How to make the most of your feedback

By Klaudia (Student Blogger: BBA Hons International Business Management)

Feedback is common in all aspects of our life, and coursework for us, students, is the most frequent way we receive it. However, how to benefit from it?

The feedback we receive at university may be very diverse – it may be only a mark, or it could be extensive comment. Often we might not pay a lot of attention to it after we see that we have either done well or badly on our piece of work. It is, however, important to take some time and try to analyse any precious comments that it may contain, in order to learn from our mistakes and improve in all of our assignments.

Just looking at the grade won’t bring any improvement. Look carefully at the comments and analyse them. Never throw the feedback away!  Look back at your comments before doing your next assignment, in order to avoid making the same mistakes. Remember to focus not only on the negative comments. It won’t be productive and won’t help you to move forward academically. As feedback may be disappointing sometimes, give yourself a few days to get over your emotions and come back to it after some time.

If you would like to talk about feedback with somebody, do not be afraid to ask for help. Your first option should be to see the tutor concerned; you could also speak to your Academic Tutor or make an appointment at the Academic Writing Zone and talk to a mentor about it. If a tutor highlights an area for improvement, take it seriously – this comment may be warning you of, for example, potential plagiarism, if you do not cite the necessary references in your work. Lack of referencing can be a very serious mistake with bad consequences.

However, most importantly, recognise what you did well in the assignment. It’s easy to focus on the negative things, but it is also useful to know what you did right so that you can do it again next time.

When you receive feedback, it is important that you take the time to analyse what has been said. Sometimes feedback may relate to your academic knowledge within the particular subject that you are studying, or it could relate to your learning development or study skills in general.

Once you understand whether your feedback relates to improving your academic knowledge or learning development skills you can seek out the right support. For example, if you are struggling with the academic content you may have to speak to your lecturer/tutor to help you expand your reading materials around it. Keep in mind that many tutors refer to the grading criteria when leaving feedback, and through the language they use in your comments, it may be easy to identify why you have been awarded a mark when comparing your feedback to the grading criteria. This should enable you to easily identify areas where you can improve upon in your coursework in the future.

Summing up, feedback is an important part of every assignment. Markers aim to deliver precious tips on how to improve your work and how to succeed in the future – so make sure you make the most of it!