Writing Pitfalls Students Face Working on College Assignments

If you decide to leave your home country and study abroad, you will be on a journey of discovery, a new chapter, and adventure in your life. You need to make sure that you are prepared for what’s ahead because most students a never ready for the culture shock when they go to a new country. On top of adapting to a new environment, pressure or challenges come from writing college assignments.

In English-speaking countries like the UK, Australia, the USA, and New Zealand just to name a few, writing top-quality assignments can be a challenge in your first year. You will make mistakes however, you have to learn from them if you want to improve. This article will look at some of the wiring pitfalls that many students face when they are working on their college assignments.

Structure mistakes

These are sentences that might be missing a subject or where a verb is omitted by a writer. For instance, “the girl in the orange jumper”, this sentence lacks action meaning the structure is wrong.

Not meeting the word count

When tutors assign assignments to students, they will always have a word count which must be met. Marks are deducted for anyone who doesn’t meet the word count but when there isn’t enough information or resources, one might struggle to hit the word count. To combat this, make sure you start your assignments as early as possible to give yourself enough time to hit the word count.

Incorrect referencing or writing style

One of the most important and challenging parts of writing assignments is referencing. The main reason why many students struggle with referencing is that there are so many writing styles out there like Havard, APA, Chicago, and MLA just to name a few.

If you are unsure about the referencing style needed for your assignment, clarify things with your tutor. Each referencing style has a format that needs to be followed and failure to do so can result in a student getting a low mark. Not many students are aware of the different writing styles hence why it is important to ask.

Chicago style MLA APA
1-inch page margins Times New Roman 12 font 1-inch page margin.
Times New Roman 12 font 1-inch page margins Double-space the text
Double-space the text Double line spacing The first line of every paragraph is 0.5 inches.
The first line of every paragraph is 0.5 inches ½ inch indent for new paragraphs Times New Roman 12 font or Arial 11 font or Georgia 11 font
Page number on every page Title case capitalization for headings Page number on every page.

Weak conclusion

When you write a paper that doesn’t have a conclusion, it can leave your readers hanging as your paper hasn’t been summed up. At the end of your paper, remind readers what they read and how important your finding is about the topic.

Poor thesis statement

There is nothing worse than having a poor thesis statement in your paper because it gets your paper off to a poor start as it detects the flow. If you find yourself lost and can’t come up with a good thesis statement, you need to speak to your professors so that they can well refine your thesis statement.

You don’t want to submit something that is below par because you will get a low grade when that happens. Help can also be found from writing services online and if you provide them with your assignment question, they will be able to point you in the right direction with useful tips.

Poor assignment structure

College tutors expect students to follow a set structure provided to them when they are wiring their assignments. If you decide to use a different structure than the one that has been provided, you will be marked down.

Always speak to your peers and tutors if you are not aware of the structure. You should always make it your duty to always follow the college guidelines of your place of study and not any other educational institute.

Poorly written introduction

An introduction sets the tone of what the paper is all about but first-year students writing an essay for the first time often have no clue what to include in it. The key is to write something that will grab the reader’s attention from the start and not something vague or poor.

Producing something of poor quality will put readers off digesting your content because if they see that it is off to a rocky start, they will immediately think the whole piece is rocky too. Your introduction will be very impactful if it only includes points that carry weight. Anything that doesn’t hold water should not be added to the paper as that is just filler content.

Poorly written analysis

Everyone knows that sometimes producing good essays is never easy if you don’t have very good analytical skills. The best way to develop these skills is to read books, articles, reports, journals, and more. The more you see how other authors analyze content, the better you will become over time.

Poor sentence construction

Students who don’t come from English-speaking countries struggle to come up with logical sentences especially if they didn’t learn English in their native country. If your English writing skills are not sharp enough yet, you can try to break sentences up into smaller parts. This will ensure there is more clarity in your paper.


Grammar mistakes

Grammar mistakes are faulty usages of certain words in a sentence and an example of that can be “The men were conducting research”. The correct way to say this is “The men were conducting research”

Complex and long sentences

The one thing that tutors want to see in assignments all across the board is good sentence construction and clarity. The main mistakes that many students make are that their sentences are too complex and too long with a lot of acronyms and conjunctions.

A student might be thinking they are making their work attractive but in reality, they are doing the opposite. When sentences are too long, they disturb the flow of the assignment hence why experts recommend keeping each sentence between 15-20 words. Sentences might vary depending on the topic but a good mixture of short to medium sentences is a good approach.

