Tutor in discussion with student

Feedback takes many forms. Not all feedback comes on a piece of paper with the word “Feedback” at the top – you will need to learn how to recognise different types of feedback and learn from them.

What is feedback?

  • An essay or problem sheet is returned to you with comments from the marker.
  • Your lecturer or tutor provides verbal feedback during practical classes or laboratory sessions.
  • Another student marks or comments on your work using set assessment criteria.
  • A lecturer works through the answers to a previous test with the whole class.
  • Your tutor gives verbal feedback during a one-to-one session.
  • A lecturer discusses common problems encountered by many students.

As you might have noticed, these different types of feedback fall into two broad categories: written and oral.

Written and oral feedback

Written feedback

Written feedback is the most obvious form of feedback you will receive, and it may come from a variety of sources.

To benefit from your feedback you should:

  • Find and collect your marked work as soon as possible – there could be valuable tips for your next piece of work.

  • Read any comments carefully – it’s not just about the mark you get. If there’s anything you don’t understand, make a note and ask the marker for more information.

  • Make sure you know what your mark means. You can find out more in the Understanding grades section.

  • Try not to be too disappointed if your grade was lower than you hoped. Reflect on your feedback and think about how you can do better next time.

Oral feedback

During teaching sessions tutors may give you oral feedback. On some modules you will have lots of contact hours and opportunities for discussion. Other modules may offer fewer teaching sessions and you will be expected to ask tutors if you feel you require additional feedback. There may also be times when fellow students are asked to give oral feedback on your work or group project.

Oral feedback can be just as important as written feedback. There are a few things you can do to get the most out of oral feedback opportunities:

  • Participate: while it may seem intimidating at first, asking questions in lectures or contributing in seminar sessions is a great way to get feedback on specific points.
  • Be proactive: make appointments to see your tutor and ask questions. Some tutors will ask you to do this, others will leave it up to you – either way they are a valuable source of feedback. 
  • Take notes: when you see an opportunity for oral feedback, don’t just listen and then forget it. Make notes and reflect on what you’ve heard – how can you use this feedback?
  • Use other people’s feedback: other students will also ask questions and contribute during seminars. The discussions they generate may also be useful to you – don’t switch off when someone else asks a question or if a peer comments constuctively on your work.