Preparing Written Assessment
This document is intended to support your preparation and electronic submission of written
assessment during your BSc Psychology. It is specifically relating to written pieces of
coursework, such as essays, rather than assessed statistics or posters, where you will find
module specific guidance. You should read this guidance alongside information provided on
individual module KEATS pages.
Please note that this document does not include details of how the programme deals with
late submissions which is covered in Part 3 of the Programme Handbook, available on the
KEATS Programme Page.
Formatting your submission
When preparing your submission, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is clearly presented
and contains all essential information before you upload it into the appropriate KEATS inbox.
To do this you must:
1. Complete the BSc Psychology Coversheet and use this as the first page of your document.
Note the exact format of the coversheet is not important so if you would prefer to simply
type the relevant information into the start of your document this is acceptable. The
coversheet must be contained within a single word document (.docx) with your
assessment as you will only be able to upload one file.
2. Include a word count for your answers where one is specified in the question (see
guidance below on what is include in word counts). Note that if your document only
contains one answer this will be completed as part of your coversheet. However, if there
are multiple parts associated with individual word counts, we recommend you either
indicate this on your coversheet or put the word count at the end of each individual
3. Use an appropriate font size and spacing so that answers are clear to the marker. We ask
that you use a minimum font size of 12 and adopt a standardised font (e.g. Arial, Times,
Calibre). Please use a minimum of 1.5 line spacing.
4. Save your file with a suitable name which indicates the module code, K-number and the
number of the question(s) you have attempted where appropriate, for example,
‘4PAHPBIO_ K1426325_Question 2’. You should also use this naming convention in the
‘Submission title’ box in Turnitin when you upload your file and the ‘Submission file name’
part of the coversheet.
Please do not put your name in the document because we use anonymous marking in line
with College guidance.
Note that there can be problems with specific file types that only become apparent after
submission. This can arise because the file was created in one type of software and then saved
as another, for example, working in ‘Pages’ and then saving as a ‘Word’ file. This can also arise
if it was produced in Word Online and submitted from Word (or vice versa). Wherever
possible you should work in Microsoft Word throughout to avoid this. If you have tables or
figures in your answer, make sure you ‘wrap’ them to the text to ensure they do not move
around obscuring parts of your answer. To do this, right click on the table and select on Table
Properties, then select Table and under Text Wrapping, click Around. For a figure, right click
on the figure, select Wrap Text and then select the appropriate option (i.e. one that will not
cover the text, there are a variety of options). It is your responsibility to ensure that the
submitted version is formatted as intended and therefore, we strongly recommend that you
view your submitted file after upload in case any changes have occurred. Failure to do so may
mean marks are lost because of formatting problems. Note that if you do notice problems
with your submission, you can over-write the submission up until the deadline and so can
simply upload a corrected version instead. If you are unsure how to format documents clearly
in Microsoft Word you can complete online training via LinkedIn Learning. We recommend
the course entitled ‘Learning Word 2016’. You can complete this course as part of the
Foundation Graduate Attributes module if you are Year 1 student.
All modules within the BSc Programme ask you to write your answers in a specific number of
words and therefore provide word limits for each question. These are mandatory and you will
incur a penalty if you exceed them by any amount. This is to ensure that your answers are
concisely and clearly written as is expected in writing at this academic level. Writing concisely
can be challenging and if you find this a struggle you could complete online training via
LinkedIn Learning. We recommend the course entitled ‘Writing in Plain English’. You can
complete key parts of this course as part of the Foundation Graduate Attributes module if you
are Year 1 student. You may also find the University pages on ‘Writing at University’ on the
King’s Learning and Skills Service KEATS page.
This word limit includes:
– Any titles or subtitles within your answer
– Any formatting features within your answer e.g. if you are writing a letter, it would
include the recipient and sender addresses.
– The main body of your answer.
– The references within the main body of the text referred to as in-text citations (see
section on referencing below if you are unsure what this means)
– Text in the BSc Psychology Coversheet
– The question text which you may choose to reproduce
– Any diagrams or tables and their associated captions, although you should ensure
these are concise and necessary if you include them.
– End of text reference lists.
Whilst we operate penalties for over-length answers, it is quite possible that you will be able
to answer the questions in fewer words. You will not be penalised if your answer is shorter
than the length indicated. However, an answer that is much shorter than the recommended
length (<75% of the length indicated), is unlikely to have addressed all the points in sufficient
depth. You should, therefore, use the word limits as guidance on how much to write.
Penalties: Where you have exceeded the word limit indicated, you will incur a penalty as
follows (using an example of an assessment with a word limit of 1000 words):
– A submission that exceeds the word limit by 10% or less of the word limit (i.e. 1001-
1100 words) will have 5 marks deducted.
– A submission that exceeds the word limit by over 10% and up to and including 20%
(i.e. 1101-1200 words) will have 10 marks deducted.
