When you’re in school, understanding the teacher’s instructions is sometimes half the battle. Since every teacher provides their assignment instructions differently, confusion isn’t something new. Often, it’s this very problem that leads students to begin their writing assignments in the wrong path, having to back up and redo their work later.
Of course, the easiest solution is to ask the instructor for any unclear part of the instructions. Before you do, however, make sure to read through it. Use the following as a guide:
1. Read the entire assignment from start to finish, without making any annotations. Just do it to get an overall view of the material.
2. Underline or note down critical details – deadline, subject requirements, page length, essay formats, etc.
3. Look for specific instructions that you know will be important to the teacher. If an instructor likes to see essays written using plenty of authoritative sources, for instance, then see if he mentions guidelines for that in the text. Scour the prompt for similar situations.
4. Look for questions, bullet points or bolded statements. Good instructors (you know, the type who use a writing software to shape up their guidelines) know how to highlight the important points in their assignments. Make sure you note those.
5. Once you have a list of important points, rank them according to which you believe will be the most important to your reader. In this case, you only need to be concerned with one – your instructor.