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10 Top Tips for Writing the Perfect CIPD Assignment

Fleur Blanford provides advice on writing the perfect assignment

By Fleur Blanford

Fleur is Oakwood's Head of International Studies and works in our UK Office
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1.    Find a quiet place and give yourself time

You can’t expect to be able to concentrate with the TV on, music blaring or the constant distraction of your phone or social media. Remove yourself from these temptations and find a calm, quiet area where you can work. You will have a deadline to meet for the submission of your assignments so make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute to start. You will be advised of critical dates to get your work to us for marking so start them as soon as you can after the completion of your Module so you don’t forget the important areas. 

2.    Have a plan

Decide on what you would like to achieve and by when. If you have three assignments to write consider roughly how long each might take you. Set yourself a goal and perhaps a small ‘reward’ to yourself at the end of each. Don’t rush them but just have in mind, the sooner they are done the less the doing of them will be on your mind!

3.    Build a support network

Many of our students create WhatsApp groups or other networks in order to communicate and support each other. Although you must write your own reports, you may wish to talk over points of the assignment and discuss some of the critical issues. It is very incentivising to know that others are also working on their reports. Your friends, colleagues and families will understand the importance of getting your assignments done so tell them what you are aiming for and gain their full support.

4.    Read and re-read 

Read the assignment carefully. Your class tutor will have provided you with a full briefing and gone over the key points. Take some time to re-familiarise yourself with your course notes, hand outs, slides and other materials you had access to during your training. You will have taken in a lot of information during your Module and it will be useful for you to refresh your memory about the critical points.  Take time to re-read the CIPD assignment briefing so that you understand exactly what you need to do.

5.    Make rough notes

Before you start on the actual assignment, make some rough notes against each part of the assignment. This will help you to capture the critical issues and make sure that you cover all the assessment criteria. By reading the notes, re-reading the requirements of the assignment and making rough notes, you should be in a really good position to start your assignment.

6.    Cover every part of the assignment

You must make absolutely sure that every point on the assignment brief is covered. You will not be able to pass the unit if this is not done. Check each element off as you do so in order that you know this has been done. The use of sub-headings will help to ensure that you have covered each part of the assignment. Take each of the points you have been asked to cover and, if you wish, use the exact wording from the assignment brief as your sub-heading. This will help you to structure your work and focus on specific areas.

7.    Don’t get carried away – stick to the word count

Each of your assignments has a word count that is clearly cited on the template you will be provided with. You may find the temptation to do more than is actually needed but you are only allowed to move 20% each way of the word count. Big topics are covered in your CIPD qualification and it is very easy to try to be too ambitious. As you are limited in how much you can write, the important thing is to stay engaged with what is imperative for the report. Try to avoid being side-tracked or trying to include too much. Just respond to the specific criteria as required in the assignment.

8.    Proof read and spell check

Consider each of your assignments as a professional report. Take pride in your work and think of the reports as something you would be able to present to your management team. Take care over the layout and structure and spell check and proof read your work before you submit it. It may also be helpful for a trusted colleague to read your assignments before you send them in for marking. This will enable you to understand if it reads well, makes sense and has a logical ‘flow’. They do not need to be a subject expert - just a fresh pair of eyes.

9.    References

It is a requirement of the report to use some supporting research within your assignments. This demonstrates that you have undertaken some further reading and research around the topics. You may use material that has already been covered within the course. For example, certain ‘models’ and other theoretical examples. It is quite acceptable to include these in support of your own findings but they must not replace your own words (see Plagiarism). Any sources used must be clearly placed on a reference list at the end of your report and must also appear in the correct place within the actual assignment text where they have been used. You should use 3-5 references in support of each of your reports where this has been stated as a requirement on the assignment brief. 

10.   Plagiarism

As mentioned above, you must be very careful to ensure that when using references you use these only to back up your own findings. You may use one or two direct quotes but these should be limited to a sentence or two at most. You must state clearly that this is a quote and credit the source as mentioned in References above. Remember it is your understanding of the topic you are writing about that we are interested in, not that of a third party.
You may find that during your study you work in collaboration with colleagues. Although the sharing of ideas is good practice, bear in mind that every part of your report must be written by you. This is a mandatory requirement.


GOOD LUCK! We shall look forward very much to reading your assignments and seeing you through to the successful outcome of your CIPD qualification.

Please contact Oakwood to discuss how our CIPD qualification programmes can help you and your organisation.  We are also very happy to discuss consultancy or bespoke programmes to help your HR, L&D and senior management teams.

You can email us at: info@oakwooddubai.ae or call on +971 4 359 9020.