Lessons Learned: Check, Check and Check Again

This story comes from my first year.

Studio Production, first semester, second assignment. The task involved us recording a multitrack audio session, clean it up with some post poduction and bounce a¬† mix down to a stereo track and record onto an audio, to be handed into our tutor for marking. Here’s the twist – none of it was done through computer based audio environments – all outboard equipment, including the storage:

Mixing Studio 1, UoH Scarborough. Own Work

Different Project, Same Desk.

Some of the hardware used. Own Work

Some of the Hardware Used

Guess what? Our group failed – and all because of a really trivial reason. We made a small mistake in the process and due to time constraints, didn’t think to check our setup, check we’d pressed all the correct buttons to finalise our disc or indeed time to test the disc in a second player (which would have proved that final step didn’t work). We didn’t think we’d need to. We were wrong.

As a result of this I didn’t get enough marks in the weighting to pass the module initially, but got the opportunity to resit the assignment¬† as a pass (a mark of 40 or a third) or a fail and a chance to not resit the entire module, or fail and to redo the module to get the credits to complete my degree. The resit assignment in this case consisted of an essay, which fortunately I passed with – however this rendered the group work we had spent hours on worthless in the end.

When you hand in formal pieces of work at University, between the markers they will often scrutinise everything down to the ground. Spelling, reference style, tracing references and sources, lengths of quotes, clips and samples as well as any paraphrasing to ensure you’re not outright plagiarising or simply regurgitating the facts and most importantly – have you followed the instructions provided and/or answered the question.

Forgetting these crucial elements, whilst appearing trivial in everyday life, will cost you dearly in academia, so it pays to check at every stage for spelling and grammar (thankfully if you’re using a modern word processor package such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Open/LibreOffice Writer, this will be done for you), for if any of what you write or do fits what they ask or if you’ve made a mention to something out there, you’ve written it in the right format in your documentation (see my previous post on Assignments to learn more) and you’ve kept to the right duration, size, format and word count.

Check it as you write or do it, check it when you read it, get someone else to read/listen/watch and check it and if in doubt, send a draft to your tutor or invite them to see/hear your planned submission and get some feedback so you can check again.

Keep this practice in with each draft, each paragraph and each take/performance and you should avoid considerable embarrassment and a greater chance of getting above 40 in your final mark for it.

The best of luck out there!