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13 December 2021

Received an upsetting mark? Here’s how you can bounce back with your next assignment

As we head into the second half of Trimester 3, it’s a busy time for submitting assignments and receiving feedback on your work.

Did you receive the marks you were hoping for? Sometimes we are delighted by the marker feedback we get on assignments, but sometimes it can be upsetting – it’s happened to us all. It’s normal to feel a bit deflated or confused if you receive suggestions for improvement you weren’t expecting, or that you don’t fully understand.

So, how can we process a disappointing grade without letting it negatively affect our future assessments?

Remember: understanding feedback is the key to academic success, so think of it as a learning opportunity, not an obstacle. Here are a few tips for making effective use of the feedback you receive, including seeking further advice if you need more help, and using this knowledge to improve your assignment writing. See this Study Support resource for more tips from students and staff about using feedback effectively to improve your future assignments.

1. Don’t take feedback too personally!

It’s important not to take feedback as personal criticism. Lecturers mark thousands of assignments, and their end goal is to suggest ways to improve your writing and understanding. Keep an open mind – your teachers want to see you getting the best marks you can.

2. Be clear about what the feedback is focused on

Determine exactly what the marker is commenting on: is it based on the expectations set out in the unit learning outcomes and assignment marking rubric? Maybe it’s the structure of your writing or the language you have used? Maybe you need to pay attention to your use of sources, including the way you have referenced them?

If you are unclear about the feedback that you received, make sure you speak to your unit chair, lecturer or tutor to clarify. While we’re studying online, you can contact them on the discussion forum for your unit or via email. Don’t forget, you can also contact Deakin’s Language and Learning Advisers for general study and assignment advice.

3. Explore how you could change your approach next time

Identify specific areas that you need to address for your next assignment. For example:

Keep a record of the comments you receive for various assignments – are there common issues that you need to address in your writing? And don’t forget to note any positive comments made by your marker; it’s useful to know your own strengths and build upon them.

4. Explore the Academic Skills guides for further advice

Better planning for your next assignment will help provide a better result. There’s an Academic Skills guide for almost every aspect of your university assignments, from integrating sources to proofreading to note taking. 

Perhaps you need some real-time, personalised support?

Deakin’s Study Support service offers a range of options for you to access support online, from both staff and fellow students, when and where you need it. We can help you gain the skills you need to succeed with academic writing, research and study skills. 

At Study Support you can:

You can learn more and access a range of resources to help you improve your assignments on the Study Support site.

We also understand it’s been a challenging year, so please access the many free student support services available to you at any time. Your wellbeing matters, and we’re here to help.

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