Thursday Thoughts: Writing Refresh—Assignment Prompts as Outline -->

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Thursday Thoughts: Writing Refresh—Assignment Prompts as Outline

Hello, Walden students! Today let’s talk a little bit about the very first part of an assignment—the prompt. Did you know that you can use the assignment prompt (often with a little bit of tweaking) as an outline for your paper? Read on for some tips and resources to help you stay organized and fully answer your prompts.

As you know, your assignment or assignment prompt lets you know what you need to write about in your paper, right? But with a little bit of tweaking and re-arranging, you can also use it to begin an outline for your paper and as a checklist at the end to ensure you’ve hit all the points.

We have a wonderful webinar on interpreting your assignment that details various strategies and multiple examples of how to interpret and break apart your assignment prompts. You can watch it, and dozens of other helpful live webinar recordings on our Webinar Archive page

For discussion posts in particular, we have a great blog post that goes over the steps towards organizing a discussion post from the prompt itself here. You can also use these strategies to help you in larger prompts!

Here is a link to a podcast episode about “Doesn’t Meet Requirements” that goes over what this comment might mean and how to avoid it by outlining and carefully looking over the prompt.


Essentially, all of these resources recommend that you take a second look at your prompt and work to visually break it down. This might involve highlighting, bolding certain words, or creating a mini-outline. Once you’ve separated out the different elements of the prompt, you can be sure you’re meeting the requirements! This might take a little practice, since sometimes one sentence in a prompt might have a few aspects to cover in your paper, but use these tools to assist you and soon you’ll be outlining from prompts with ease.

Do you have any tips on using prompts to help you outline, or find any of these resources particularly helpful? Share below!

The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work.

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