Some common issues
"My essay is too short, but I don't know what else to write."
Your essay may be lacking an introduction or conclusion, or it could be that you need to include another related idea to support your argument.
When your ideas are organised it is easier to identify gaps in your information. Our writing section has examples and templates to help you organise and structure your essay.
"I found heaps of information online, but I'm not sure it's good enough to use in my essay."
All information should be evaluated before you trust it. There are a number of criteria you can use to judge the quality of information. You should at least consider who the author is, the publication date, and look for any obvious bias or opinion.
Try Study Smart's module 3 to learn more about how to evaluate information.
"My assignment's due soon, but I don't know where to start."
The first step to writing an assignment is to understand the task. Read any assignment information you've been given and ask your teacher for clarification. Write a checklist, including things like word count, minimum number of references, and the due date.
Assignment calculator explains the six steps of the assignment writing process, and gives you a timeline to help you finish on time.
"I've been marked down for using Wikipedia, but I'm not sure where else to look."
Wikipedia can be ok to start your information search, but for good marks you'll need more reliable sources, and Google may miss some key resources. High quality information can be found on government websites and scholarly databases.
Subject guides suggest books, journals, databases and websites for a broad range of topics.
"Referencing is so confusing."
Referencing is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You need to identify the relevant pieces, such as the author and title, and put them in the correct order. Don't forget the punctuation; it's important too.
QUT cite|write gives examples for different kinds of resources including books and chapters, journal articles, websites and even YouTube. Find out which citation style your teacher prefers and look at the APA or Harvard examples.
"When I study for exams I usually just re-write my notes. Is there a better way?"
Try identifying the main ideas and concepts of what you've covered in the term. You can then use your notes to create a summary for each topic and a concept map to visually represent how these concepts fit together.
Our exam preparation section has more strategies for studying, as well as tips for taking different types of exams including short answer and multiple choice.
"I found a few good articles for my assignment but some of them are really long."
Reading articles can be a bit daunting. Start with the abstract, which is a summary of the main ideas and findings. Unlike reading a novel, it is best not to read the entire article from beginning to end. Try scanning to get to the main ideas quickly.
Learn more in our note taking section. QUT cite|write also has a note taking template.
For school students
Anywhere, anytime. Use these online tools and resources to improve your study and research skills for school.
Visit a QUT Library. Access more resources, and get help from our staff.
Use these tools in class or as extension activities. QUT Library's suite of online information, learning and study resources support many of the Common Curriculum Elements (CCEs) of the Queensland senior curriculum.
Enquire about free QUT Library workshops for school students.