What are law school assignments like?

While you may have written many essays and completed coursework pieces during A-Levels and your final years of school, university assignments probably still remain a mystery. In this post I’m going to show you what a law school assignment is like, how they’re released and submitted, and what feedback you get following the essay. The examples I’m using are of assignments I completed during this year, as the format of feedback and cover sheets have changed this year, so you may not do these subjects while at Essex!

Receiving the assignment
First of all lecturers will take the time to explain the assessment and marking criteria to students during their lectures so it is clear on what is expected of them. Then, approximately a month before the deadline of the assignment you will get an email from the law office with the assignment question and cover sheet attached, telling you how to submit, when to submit and what to do if you have questions. While you do get sent the question as an attachment to the email, you can also find it on FASER – the system the University uses to upload and mark coursework. As you can see on FASER a lot more information is given about the assignment including whether there is a hard copy of the assignment needed, where to find marking criteria and the length of the essay. As this module is for final year students the length of the essay is 3000 words, but it is lower for other years – 2000 for first year students and 2500 for second year students.

The email received with the Cover Sheet and Question attached.
The assignment on FASER.

As you can see, for this question we had the option of picking the question we liked most from two essay questions and one scenario based question. I picked to do Question 2 for this essay as I found it the most interesting.

Writing the assignment
You will always have a month in between receiving the essay question and the submission date, so there’s no excuse to leave it to the final day! For me personally, I spend the first few days collecting materials and researching before writing around 200 words a day until I’ve finished it, before editing and submitting. You will often have more than one essay due around the same period – for example I had 4 essays due in the week this one was submitted – so it’s important to schedule your time to get them all done!

When gathering materials, the first place I personally go is the modules Moodle page. This is where all the lecture PowerPoints are stored, as well as where you can find the reading list and any extra materials the lecturer thinks may be helpful for the module. The essay I am writing here is about the EU regulation of banks, so I went straight to the section of the Moodle page for that lecture.

The Banking Law Moodle page.
Finding the PowerPoint and articles for the essay.

I also make sure to have the Law School Guide to Writing open as well as the OSCOLA Guide to ensure that I am writing in the correct style as well as referencing correctly.

Submitting the Assignment
Once I am sure that my essay is complete, that I haven’t gone over the word count, and ensured that my bibliography and references are done well I fill in the cover sheet with my personal information, the essay title, and information about the assignment. Then, you upload it to FASER under the “files” tab before the deadline. You always receive an email following submission confirming that it has been uploaded to the site, if you don’t get one you should try again or contact the law office.

Uploading the assignment.

Feedback
Around a month after the deadline of the assignment you will receive feedback from the assignment from the lecturer, uploaded under the “feedback” tab and sent via email. On this you will receive the mark for the essay and the major areas for feedback on the front page, while the second page shows where different areas of the essay are ranked.

That’s it, hopefully this gives you a good overview of what the assignment process is like!

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