Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Being an OU student
Being an OU student

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

6 Assessment

There are three main reasons why your work is assessed:

  • To show you and your tutor how well you’ve developed the knowledge and skills taught in the module. It also helps your tutor see what support you might need.
  • To learn from your tutor’s feedback on your assignments in order to see what you’ve done well and what you might need to improve.
  • To demonstrate to the University that you’ve met the requirements of the module by completing all the compulsory assessment tasks and achieving a minimum mark to pass.

The following are the main types of assessment you may encounter at the OU. If your module website is open you can look in the ‘Assessment’ section to see what assessments you have.

TMAs (tutor-marked assignments)

Tutor-marked assignments are spread across the study time for your module. You will be given time in your study planner to prepare your TMA, and guidance to help you. Your allocated tutor will provide feedback and a mark for TMAs. Tutors use detailed marking guidelines to ensure consistency. Your tutor will return your marked TMA with feedback that will help you focus on areas to develop for future work.

iCMAs (interactive computer-marked assignments)

Modules may also use iCMAs as part of assessment. As with TMAs they are designed to help you learn. Many of them give you instant feedback, and if you haven’t answered the question correctly you may also be given the chance to try again.

If your module uses iCMAs you will be able to locate them in the Assessment section on your module website.

Exams, EMAs and emTMAs

At the end of each module you’ll undertake a final assessed task. This task will be one of the following:

  1. Exam
  2. EMA
  3. emTMA

There is lots of information and support available to you when preparing for your final assessed task through your tutor and the Student Support Team. Information on revision tips and techniques, through to the practical arrangements for exams can also be found on the Help Centre.


All exams are delivered as remote exams. This means that, rather than coming to an exam centre, you’ll undertake your exam remotely (e.g. at home). Further information about your remote exam will be published on your module website approximately six weeks before the submission cut-off date.

EMAs (end-of-module assessments)

An EMA is a larger assignment you do at the end of a module and is completed and submitted in a similar way to TMAs but brings together what you’ve learned across the module.

emTMAs (end-of-module TMAs)

An emTMA is an assignment that is marked by your tutor and will count towards your overall module score.

The Assessment Handbook

You’ll get more information about assessment requirements when you start your module, so you don’t need to worry too much about the detail now. The Assessment Handbook [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] covers all the rules and policies relevant to assessment at The Open University and is a really useful resource for all things assessment – you might want to bookmark a link to this.