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Top 4 ICA Assignment tricks… that don’t work!

by: (Associate Director, Research and Development) on

We quite often get asked questions about how ICA assessments work.

Heck, I’ve even blogged previously on how you can best approach ICA assessments (exams & assignments) in order to get the outcome you want.

But having had a chat with our ICA colleagues, I thought that maybe it was also worth sharing some of the less impressive features of assignment submissions.  I’ve previously given you some tips on what you should try and do – but here’s some which you should avoid!

Fresh at Four

Nothing gets an examiner’s blood boiling more than students trying to get around the assignment word count. It’s there for a reason – don’t write too much (no waffling), and don’t write too little (look like you don’t understand it).

A popular typology is to cram as many abbreviations as possible. Please be aware - it can be spotted from a mile off! Some assignments are littered with acronyms so bad that the examiner needs a translation sheet to understand what is being said (‘FATF = Int. NGO ref. AML/CTF’). You’re not writing a text message/tweet and it really doesn’t help your cause.

Holding at Three

TrickThis is kind of ‘word count 1.5’.

You’ve submitted 12 pages of assignment. Great. And 30 pages of appendices. Huh? – You do know appendices aren’t marked, right?

Yes, use them to support the body of your assignment – but appendices are not a handy subs bench for your main content. You can’t rotate content/cross refer 8,000 words. Where will it end? (‘for further information, please see Google…’)

New at Two

Hmm. I’ve got a plan. Footnotes aren’t included in the word count are they?

Next thing you know - half a page of footnotes.  Cunning, eh?

Yes, ICA do indeed see this scenario. But the students using this technique haven’t read the regulations as we all know footnotes are in fact included in the word count, so penalties will apply and the assessment team have little sympathy for such misguided cunningness.

So the handy tip is – read the guidelines on submission. ICA know them well and will apply them!

And at Number One

Technology. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Plagiarism is a massive potential issue. Thankfully, it’s not all that common.

It’s true to say that you are ‘only cheating yourself’. Copying isn’t clever. You’re not learning anything, and ICA take an extremely dim view of it, and can now check even more effectively using the Turnitin system.

Hmm. How do I get around this?

I don’t want to get caught out. I’ll use my contacts and get my assignment put through the Turnitin system from another institute to check the match before you submit. Ha! Eat that ICA!

Clever, yes - but is it gonna work? No. Sorry!

The reason Turnitin is so good is that it shares its secrets, so ICA will know that it has been submitted/scanned previously. If you haven’t plagiarised, why would you have run it through already as a precaution…?

It’s just not worth it

So there we have it. Shortcuts, cunning plans, tricky interpretations of the regulations – in all honesty, it’s just not worth it.

Read the instructions and follow them – there aren’t any points awarded for swizzing.

In fact, quite the contrary. Work well within the remit you are given and you’ll reap the rewards.

If you're not currently studying and you're interested in an ICA qualification more information can be found on our ICA certificates and diplomas page. Alternatively, please call +44(0)121 362 7506 and we’ll happily talk you through your study options.



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