– A submission that exceeds the word limit by over 20% (i.e. 1201 words or above) will
be capped to 40%.
If your submission is judged to be worthy of a mark below 40%, before any word limit penalty,
your grade will not be reduced. If your submission is judged to be worthy of a mark of 40% or
above, before any word limit penalty, the penalty shall never reduce a mark to less than 40%.
Note that these penalties are subject to faculty approval.
Understanding the Turnitin report
When you upload a document into KEATS, you will normally see a similarity report produced
by the Turnitin Software. This is a software designed to detect plagiarism, which the College
defines as the taking of another person’s thoughts, words, results, judgements, ideas, images
etc., and presenting them as your own. The software creates a similarity score by comparing
the submission against a database of published journals, web pages and previous
submissions. It also checks the submission against submissions made by all other students in
your cohort and previous cohorts. You can review the score and examine areas of matching
where the report is made available to you. If the percentage is high, you should double check
that all your work is in your own words and referenced appropriately (i.e. as per the guidance
in the module assessment brief). It is important to note that if your work is referenced
appropriately and you have written in your own words then there is unlikely to be an issue.
The similarity reports are reviewed by examiners during the marking process. This review
considers the amount of matching but also the type of matching. For example, if your
coversheet matches this is unsurprising because all students are asked to use this. Similarly,
if you reference list is highlighted in the report, this is not a problem. There is no absolute
number for the score which is used as a cut off – it is used to inform only. In line with College
policy, if we do believe plagiarism has occurred, work will not be marked until an investigation
has taken place. The College considers plagiarism as a form of cheating and a serious academic
Turnitin is managed by Library Services on behalf of all Schools and departments within the
College, and they provide useful information on Turnitin. This can be found under
‘Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism’ on their King’s Learning and Skills Service KEATS page.
Citing your sources
Most written work completed for your degree will require you to use formal academic
referencing. If you are not required to do this, this will be made clear in the assessment brief.
Support and guidance on referencing can be accessed through KLaSS: Citing and referencing
tools for your studies and we recommend you visit this page and work through the materials.
King’s has two systems for referencing and all BSc Psychology students should use the AuthorDate system which is based on APA 6 (the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association).
There are two steps involved when referencing: in-text citations and reference lists.
1. In-text citations:
These enable you to indicate in your work where you have used ideas or material from other
sources. If, for example, your source is a book written by Carlson and published in 2014, your
in-text citation would follow one of these formats:
• Further experiments (Carlson, 2014) supported this conclusion.
• Further experiments outlined by Carlson (2014) supported this conclusion.
Occasionally, you may wish to directly quote material, although this should be done sparingly
because it does not illustrate your understanding of the topic, only than you recognised the
importance of the material. If you are directly quoting material (i.e. using the exact form of
words used in the original and putting the text in quote marks), you will need to include the
page number(s) of the quoted material in your in-text citation, for example:
• “This theory is supported by recent work” (Carlson, 2014, p. 32).
Note that if you are referencing multiple sources from the same author published in the same
year you can distinguish between them using an a, b, c convention so that the in-text citation
will be, for example, for the second source cited by the author in the same year ‘(Carlson,
2014b)’. If you do this, you need to make sure the ‘b’ is in the corresponding end of text
reference list as well so the reader can match the two up.
If you have multiple authors for one piece of work, following the guidance below:
• If two authors, always give both names using and not & e.g. Potter and Weasley (2015)
• If between 3 and 5 authors give all names the first time with , & before the final author
e.g. Potter, Weasley, Granger, & Valdemort (2015) and thereafter abbreviate to Potter
et al. (2015)
• For six or more authors always use the first author followed by et al. each time i.e.
Granger et al. (2015)
2. Reference lists:
These provide full details for each of your sources at the end of your work – everything you
have cited in the text of your work, should be listed in alphabetical order at the end (not as a
numbered or bulleted list). The general structure of a reference according to APA is:
Author, A. A., & Other-Author, B. B. (Year). Title of item. Title of overall work [Item
type/information]. Publisher information/location from which accessed. Persistent identifier.
For example, this general structure would give the following reference for your core reading
on Psychology & the Brain:
Carlson, N. R. (2014) Foundations in Behavioural Neuroscience, 9th Ed. Essex: Pearson.
Note that there are different formats for different types of sources. Comprehensive guidance
is available via the library pages on ‘Getting Started’ with referencing. They also have a
downloadable APA guide here.
If you wish to use a referencing software, you can complete online training via LinkedIn
Learning. We recommend the course entitled ‘Endnote Essential Training’. You can complete
this course as part of the Intermediate or Advanced Graduate Attributes module if you are
Year 2 or 3 student respectively.
Although the library uses a method based on APA 6, there is a newer edition available (APA
7). Whilst this is not directly supported by the university, being able to use this newer version
is an appropriate professional skill for Psychology students. Therefore, if you would prefer to
use APA 7 you can do so but should indicate this on your coversheet (tick the appropriate
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