It is important (although often difficult) to remember that writing is just like any other skill (e.g., riding a bike or playing a musical instrument). The only (and I do mean the ONLY) way to get better at it is to practise. Sure, some people are born with more skill at writing than other people, just like some people are born with the ability to draw well and others, like me, are not. But even people with a more innate writing ability can improve. And it is not just academic pieces that can improve your writing skills… even small, unimportant things, such as notes to yourself, can be a form of writing practice!
The moral of the story here is that you cannot write one draft of an essay or report (or whatever it is that you are required to do), submit it, and do well. Every time you rewrite a piece, it will get better (not to mention shorter and simpler), and rewriting a piece acts as a form of proofreading. As is so often the case in life, what you put in is what you get out, and practise ensures that you get a happy marker and a good grade.
Ultimately, you need to remember that although you only have to write one assignment on the specified topic (and therefore you have time to make it the best assignment that it can be) your marker has to read and mark many (often up to 40) of the same assignment. The easier you make his/her job, they happier he/she will feel, and the better your mark is likely to be!
And so concludes this series of posts. What are some of your writing tips?