The Big Report!

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So I’m now 10 months into my placement and it’s time for the final report. For my course; this report is the major assessed part of my year and contributes 55% of my placement mark. As you might have guessed this means it’s no small piece, it weighs in at 8,000 words and is designed to allow me to explain my project findings that I’ve been gathering for the last 7 or so months.

All of this will probably make this report sound really daunting, and to be frank I was quite nervous about it in the weeks leading up to starting it. However, since starting my report I’ve actually found writing it really natural as this is the project I’ve been working on for the bulk of my placement and as a result the information flows really naturally.

How you actually go about writing the report will vary depending on how you prefer to work. For me I’ve found it easiest to simply write each section as it comes to me and then worry about the word count later on, cutting out the extra information that’s not really needed. Some people on the other hand find it easiest to start short and then bulk their word count up once they’re happy all of the critical information is in place.

Something I would definitely recommend doing however, is checking on how strict the word count is. Some courses will have a strict word count; where you’ll be marked down for going over or under the limit by a set percentage (usually 10%) whereas some other courses, like mine, use the word count as more of a word guide. The advice I was given for my report was that although my word count is set at 8,000 words I should aim for between 6,500 and 9,000 as less than 6,500 will probably be too short and will be lacking in detail and over 9,000 will probably contain too much extra information that simply detracts from the rest of the content of the report.

Most placement courses will offer some kind of a guidance handbook which will probably feature a recommended format for the report. This is doubly helpful as it not only gives you guidance on how to set out your report if you are struggling, but it also tells which sections, if any, don’t contribute to your word count. When working with this recommended format (assuming one has been provided) it is also important to check if this is a recommended style or if it is the only acceptable style. For my report, this style is only recommended and some variation is allowed if it helps improve the flow of the piece. If you think that your report would benefit from a slightly different style then it’s always best to check with your university placement co-ordinator before submitting your report, to avoid losing unwanted marks just for structural reasons.

When it comes to writing your report make sure to keep reading it back to check the style is still suitable, you’ll be amazed how much your writing style can change from one day to the next! Also don’t forget to keep saving your report, and then save it again to be on the safe side!!! The last thing you want is to lose hours of work because of a power cut or a dead laptop battery!

With the project report finished and submitted, next month will be all about what a placement can teach you and how it can improve your career prospects.