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Session 1

Student Life 10 – Exams and assessments

Welcome to the last episode of our Student Life series – where we follow real distance learners at work, rest and play. Each student talks to us about how they deal with a particular aspect of distance learning. Let's meet the next student! Jason is here to tell us how he handles his exams and other distance learning assessments!

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Taking academic exams

Jason is a husband, part-time worker – and a distance learner. He's got a lot to say about that moment that comes at the end of most blocks of learning: the assessment!

Scroll down to watch the video and find out how Jason gets through his distance learning exams!

Assessment for distance learners

Student Life – Jason interview image

Jason's studying for a BA via distance learning – and it's exam time! Find out how he copes with assessments in this video.

To do

While you watch, listen for what Jason says about 1) the DIFFERENT FORMS distance learning assessment can take, 2) dealing with STRESS and 3) being well PREPARED for your exams. Write them down if you like and you can check your answers – in an activity – later on this page.

User tips

  • Turn on subtitles by clicking on the 'S' button in the video player.
  • Click on the 'expand' icon to view the video in full screen.

Watch the video

Show transcript Hide transcript

Petrol, farmyard, grassy, floral, herbaceous… there are some characteristics of certain wines that don't always sound that appealing, but when you put your nose in the glass you can actually "Ooh, yeah, I can kind of see that." I've always had a strong interest in wine because you're always learning about new wines, new, new areas that they come from. I work in wine retail and I've done that for the past 17 years. Wine can be quite a confusing or intimidating thing for some people, so I just like to, to try and break down the pretence a bit. I enjoy building up a relationship with customers.

On the days that I'm off work they are - my purely devoted to my study days. I chose distance learning because it obviously gave me the flexibility to work and study at the same time. I have an office in the garden where I can study so I'm completely separate from the house, so there's no distractions there.

The types of assessment I've had to do have varied from - I'd say mainly written assignments, but there have also been a few oral recordings to do along the way as well. I think the main benefit of doing a written assignment is to be able to consolidate what you've been learning over the past unit that that assignment's testing. You have to get over 40 per cent to pass. One assignment I was really worried about was a recent one where I, I doubted the knowledge that I had acquired through that unit. I thought I might just scrape a grade two, but I ended up getting a grade one, it was one of those – I got it back, I think "How did that happen?" you know.

The best tip for assignments really is to start as soon as possible, it really is and to be well prepared, you know, prepare yourself for doing it and allow yourself plenty of time. I've had a couple of exams over the course of the past few years. Exam stress for me has always been a problem: I always think I'm never going to remember anything, but once I'm in there, after 10 or 15 minutes I find my focus and generally get on with it. In terms of being prepared for exams, it's setting a realistic revision timetable in advance. My next assignment is my final assignment for the course I'm doing. Ideally I'd like to get a grade one but if I get a grade two - that's super.

Between sort of bouts of study, or at the end of the day, I try and go for a wee walk locally. I'm a bit of an amateur birdwatcher and I quite like going out to see what I can spot.

My wife was a distance learning student to start with, and seeing her achieve made me believe that "Yes, I can do this too." I've had her to support me along the way. I think support is really important when you're doing a distance learning course.

I've gained a real sense of achievement on my course and I'm really looking forward to the opportunities that it will give me in the future.

Go the distance.

Assessment: three things to think about

We asked you to identify what Jason said about DIFFERENT FORMS of assessment, dealing with STRESS and being well PREPARED for your exams. Did you get it all?

Assessment: three things to think about

3 Questions

Answer the questions to check what you've understood from Jason's video

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What we've learned

You've nearly reached the end of this unit. We hope that Jason's story has left you feeling more positive about your own exams! At the bottom of this page you can find links to more useful materials for distance learners!

But before we finish, let's review what we've learned about assessment in distance learning.

  • Assessments can take quite different forms. They might be written assignments or even oral recordings – so make sure you know what you're meant to do!
  • Even if you're worried about your exams, just do your best. You never know – you might get a top grade!
  • Start getting ready for your assessments well in advance – prepare yourself well and allow yourself plenty of time to revise what you've studied.
  • If you find exams stressful, try not to worry – take a deep breath, relax and soon you'll be able to get on with it.
  • Set yourself a realistic revision timetable – this will boost your chances of exam success!
  • Remember to take a break! Go for a walk or do some exercise to break up your study routine.

Find out more

Click on the 'Where next?' links for more information about exam preparation - and what to do on the big day.

Where next?

Academic Insights image link 10  Student Life index image link  GTD OU SL image link 10

Session Vocabulary

  • Find out more about distance learning – visit our partner,The OU