How to plan and write a TMA
The best TMAs are those which are well planned and therefore well organised and logical, making them easy to read. Proper planning also makes the writing of the TMA much easier, as you’ll know exactly what to write, rather than having to think about it as you go along.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to planning an essay so that you enjoy writing it and your tutor enjoys reading it.
Read the question carefully and the accompanying notes in the Assignment booklet. Don’t just skim through this – read it all carefully.
Make a note of the parts of the course that the Assignment booklet says are relevant. Perhaps highlight these in the booklet itself.
Re-read the relevant parts of the course, or look back through the notes you made when you first read the materials.
Identify the ‘process’ words in the question. These are the words that indicate what you are required to do. They include words like: “compare and contrast”, “explain”, “evaluate”, “how far”, and so on. A list of common process words is at the end of this guide. You may want to highlight the process words in the Assignment booklet.
Draw yourself a table with three columns. In the left hand column you write the concepts covered in the relevant parts of the chapter. In the middle column, make a note of all the evidence in favour of such concepts and in the right hand column make a note of all the evidence against. If you don’t like tables, perhaps you could use a mind map.
Think about the subject and form your own view. Do you find the evidence associated with the subject matter convincing? Can you think of any reasons why you would disagree with the experts? Do your own experiences confirm or disagree with what the course materials say? In other words, spend some time thinking about the subject of the question and form an opinion about it. You might like to make some notes as you go.
Go through the notes you made when...