Assessments at Uni (GSD and Sociology) – OurWarwick

Assessments at Uni (GSD and Sociology)

Meredith Whiting | Global Sustainable Development and Sociology Contact Meredith

Hey everyone!

With this week coming to an end, my month of assignments and assessments has finally finished – which gives me time to write this post! It’s been a month of essays, exams, and dissertation prep which, while taking up time alongside my usual readings and lectures, has not left me much chance to do anything else. I’ve also been able to reflect a lot on my last three years of uni assignments and how confused I was when I first looked at everything that I’d be studying, so here is a quick guide to the sorts of assignments I’ve had to write while at uni! This isn’t module specific advice as I know assessments can change year on year, so just more of a generic overview. 


Essays, by far, are my most common type of assessment. Ranging from 1000-4000 words so far (not including my dissertation), they cover a wide range of topics. These include a list of questions set by the lecturer, to a chance to write my own question and answer it. Essays require full citations (referencing the author from which you are writing about/using ideas from), and are written in a more formal style of writing. We have both formative and summative essays. Formatives are essays, usually shorter than the final product, that are marked and used to give feedback. They do not (usually) count towards the mark in your module. Summative assignments, on the other hand, do count towards your module mark and are often the final form of assessment. Some modules can be assessed by 100% essay, or even as low as 20%. Essays can take the style of a report on a project, policy briefs, case studies, or discussing concepts and analysing work. Each module and department is different, however, so you will usually receive a brief that will give you more information and the lecturers are more than happy to answer questions about it!

Exams and essays have led to a lot of time sat in the Library this month – not necessarily the most fun at times but having friends around makes it a lot easier!


Exams have been another way that I’ve been assessed. Even with exams, the format has changed; from small multiple choice quizzes online and in person, through to exams like you would take in school. My exams, in GSD and Sociology, have been essay based which means that I will often be writing several pages in answer to a question, as opposed o lots of short answers. Usually organised in May/June, the central exam season holds most of the exams for modules whether or not they were first or second term. I had my first january exam this year but that is a rarity for anyone outside of Maths and Physics I believe! 

Presentations and Others

Finally, I have had, over the years, to do a variety of presentations. These have been both individual and group presentations from 5-15 minutes in length. Presenting has been an essential skill that I’ve developed since beng at Warwick, and is something that I can see as being extremely valuable outside of uni in the future. Other forms of assessment I’ve seen (but much less often than above) have been participation credits and campaign design (usually culminating in a presentation). Being actively engaged in assessments instead of just writing one essay per module is something I’ve valued as a part of GSD, as the variety has been a change and learning curve to say the least! 

And with that, I’ve covered most of what I’ve been assessed on in the last three years – and although it is not in depth I hope it gives you an idea of what studying GSD and Sociology might entail as assessments go. Coming from a school where exams were the only method of assessment that counted (as opposed to coursework in A-Levels), getting used to this was a change but has only had positive impacts on my learning experience! 

Meredith Whiting | Global Sustainable Development and Sociology Contact Meredith

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