17 insider tips for writing an ICA assignment

Written by Jennifer Trenery on Monday October 8, 2018

You’ve signed up for an ICA qualification. You’ve met your cohort. You’ve got the assignment. Panic ensues.

Relax, we’re here to help!

For many of our students, writing an assignment is a daunting process - it’s been a few years since they’ve studied (more than some care to admit!) and the excitement of the ‘back to school’ feeling has been replaced with the question ‘how can I pass my assignment’?

Achieving good grades is fundamental for many of our students (of course, there is much more to learning than merely passing; truly understanding the course material is important too!) so we’ve compiled this handy list of important things to consider when writing your assignment:


  1. Make sure you read the question carefully and answer it fully

  2. Whilst it is important to demonstrate knowledge of the topic, word count is important so you may have to ruthlessly edit extraneous information that doesn’t answer the assignment question

  3. Case studies can be a useful way to illustrate your points

  4. Make sure you take advantage of the available word count

  5. Give yourself sufficient time to write the assignment

  6. Read the ICA assessment handbook

  7. Once complete, give yourself enough time to load the assignment into the learning platform

  8. When quoting material from other sources, remember to reference appropriately – plagiarising is not acceptable

  9. The presentation of the assignment should not be overlooked, the use of headings and subheadings can enhance your assignment

  10. Keep an ongoing bibliography – top tip, this can also be used to log in the CPD portal for self-led learning

  11. For Diploma assignments, make sure you have carried out the required depth of analysis/ detailed analysis and evaluation of the topic

  12. Try and finish it a week early so you can revisit what you wrote with fresh eyes/ask someone else to read it

  13. If you need to compare/contrast, using tables can be a good approach

  14. Ensure that if the question sets out the required areas of discussion in say, 6 different parts, that you use these 6 headings to define your answer. Your assignment will be more structured and easier to follow as a result

  15. Don’t restrict your reading and research just to the ICA manual. Wider reading will not only help you understand the subject better, but will also provide opportunities to validate your answers through referencing

  16. Be clear about how to answer a question depending on the verb being used, i.e. analyse, describe, investigate, examine could all be used, but each would require a different approach when devising the answer

  17. Getting your answers right is of course important, but consider providing a degree of evaluation to your answers too, as this can be the difference between lower and higher marks

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