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Understanding Writing Assignments: Conclusion

Things to Remember

Overall, remember the following steps when you start to read assignment prompts for your courses.

  1. Identify the key aspects of the assignment, including the main goal and required parts of the essay.
  2. Consider the rhetorical situation of the prompt—that is, consider the text, the author (that’s you!), the audience, the purposes, and the setting of your assignment, in order to gain more information about expectations. Using this knowledge can help you to figure out a specific genre to write in, which can contribute even more to your understanding of the prompt.
  3. Ask questions of the prompt, and of your instructor.

Ultimately, if you find any part of the prompt confusing, talk to your instructor. He or she wrote the prompt, and will be able to explain their expectations for the assignment. Also, see the “Understanding Writing Assignments” page on this site, which features more in-depth examples of different types of essays you may be asked to write in your classes. To access this supplemental resource, click here.