Student mistakes- 7 reasons why your assignment got a bad grade

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(Last updated on: 19/04/2022)

Did your assignment get a bad mark? This is disappointing for any student, but don’t fret- the important thing is to identify WHY your assignment didn’t get the grade that you wanted and to make sure that you do not make the same mistakes again! In this article I will tell you the 7 most common reasons why students do not get grades that they want and how they can fix this. Ready to get better grades? Then read on…

Student mistake #1- Poor spelling, punctuation and grammar

You could write an awesome essay, but if it is full of spelling and grammatical errors you WILL lose marks. Even if you’re not great at spelling, this problem can easily be resolved. Try downloading Grammarly or asking someone to proof read your work for you before you submit it.

Student mistake #2.- Missing or incorrectly written references

Referencing is REALLY important, yet many students do not give it the time and effort that it requires. Usually a certain amount of marks for your work will be awarded for referencing (5%-15% is typical) and these are really easy marks to get…. and easy marks to lose! Get your referncing right and your overall grade will naturally increase. Now sure how? I have covered this in my video below!

Student mistake #3- Lack of research meaning not enough sources used

Academic writing is all about research and analysis. First you should do your reading around the topic and then you should select the most appropriate parts to reference in your work. It is very clear when you have not conducted an adequate level of research because this will be evidenced through the amount of references and citations that you use!

Student mistake #4-Plagiarism

Many students plagiarise. Sometimes this is intentional and sometimes it is unintentional. But whether you do this on purpose (i.e. copy and paste someone else’s work or content and submit it as if it is your own) or by accident (i.e. you do not adequately put the content into your own words, known as paraphrasing), it can lose you marks.

How to design a questionnaire

Student mistake #5 The assignment does not reflect the task

One mistake that many students make is not reading the question properly. If you haven’t entirely understood the question, then you’re answer probably won’t be entirely correct. Read the question more than once and ask for clarification if you are unsure.

Student mistake #6-The assignment is poorly organised and has not been planned correctly

You should always start with a plan of your work. If you rush straight in and just start writing (as many students do), it will be obvious- it will lack organisation and flow. You may also fail to address the required content in sufficient detail.

Student mistake #7-The assignment is purely descriptive and not critical/analytical

Critical analysis is a skill that students must develop in order to achieve higher grades (or pass at all). Many students, especially when they are new to academic writing, will produce descriptive work that lacks depth and analysis. I suggest asking your teacher or a friend to proof read your work before you submit it to check that you are on the right track if you are unsure.

The importance of feedback

Remember to read the feedback that you have been given. It is there to help you improve your future assignments. If you are unsure of anything, ask your tutor to explain. Feedback is invaluable and if you improve on the areas that are suggested to you each time your work will get better and better and your grades will increase!


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