Academic Feedback

Feedback is in essential part of effective learning, helping students understand the subject matter and improve their learning skills. 

Feedback on student work

Students receive feedback on all items of assessed coursework, and on selected items of non-assessed work. Feedback may be given in tutorials, problems classes or electronically (often on Moodle), and will vary between modules and lecturers over the duration of the course. Specifically, feedback can take the form of verbal or written comments, individual discussions, group discussions, marker’s answers, model answers or other solutions, and may be either personalised or in the form of general points that emerged from the class as a whole.

These comments are intended to help you see what was done well and where there is room for improvement, and for assessed work, the comments are also provided to help justify the grade awarded. Students are invited to contact or arrange to meet with their personal tutor or lecturers during office hours if there are particular mathematical ideas, problems, or assessments that they would like to discuss individually. 


You should give in your solutions to the assessed questions on the date requested: In the majority of cases, your work will be marked and returned to you approximately one week later. You will in some cases receive model solutions for the assessed questions, and some of them may be gone over in class. It is important to look at your marked work (when returned) to see what you got right, what wrong and to note any comments from the marker.

Model answers

Many mathematics modules have regular sets of exercises. These are designed to help students learn and, in most modules, it is essential that students do the exercises in order to understand the subject. Module lecturers are often asked to provide model answers to the exercise sheets. There is a similar demand for model answers to past exam papers. Lecturers do provide model or outline answers to some exercises and to some exam questions, but it is Departmental policy not to do so in general, for a number of reasons:

  • We do not want to encourage students to “learn answers” but rather to create a culture in which they know that they must work out the answer for themselves. Often it is not the answer, but the process of working it out that is the main learning experience.
  • We are trying to encourage independent thought and understanding, so that students can answer different questions, similar questions in different forms, and to solve related problems. Mathematical understanding comes much more from doing than from reading.
  • It is important for students to learn how to persevere with a problem when they are “stuck”. In the past, we have found that model answers handed out in one year are often passed on to students in a subsequent year, to the detriment of the learning process.

A common argument put forward by students is “Yes, we want to do the exercises, but we would like model answers in order to check that we have the right method and answer”. Of course it can sometimes be helpful to look at answers, but it is also important to learn how to verify answers when they are not otherwise available, and to gain the confidence to know when you are right. One function of tutorials is to discuss problems or work through them with the teacher, and this is one way in which answers may be obtained. Part of the skill of the teacher is to help the student to progress without “spoon feeding” the answer. Having said all of this, the Department recognises that while preparing for examinations in particular, it can be useful for students to have the final answers (rather than complete solutions) to past exam questions: this provides some confidence that the answers obtained while attempting past papers are correct. All teaching staff should provide such “final” answers routinely, for at least one recent exam paper, via their module Moodle pages.


There will be no midsessional exams this year. 

Seeking additional feedback

Students looking for further feedback can do so by reaching out in the following ways:

  • Contacting the lecturer or tutorial/problem class teacher for a specific module, either via email or during office hours
  • Talking to your personal tutor
  • Discussing course content with your fellow students

The majority of teaching staff hold regular office hours for academic support, feedback and discussion with students (typically listed on the individual course Moodle page). If students are unable to attend the scheduled office hour, they are advised to contact the staff member to arrange a suitable alternative meeting time. Similarly, members of staff who do not have scheduled office hours are able to meet with students by appointment. Contact details and office locations for all members of staff can be found here.