Marking sheets, questions and coping: What to do when the hard work is done

Every time I submit an assignment, I get the same feeling. The submission can be hours early, days even, and I’ll still wrestle with last-minute nerves. There’s a flurry of panic as I think about the effort, the painstaking detail, not to mention the mental and emotional energy that’s been invested into this single piece of work. Did I do it all justice? Did I miss anything? Talk about stressful.

After going through all this, it’s easy to want to move on to your next assessment and never look back. But you’re not finished, not really. We all understand the importance of feedback but we don’t always take the time to use this feedback effectively. Keep reading for my tips on what to do when the hard work is done.

Tip #1 – Take time to decode the marking sheet

It’s important to thoroughly review your marking sheet. Grab a cuppa and consider the criteria one at a time. How did you do? Did you understand the task properly? Are there obvious areas for improvement?

BONUS TIP – In future, review the marking sheet before you begin an assessment piece. Understand the task first, then start writing.


You should also review the comments section and any additional feedback on your submissions via email or in Moodle. Do you understand the feedback? If not, don’t hesitate to seek clarification.

Tip #2 – Ask questions when the marks don’t add up

Markers are people too. Occasionally you won’t agree with a particular mark or piece of feedback. Don’t be afraid to question it. I once recouped a bunch of marks by querying the Marker, resulting in a major improvement to my overall grade for the unit.


Contact your Marker or Unit Coordinator first. If you’re not happy with the response, visit the Review of Grade procedures at

Tip #3 – Sometimes you have to cope with a lower mark than you expected

It goes without saying, there will be times when the mark is fair but it’s not what you expected. It could be that you didn’t understand the task, didn’t put in the effort that was needed, or you simply struggled with the content. Either way, what’s done is done. This is what learning is about, sometimes you fail. Don’t let it break you. In times like this it’s important to stop and reflect on why you started this learning journey. I’m sure you know what comes next, you just have to pick yourself up and try harder.


Our Counselling team and Academic Learning Centre are here to help you get back on track and apply what you’ve learned to your next assessment. Don’t be afraid to reach out. If you lost marks over referencing, be sure to use these referencing guides in future.


Taking the extra time to understand what you did right, where you went wrong, or what you could have done better will help you to improve your next assessment. So get to it.

And remember, don’t give up!


Mae Swarbrick (

Mae Swarbrick is a current student, studying part-time in the Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Arts, and working full-time as Student Communications Officer. Mae's ongoing experience as a current student is invaluable in her role as leader of the Student Communications team. Combine this with practical experience in the call centre, Admissions and Student Communications teams, and she’s ready to share some first-rate uni hacks for new students. Follow Mae on #How2Uni.

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