never use an abbreviation on its own as the only heading and do not use several abbreviations in the same sentence otherwise it becomes an undecipherable mess.
- REMEMBER you are responsible for guiding the marker through your work. This means that it needs to follow a good logical structure and also that where appropriate, you refer the marker to the relevant graph (or possibly appendix). It is not the marker’s job to try to hunt for information – it is your role to present it well and to make everything easy for them to follow!
- REMEMBER too – try to make things clear. Once the marker has to stop and re-read and search for information they will start to lose the thread of your work. Too many ‘interruptions’ made necessary because things are not clear and statements referring the marker constantly to the appendices will make the marker lose ‘momentum’ a factor that is not going to work in your favour.
- DON’T upload lots of separate appendices when logically you could have combined some of these in one document and remember to label each worksheet tab. Although the marker may not fail you for this you are not going to endear them to you as each file has to be downloaded and unless the appendices are clearly labelled the marker will have to keep going in and out of documents to find things and this can be frustrating and time consuming for them.
- DON’T put all of your references at the end of a paragraph unless this is appropriate. A reference belongs in the part of the text which is being cited or referred to and this might correctly be even in the middle of a sentence!
- DON’T make too many direct citations in your text – this will not only increase your Turnitin matching score, if there are too many the marker will fail you for what is called ‘bad academic practice’. Instead express the ideas of others in your own words – as well as including a reference to the original author (see my referencing guide)
Note: All work is marked online and OBU markers need to get the job done thoroughly but as quickly as possible. They are not just marking your work but have a long list of RAPs to read. Help them in this task.
Do not load any more appendices than you need to – downloading each one takes time – precious time as far as the marker is concerned and it they are not clearly labelled then the marker will have to keep flitting from document to document. Also don’t make the marker scroll up and down any more than is necessary – it interrupts the reading flow – so put the chart / graph / diagram on the right page to start with!