Keep things simple so that it is easy for anyone reading the paper to make sense of it. Throw in some amazing subtitles in there to break the pace a bit instead of using long paragraphs that don’t make any sense.


When it comes to essay writing, there is no bigger crime than taking other people’s work, repacking it, and presenting it as your original content. This act is known as plagiarism and is punishable by anything from being asked to rewrite the course if you are a first-time offender to the more serious consequence of being expelled from your course.

You don’t want to be expelled from your course because not only is this embarrassing, but it breaks your academic progress. You need to know what things you can quote and what things you can’t. Students that don’t speak English fluently or leave things till the last minute tend to plagiarize content out of desperation.

There are so many online resources that a student can use to check the originality of their content. Two of the most popular ones you can use are Cityscape and Grammarly plus these two have both free and premium versions. The free version will highlight any grammar mistakes you have made, allowing you to easily correct them; however, you’ll need to invest in the premium version to access the plagiarism checker.

Poor English skills

This mistake is very common in students that don’t come from an English-speaking country. The reason why their English skills are poor is due to a variety of reasons being afraid to embrace the English language, not being taught the language in school, and not valuing the importance of the language.

To improve your English, you can take English lessons online or enroll in a course at the university or college you are about to study. Some of them do offer students to find courses that help polish up their English before a semester starts.

Lack of subject knowledge

It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert English speaker, if you lack the necessary knowledge in a subject, you will not get good marks. Students can lack the knowledge they need in a subject due to a variety of reasons. These reasons include not taking enough notes in class, the pressure of keeping their part-time job, being shy to ask questions in class, and not having books to read.

On rare occasions, it can be the tutor’s fault because they can make a subject that is easy and very complicated for their students to understand. There has to be a balance where everyone is on the same page and the knowledge gap is bridged.

Using wrong words

When writing assignments, you might use a word that might feel out of place and disturbs the flow of the whole sentence or paragraph. Don’t try to be clever and use words you have no idea what they mean because they sound fancy. This can lead to losing marks for using unfamiliar words. Double-check the words before you use them using an online spell checker or the dictionary just to be safe.

Punctuation mistakes

Punctuation mistakes include things like misspellings and faulty punctuation in a sentence. For example “She loves goats however she isn’t a fan of how they smell”. This is wrong but instead, this should look like” She loves goats, however. She isn’t a fan of how they smell”

Overusing commas and full stops

The use of commas can be very tricky especially if you are an international student. Commas are used to extend points in assignments while full stops end a sentence. Some students have a habit of overusing them, making their sentences longer than they should be. You can learn how to use commas and full stops by taking up special English courses either online or at your place of education.

Incorrect use of citation

Citations will always be part of an assignment however, the process of putting them in can be time-consuming. Most students get confused about how to put them in their essays properly because of the strict guidelines that need to be followed. You shouldn’t rush, you should always take your time and practice the correct format as much as possible. If you are having problems, there are so many citation websites these days that can help you do things the right way.

Incorrect time management

This is when a student doesn’t use the time they have on their hands properly. Below are examples of incorrect time management actions

Not prioritizing properly

Students have a list of things they need to do all the time, and it can be overwhelming. Once a student is overwhelmed, they can feel stressed and anxious. Instead of doing things randomly and going with the flow, you can prioritize things that you need to do.

Knowing how to properly prioritize yourself comes with learning from mistakes. You will not always get things right the first time around and things are trial and error. You have to learn to use your time wisely as that can be the difference between passing your assignments and failing them.

If you want to know which tasks should be high on your list of priorities, you need to rank them from high importance to low. This makes it easy for you to track which one needs urgent attention before moving on to others. In other words, anything that is of low importance can be set to the side and tackled last while task ranks high need to be dealt with immediately.


This is where students will ignore their school work and leave everything till the very last minute. This approach is wrong in so many ways because it can cause anxiety and stress. If you plan yourself and set some time aside to get your assignments done you will be inspired and make fewer mistakes. If a deadline is looming, make, or mark a start date on your calendar because once you get started, you will build momentum and eventually finish your assignment perfectly.

If for some reason you are having problems beginning your assignments, you can break them down into small pieces. This makes them appear less daunting and manageable plus you will enjoy the process. While some students crack under pressure, you should learn to thrive off it. Let someone know what you are working on so that they can hold you accountable should you lose focus.

