Prepare for it!

What are you being asked to do?

Audio feedback wave form superimposed over silhouette of University Campus

Your assessments are an opportunity, not just to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, but to learn new ways of thinking and communicating, and to get feedback on these. For example, you can develop your approach to analysing sources and forming conclusions, and your marker will give you feedback on what has worked and how you can improve it. Feedback is, therefore, an essential tool for mastering your discipline.

Read the assessment instructions and assessment criteria

The first step in preparing for an assignment is to understand what you are being expected to do. Find all the relevant information you can about the assignment - such as the assignment instructions, guidance around structure and writing style.

How will I receive feedback and what do I do with it?

Feedback come in a variety of forms. In fact, any situation where you put forward your ideas, and someone give you comments on those ideas is feedback - and you can learn from this! Feedback doesn't just come on a sheet marked 'Assignment Feedback', it can be spoken, a discussion, given by friends, demonstrators, it can be general feedback to a whole class, or it can be electronic. Spot when you're given feedback, make sure you can access it, and make use of it!

How will you access the feedback? Find out how to access feedback on Blackboard. But - you might be given in feedback in other forms, even written cover-sheets, so it's important you find out how you can get hold of it.


Do I understand the what is expected of me for this assignment and how it will be assessed?

Doing well in an assessment depends on you working out and understanding the following:

  • What is the assignment really asking you to do?
  • What further research will you need to do?
  • What would a 'good' assignment look like in terms of focus, evidence, presentation?
  • What particular themes would you focus on and why?
  • If there are particular sections (e.g. in a formal report), what will you need to do well in each section?

Instructions for your assignments, along with assessment criteria, are likely to be found under 'Materials and Activities' or 'Assessments'  on your Blackboard Modules. You may additionally receive informal verbal guidance within lectures or tutorials - so listen out for it!

Another useful approach to understanding what the expectations are around the assessment is to look at writing styles in similar assignments, dissertations, or publications. For instance, if you need to produce a poster - look at examples of posters in your discipline. If you need to create a reflective case-study, find an example in your subject area and analyse it. Examples of academic writing can be found at dissertations@Leicester.


Feedback as dialogue

Discussion with friends, lecturers and advisers is a great way to help you understand an area in more detail - this also applies to preparing for an assignment and preparing for feedback. Have a chat with someone about the assignment is really asking you to do, and what the marking criteria mean. You can also discuss your plan of how you will approach your assignment, and how long you might spend on each stage of writing.


For Lecturers: This guidance has been adapted from the Transition Toolkit. Module Convenors, Lecturers and Tutors should refer to the original document for more guidance.

Next: Understand it >>

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