Report Writing Tips and Help

I am currently undertaking the level 7 diploma and have not studied for some year.  I seem to be having problems writing the reports and assignment necessary.  I fully understand the models and concepts taught in via the classroom and contribute, but then struggle to put my words down on paper with a restriction to word count.

Any top tips on the best way to tackle would be appreciated.

I am currently studying Level 3 Introductory Certificate and am attempting to complete the assignment and am struggling to get going.  Like Jane it has been a long time since I studied and just don't know how to get going.  In fact I am so paralysed I am beginning to believe I haven't understood a word! Any tips?

One option to consider is mind mapping, if you haven't come across it before I can recommend a look at Tony Buzan's website to get an idea of how it works - - even better - if you have an iPhone or iPod touch you can download a simple to use free application to create mind maps. 

Whenever I have to write a report, prepare a presentation or design a training course I start with a mind map - literally dumping all my knowledge and ideas on to paper before then looking at a structure. If you have time it can be good to 'live' with this mind map for a few days adding new thoughts and bits of relevant knowledge as you think of them. You will soon find you have enough (probably too much) content to work with. 

You can then review the content and mark each 'branch' with an 'M' for must include, 'S' for should include and 'C' for could include. Use the assessment criteria as a guide, this should help you prioritise and maybe even write a first draft to get an idea of word count. You can focus on writing around all the 'Musts', then add in shoulds and coulds if you can. 

Hope this helps, I'll try and think of some other ideas, good luck both!


Firstly be clear on what the assignment/report requires you to do - by understanding this you can then plan your approach to it.

If you understand the classroom taught bits, models and concepts then it is a matter of building your confidence to put pen to paper. These are simple tips but they do reduce anxiety and create a better sense of being in control of the process.

Organise your materials and resources and stuff you want to include into a folder and have it referenced - this helps also have a bibliography section for your reading and a direct quotes section for quotes you might want to use verbatim - this saves lots of time and anxiety at the end.

Plan the structure of your report - I tend to set up my template with the section headings which gives me the confidence that I am progressing rather than having bits all over the place.

Save your first report as Draft Report v1 and remember to save as you go along to avoid computer glitches and hitches. if you are backing up to external drive or memory stick make sure you always work from the most up to date version it helps if you make major changes to save as V2, V3 and so on. Don't get too hung up on word count as it is a lot easier to cut than to have to add.

As you move through the process you will find it easier the first assignment is always the most difficult as you have no benchmark.

Content will depend on the assignment but it will reflect your understanding of the assignment, what is being asked of you and your analysis and conclusions. Everyone has their own writing style but there is no excuse for spelling mistakes and bad grammar. Your assignment needs to be accessible, clear and well laid out.

How you construct your assignment will depend on the nature of it but generally you will be seeking to provide some of these examples (your headings are likely to be different depending on the assignment

Background or context
Key concepts, models approaches

happy to assist further if you feel it would help

In order to support studying members with writing reports and assignments, the CMI's Library contains a range of resources on these topics, as well as titles by Tony Buzan for members to borrow.  We have a checklist on report writing which can be downloaded straight from your desk top.  All of our checklists can be found on our website by going to 'Practical support and advice' followed by 'Management Checklists' from the left-hand menu.

For additional study support materials, try our 'Current learners' section on our new website.  The direct url to this section is  For any additional help with your studies, why not try our 'Ask an information researcher service' - details of which can be found at or telephone us directly on 01536 207400.

i am studying the level 5 course. i have completed 3 units.

unfortunately I was made redundant in December and am still unemployed. I have been struggling completing the tasks and assignments because I don't have work examples I can use.

Does anyone know if I can still carry on submitting my assignments even without using work examples?

Any advice will be much appreciated.



Sorry to hear that Mario.  Could you use examples from previous employment?

I would advise anyone who is working on assignments to contact their dedicated training mentor, who will be delighted to assist. They are there to offer advice, support, shoulder to cry on, motivation, carrots, etc. Also, there are plenty of CM members who will also offer advice and support.

Try this service ... this might help

Jane, I fully understand your predicament as I also had to write academic reports after a break and I suspect we tend to over-analyse things.

I think it is very important to be clear about the structure of your report and what type of information will go into each section.

One method I found helpful was to write or print pieces of information onto separate index cards, e.g. you might want to make notes about relevant studies you want to quote, so put each study, with its academic reference, onto a separate card.   When you are ready to write the report, it is relatively easy to go through the cards and put them into a logical order in which you wish to write about the contents.   That way, studies which are relevant to each other can be discussed together and it should help to prevent repetition and keep your word count down.   It also helps with your bibliography as you don't have to go back through your notes trying to find where a particular study came from.