Feedback consists of comments about how well you performed a task, or assignment, according to the criteria, and is used as a basis for improvement. 

Scroll down for our recommended strategies and resources.

Not personal

Your markers are marking against a set of criteria, so your feedback isn't intended to be taken personally or be a fixed judgement on your ability; it is meant as a constructive response to how you completed one task. However, when reading through feedback comments without the marker there to explain them, the comments can sound abrupt. You might even hear them in a disapproving tone of voice, just like in the video below. It is important not to take the comments you get personally  - they are there to help you develop.    

Understanding feedback

It can help to give yourself some distance from the feedback comments and come back to them once you have had time to reflect. Read through them again and make sure you understand what they mean. Click on the different sections of the guide below to see what your markers mean when they write things like “more explanation needed”:  

Using formative feedback

A formative assessment is designed to give you an opportunity to practice and get feedback. The marks from a formative assignment don’t count towards your overall grade. Often you may not get a specific mark for a formative assignment as they are intended to provide feedback for improvement. This is why it is very important to read the feedback comments carefully to identify areas to improve. Formative feedback helps you develop and prepare for the summative assignments which do count towards your grade.

Formative feedback is a guide, not a guarantee of a good mark. A formative assessment may be a shorter assignment, or a small section of the summative assignment, so it may not give your marker the full picture of your work. Your grade for the final summative assignment can still go up or down.

Therefore, it is helpful to treat your formative feedback as an indication of how you are doing, not just a checklist of things to ‘fix’. For example your formative feedback may say that your use of sources is ‘good’, but this shouldn’t prevent you from developing further by reading even more widely before submitting your summative assignment. 

Using summative feedback

Summative assessment is a form of assessment that counts towards the overall mark for your module. The feedback you receive on your summative assignments is designed to help you improve your academic work generally. It is a good strategy to look for any patterns or common themes in the feedback comments you receive across a number of modules, as this can highlight areas to work on.  

Seek advice

If you are unsure about what your feedback means, talk to your lecturer or Academic Adviser, or see us at the Centre for Academic Development for a one-to-one session.

Oral feedback

A lot of the feedback you get will be spoken in seminars, lectures, and tutorials. It can be easy to forget this kind of feedback. This guide can help you recognise and use it:

Putting your feedback into practice

Often your feedback identifies what you need to do to improve (e.g. include a wider range of sources) but it doesn't always tell you the steps for how to do this (e.g. plan my time better so I have longer to find different sources). This is why it is important to reflect on your study processes not just the final grade. Watch this short video for more advice on how to put your feedback into practice:

Action plan

Looking at feedback straight away can be emotional and frustrating. Give yourself some time and distance. It can be helpful to make a checklist or plan to help reflect more objectively on what to work on next. See this guide on making a feedback action plan: