A Foolproof Guide To Scoring Your First HD

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So you’ve spent hours, days, maybe even weeks working on an assignment. You submitted it on time, double and triple checked your spelling and grammar to make sure it was absolutely flawless.

Maybe you even threw in another reference or two just to be that little bit extra. Then two weeks goes by and you find out you’ve received yet another credit. *sigh*

Getting a HD is never easy, but if you follow our foolproof guide, you’ll start reeling in those coveted marks faster than students flooding to the nearest watering hole during happy hour.

Start Now

My motto is “do it now, do it properly.”

As soon as you know what you have to do for an assignment, start planning. Think about some of the sources you can use or what your thesis is going to be. Anything that will get you thinking more critically about the task at hand.

There’s no time like the present as they say.

Study The Marking Criteria

Subject coordinators don’t place it in the course outline for it to be sitting in the corner of your room collecting dust. Highlight it, underline it and pin it up on your wall in all its glory.

Consider it the key to finding out all the secrets of what your tutors are looking for in a HD worthy assignment. Follow it carefully and meticulously and you’ll be surprised at the dramatic improvement it can make in your marks.

Set Goals

For me, I like to plan and/or write a section of an assignment each day until I have it completed.

By setting myself daily and weekly goals, I’m able to keep on top of my work and get things done ahead of schedule which will make scoring a HD just that little bit more achievable. Which brings me to my next piece of advice. 

Make New Deadlines

So you have an assignment due in two weeks and you still haven’t started? Well get a wriggle on my friend because your new deadline is now only a week away.

Trust me, it’s not as scary as it sounds. By forcing yourself to finish an assignment at least a week before it’s due, you’ll have enough time to edit and revise without the stress of an impending deadline only one hour away. It will improve the quality of your work and is a surefire way to securing that elusive HD.


Yes, the dreaded ‘r’ word. If your assignment requires you to submit a reference list, you’ll be saving yourself (and your tutor) a whole lot of hassle if you add to it as you go.

Not only this, but engage with the course content wherever possible. It’s there for a reason. But don’t forget to go beyond the required readings and broaden your horizons. There really are some hidden gems of the academic world if you search hard enough.

If that doesn’t scream HD, I don’t know what will. 

Ask For Help

Your friends are great for providing moral support when it comes to assignments, but there’s only so much they can answer before you all find yourselves in a vicious cycle of doubt and uncertainty.

Don’t be afraid to ask your tutor for help when something isn’t clear. Hell, even ask the subject coordinator if you want to. They’ll be able to give you past examples of HD assignments and explain why they got those marks. You’ll be able to compare it to your own work and make changes accordingly.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

If you continue to fall into a rut after receiving a bad grade, take different strategies to change your mindset when it comes to future assignments.

Jot down all your ideas on post-it notes and combine similar ideas together, whether it be themes, quotes or weekly content, and lay it out on a table. It’s like a mind map, only on a larger, more practical scale. By thinking differently, your productivity will skyrocket and so will your grades.

See, scoring a HD doesn’t sound so hard after all. You got this!

Chelsea Hetherington is a Communications/Creative Intelligence and Innovation student at the University of Technology Sydney. She is a concert fanatic, sport enthusiast and tweets at @chelsea_hetho.

(Lead image: Election/Paramount)