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Assessments - the do's and don'ts

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

It's nearing that time of semester where all the assessments start to pile up and many students will be feeling overwhelmed. Why? Because most of you will have only just adjusted to the new routine and finally become accustom to the workload for this semester, and then lecturers go and throw an assessment (or two) at you for each of your subjects. That means, for some of you, there may be 4 assessments due in the coming weeks. So it is understandable how that can overwhelm a student. So this post is all about what you should do with regards to assessments, and what to avoid (as in, run the other way from).


- Structure your time

- Start early

- Read and understand the assessment requirements and instructions

- Complete the required research

- Have all your subject notes up-to-date

- Eat well

- Sleep

These do's can be really helpful not only to your final result, but to your mental wellbeing during assessments.

It's absolutely crucial that you structure your time, by using a monthly calendar, so you can factor in your work schedule, university schedule, allocate time for study and highlight the deadlines. This will ultimately show you how much time you have between the current date and the deadlines. You will also be able to visualise everything that needs to be done, and therefore prioritise your time. It's always good to work backwards, so allocate time for your assessments once you've noted their due dates on the calendar.

Always start early, as it allows you plenty of time to complete the required research, plan your assessment, write a few drafts and leave enough time to edit and proofread before your final submission. Starting early not only alleviates unnecessary stress, it allows you the most time to maximise your marks.

It's also really important that you read and understand the assessment requirements and instructions, there is a really simple reason for this, often there are a small portion of marks allocated to adhering to instructions, and they are really easy marks to get. So, always look out for style requirements, word count, referencing requirements, the accepted amount of research required and submission instructions. In regards to understanding the assessment requirements, make sure you've checked the assessment criteria and marking rubric if one has been provided.

In order to well in any assessment, it is usually suggested that you have all your subject notes up-to-date, this is because most assessments build on the content that has been discussed in class. Therefore, having a clear understanding of your coursework up to that point in semester will assist you in understanding the assessment task you are to complete.

Eating well and getting enough sleep is also crucial during assessment periods. Your body might be a little off balance with additional variables being thrown into the mix, therefore healthy, clean eating can help maximise your productivity and energy levels, whilst ensuring enough sleep (9 hours) will allow your brain to rest and recover in-between busy days. Ensuring you get enough sleep is very achievable especially when you have planned your time and started the assessments early.


- Procrastinate

- Cram

- Stop sleeping

These don'ts, ultimately fall in the same basket. Procrastinating leads to cramming, and that will ultimately prevent you from sleeping.

Procrastinating is one of the worst ways to waste your time, leading to anxiety and additional stress your body can do without during assessment periods. The best way to avoid procrastinating is to limit your study to an hour at any one time, and then allow yourself to get some space, however during that study hour, you need to challenge yourself to how much can be done, so that your break is rewarding.

If you procrastinate too much, or start your assessments at the last minute, you'll end up cramming, and that's probably the worst thing you can do in regards to marks for that subject and your wellbeing. Cramming ultimately prevents you from completing the assessment to a high, or even acceptable standard, as you won't have had time to proofread or edit, you may not have conducted the required amount of research, and it will appear sloppy overall. This leads to bad marks and additional stress down the track. Cramming also places your body under immense pressure, as you will probably forego sleep, and in doing so, your body and mind will not rest and recover like it needs to, leaving you fatigued, anxious and stressed.

Then comes the biggest don't of all - do not, stop sleeping in order to finish assessments. Sleep is your body's restart button, it's your body's recovery method and absolutely crucial for daily function. During assessment periods, all the other commitments don't necessarily end or get put on hold, you still need to go to class, stay up-to-date with coursework, you might need to maintain your work (employment) and complete other assessments, so you don't have the option to be fatigued, which will inevitably lead to low productivity.

If you attempt to implement as many of the do's from above into your study routine, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much better you can manage during an assessment period, and hopefully you will avoid having to resort to the don'ts.

I hope you have found this blog helpful, feel free to provide feedback, share or comment below.

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