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How will I be assessed?

How will I be assessed?

Assignments give you the opportunity to showcase what you’ve learned and build a foundation to improve on.

Explore the different types of assignment we use at the OU in the sections below.

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Assessment types

When your module starts, you’ll have access to its unique assessment guide, which will detail what you need to do on each assignment.

Rest assured, you’ll also have a module tutor to help you with your studies. So if you’ve got a question about an assignment, they’re there to give you a hand.

There will be different types of assessment throughout your study. Here’s a quick run-down of the types you may come across:


Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs)

  • You’ll usually have a number of these throughout each module.
  • Each one can be an essay, a series of questions, a skills test, a speaking assessment or something else that allows you to show what you’ve learned.
  • They’ll each have a submission deadline.
  • When your tutor returns them, they’ll provide you with detailed feedback on where you can improve.


Interactive Computer-Marked Assignments (iCMAs)

  • Generally these will be available a couple of weeks before the deadline date.
  • They’re always completed online.
  • They’re normally marked by a computer, but may be marked by your tutor.


End-of-Module Assessments (EMAs)/End-of-Module Tutor-Marked Assignments (emTMAs)

  • These are the final, marked piece of work on some modules.
  • They may be similar to TMAs you’ve done on the module, but will usually be a longer piece of work.
  • They'll usually cover the whole module rather than a part of it.
  • Your EMA/emTMA deadline will always be fixed.
  • If your module has an EMA or emTMA, you won’t normally have an exam as well.



  • Exams are the final assessed task on some modules.
  • Your exam date will be fixed, and you will need to attend one of our allocated exam centres in the UK or Europe.
  • If you live outside the UK/EU you will need to talk to us about arranging an alternative exam centre elsewhere. You’ll need to do this shortly after you start your studies and may have to pay a fee.
  • If you can’t attend an exam centre due to your disability or other serious circumstances, we may be able to arrange an exam at your home or another location. There are strict criteria for approving these.
  • If your module has an exam, you won’t normally have an EMA as well.


Residential schools

  • Only a few modules have a residential school. Some residential schools will be compulsory – you’ll need to attend to pass the module. Others will be optional.
  • The module description will tell you whether or not it includes a residential school.
  • If you have any concerns about attending a residential school, we’d recommend you talk to us before your module starts.

*As a part of our response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all exams due to take place before 31 December 2022 will be delivered as remote exams. This means you will not be required to attend an exam centre but will instead take your exam remotely (e.g. at home).


Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments and having my scores reflecting that made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

It wasn’t easy, but when I handed a completed assignment in I felt such a sense of achievement and knew I was one step closer to my dream.

Gareth Hand, BA (Hons) Music