Getting distracted

There is always something that will distract a student when they are working on their assignments and this can lead to errors in assignments. The way that distractions are managed is very important, and they are different types of them. The first major source of distraction is phones.

Put them away or on silent so that you can focus on your work because if it’s constantly pinging, you’ll be tempted to look. If you have the television or radio on, these need to be turned off too as the sound they make can also be a source of distraction.

Not knowing how long certain takes will take

The worst thing that a student can do is not know how long certain tasks will take. You might think a task can be performed faster but in reality, it will need more time to be completed which can happen with assignments. Undervaluing how long certain assignments will take is a big mistake because it can lead to interruptions during the writing process.

Before you begin working on your assignments, know how long it will take to complete the project successfully and double it. This gives you plenty of room to make corrections should you need to allow for a well-polished piece to be produced.

Not saying “NO”

When a student is constantly saying yes to everything can have them biting more than they can chew. They will have a massive workload on their hands and so many things that need their attention which can be bad for their assignments. Telling people “no” can be hard, but it has to be done sometimes for your sake. If you feel that there are things in your life you can’t take up, turn them down.

Don’t lie to yourself and think you can handle or juggle so many things on your plate while in reality you can’t while still trying to produce good quality assignments. You will end up suffering and causing yourself unnecessary stress but if you are honest with yourself, say no to any extra activities. This will give you more time to work on your assignments and get good grades.

Not taking breaks

Breaks should not be seen as something that wastes time, they should be seen as a way to help you recharge your batteries and go again. You have a purpose which is to produce good quality assignments but not taking breaks when you are trying is counterproductive.

While working long hours on assignments might seem like you are working hard to get things done quicker, in reality, you are making yourself fatigued. Breaks in between assignment writing sessions will improve the quality of your work as well as the decision-making process.

Incorrect sequences of actions

This is simply where a college or university student in this case doesn’t take the right actions that will help with the assignments.

Using passive voice a lot

When you overuse passive voice in your assignments, you are only making your work more complex than it should be. The goal of your academic assignment is to be easy to read and have a clear tone back up claims with evidence or facts. Using passive voices too much will only make your papers appear weaker which can earn you a low grade instead of a high one.

Not knowing the assignment audience

You might struggle to write an assignment because you are not sure who the intended audience is. While in the majority of cases you will be writing assignments for your tutor to grade, sometimes you minor be asked to write a piece for professionals. Always unpack your work to fully out who are you writing for before you begin.

Getting information from unreliable websites

One of the most unreliable websites out there on the internet that tutors tell their students to avoid using is Wikipedia. When you enter keywords online, Wikipedia will often be one of the first to pop up and while this might sound like a good thing on paper, it is not.

The reason why Wikipedia is considered unreliable in the academic world is that anyone can edit it which means a lot of false information can be added which can be unverifiable at times. If you want to use trustworthy sources.

Not getting expert help when needed

There is nothing wrong with turning to an expert to look at your work and there are so many writing services out there. If you are an international student, there are so many things you need to know about writing a good quality assignment like the format, referencing style, which sources to use, plagiarism, and more.

All this can be too much to take in your first few months but consulting an expert to help with the editing and proofreading increases your chances of not making mistakes. Writing companies have writers who hold various degrees at some top universities and colleges in their world. They will have the expertise and knowledge to help you produce a good quality paper that is free of mistakes.

These companies also have a reputation they must maintain hence why they only hire the best of the best to join their ranks. Having poor quality writers is bad for business and can earn a writing company a not-so-pleasant name online.

Turning to them in your hour of need can take your assignment from something that lacks the quality to something brilliant in a few days or hours. Make full use of expert help online because it is perfectly legal, and you’re not breaking the rules. They will save you time re-reading and redoing your assignments plus you will learn a lot listening to someone who’s an expert in the subject you’re studying.

Being overwhelmed by fear

Some students can’t produce assignments because they are afraid to fail. This is a very common problem too and a student needs to know that setbacks are per of life. Life is not like a bed of roses, they will be bumps in the way, and as long as you know your weaknesses and improve on them, your writing skills will get better.

Final thoughts

If for some reason you are struggling with your assignments, you can rest easy knowing that help is available. You can hire an essay writing service to do the work for you because they will have an expert in their ranks who will be able to produce a good quality assignment promptly. Whether it is a report, proposal, dissertation, or essay, these writing companies are known to have an expert. If you want a plagiarism report, they can provide one for you to prove that the work they have written for you is 100% original as they know that copied and pasted work can land a student in trouble.

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