The end of term has arrived, and it is time to take a break. As you begin the holidays there will be some thoughts about whether your work is as good as you hope.

Waiting for feedback can be a bit unsettling, particularly when you worked very hard to do good work, and  submit it by the deadline.
Sometimes you may worry about receiving feedback anticipating criticism or a bad result. Although wondering about the outcome is normal, it is unhelpful to focus on the negative aspects as it causes unnecessary distress. Instead, view feedback as information intended to help you improve your work so that you can learn and develop your skills. It is not personal.

Fear of failure can be an obstacle to seeking feedback, particularly if you are concerned about whether your work is as good as you hope.

Focus on the fact that you dedicated time to your assignments, and that your intention was to achieve a good standard. So, if there are any mistakes view these as part of the learning process.

It is normal when doing academic work to have doubts as we try to understand new information. In fact, this is part of the learning process. Feedback provides us with new perspectives and information that can answer our questions and increase our understanding.

It is an opportunity to reflect on our work and identify ways of making improvements. This process of revision enables us to increase our understanding. And through practice, we can develop our knowledge and skills to improve our academic performance.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10.000 ways that won’t work.” (Thomas Edison)

Strategies to make the most of feedback

Change the meaning of feedback: Instead of viewing it as negative criticism, view it as information that you can use to improve your work.

View the comments with an open mind and be curious about what you can learn.

Avoid comparisons: these tend to focus on the negatives and can increase self-doubt. Instead, focus on what you can apply to make progress with your work. When you notice that you are comparing your work with that of others, remember that you have a unique perspective and your ideas count. 

Take time: if you feel disappointed or frustrated as a result of receiving feedback stating that your work needs significant improvements. Or, if you received a result that is not as good as you hoped for, taking some time will help to manage reactions and gain perspective.

When receiving this type of news can make it difficult to focus on the benefits of the feedback. It is best to take a break from this to restore your balance. After a while, return to the feedback and focus on what steps you can take to make progress.

Take it in steps: It will be more manageable if you take small steps. Choose one aspect of the feedback and apply it to your work, and then focus on another one.

Seek advice: contact your Tutor to ask for more information about how to improve your work. You can also check the Study Advice guides and contact the service to arrange a brief meeting for guidance so you can develop your academic skills.

Acknowledge your efforts: It takes time to learn new material and develop new skills. It may be frustrating that despite your hard work your results may not be as good as you hoped. It requires patience and perseverance to develop skills. Give yourself credit for your efforts and acknowledge each small step forward.

Take a break: It is essential that, after a busy term, you take time to connect with others and to restore your energy.

If you have assignments due at the beginning of the Spring term, take a break first so that you can recharge your batteries, boost your motivation and capacity to focus.

Make sure you take enough time to participate in activities with others and have some fun during the holiday.

“Let me tell you the secret that has led to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”  (Louis Pasteur)

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” (John Quincy Adams)


Stone, D. & Sheen, S. Thanks for the feedback: The science and art of receiving feedback well. New York: Penguin.