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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.

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. If your module has an exam, you won’t normally have an EMA as well.
  • Your exam date will be fixed.
  • Exams will normally take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location. If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description.
  • If your personal circumstances or disability are likely to have an impact on your ability to take your exam remotely, we may be able to put alternative arrangements in place or make reasonable adjustments. This would need to be discussed with your Student Support Team.


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.


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