student life

I got a low mark for my assessment, what do I do?

Written by Rachel Avery

University can be very stressful, especially when it comes to assessments. Mid-terms probably took up most of your November and I’m sure you’ll have lots of assessments during January too. No matter how many assessments you do, there is always the dreaded wait for your marks to come back, but what do you do if you don’t get the mark you hoped for?

First of all, don’t panic

Panicking is only going to stress you out more. There’s nothing you can do to change your mark, so you’ve got to focus your mind on how you can improve for next time.

Read through all of the comments

Write down or type up the comments from your marker onto a Word document, so you can look back on them later and use them to improve your next piece of work. Keep adding to your list of comments as you complete more and more assessments. If you haven’t received any feedback and you want some, get in touch with your personal tutor or module coordinator.

Arrange a meeting with your personal tutor or your module coordinator

Your personal tutor and module coordinator are there to help you and sometimes I find speaking to someone in person more useful. You’ll be able to go through your assessment with them and they can offer you advice on how to improve. Some tutors are even happy to read through assessment plans or ideas, as well as reading through drafts or practice exam answers.

Try to put it into perspective

Your mark may seem like a massive knock-back and you may feel upset, but when you put it into perspective, it probably won’t be much of a big deal. Depending on your course, you’ll be studying for three to four years or more. Each year has a different weighting of how much it is worth in your final mark when you finish university. In each year you do a number of different modules. In each module you may have one assessment, but you may have more. So, when you look at that one grade and how much it contributes to your final grade, it probably won’t be worth very much.

Remember, you can retake

If you find yourself in the situation where it wasn’t just the one bad mark and you ended up failing a module or the year, you can retake. Speak to your university tutor and they will offer you advice about your next steps.

Confide in your friends

Discussing your worries and concerns with your friends can be comforting. I always feel better after speaking to my friends, especially my friends that I live with at university, as they all understand the stress and pressure of assessments too.

Go out and have fun

You’ve spent the past number of weeks feeling more stressed than usual, which is particularly draining. Balancing your work life with your social life is important, so go out and do something fun with your mates. Go to the cinema, go bowling or go out for a drink or two. Taking your mind off of university work will give you a chance to relax before the next round of work begins.

There is always something you can do when you’re feeling down after receiving a low mark. You just have to find out what works for you. Do you believe there is too much pressure to achieve high results at university?