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Assessment myth busting

Getting to grips with assessment at university can be confusing. Fran takes a look at some of the myths around assessment.
stack of colourful books
© University of York

As with most things in life, there are a number of myths that have grown up over the years about assessment and higher education. Here are some of the most common ones that are regularly repeated… along with the truth of the matter!

First year doesn’t count

  • False! It’s usual that your grades from first year won’t be used to calculate your final degree outcome. However you still need to pass the year to progress to your second year. Also, you can use each assessment as a learning opportunity to set you up for success in later years, so it’s worth putting in effort to perform as well as you can.

I only have to pass

  • False! In years 2 and 3 all your summative assignments are likely to be used to calculate your final degree classification. In addition to this, although year one allows you time to adjust to studying at university, any internships or work experience you apply for may ask to see your first year transcript.

I can’t ask anyone else for help

  • False! It’s correct that you can’t work together with a peer on an assessment, and your lecturers may have rules about how much of an assessment they can look at before submission. However, there is a lot of help available.

You can talk to your tutor or lecturer about the assessment and you can discuss the topic with other students (as long as what you submit is your own work). You can access support from your university’s library or study centre. For example, at York we provide guidance through the Writing Centre.

If you are worried about academic misconduct, such as plagiarism or collusion, take a look at the University of York’s Academic Integrity pages.

Any grade below 70 is basically a fail

  • False! Grading systems are different at universities compared to other qualifications such as T-levels, A-levels, BTECs or apprenticeships. Any mark above 70 is the highest possible grade and any mark above 60 is considered to be a ‘good’ degree.

Over to you

What other ‘tall tales’ about studying at university do you think there might be? If you are a student at university already, which ones have you seen debunked? Please share in the discussion.

© University of York
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