University of Sussex Business School

Doing well in assessments and understanding your feedback

As a University of Sussex Business School student, there are many types of assessment (exams and coursework) you will complete to develop your skills and show your knowledge and understanding of what you have learned.


Coursework is an important part of your assessment at all levels. This will include essays and practical reports, but other forms of assessment will be also be included too - these will be written to be suitable for your course and the skills that you are being expected to develop. See the Examination and Assessment Handbook for further information.

Word limits

When writing your coursework, please pay attention to the maximum word limits that have been set for the assignment, as shown in your assessment deadlines timetable in Sussex Direct. This is particularly important for relatively short pieces of work where one of the skills is to write clearly but briefly.

If you use more words than the word limit and the marker feels that you have gained a clear and unfair advantage, you will lose marks for your work. This means that your work should not be longer than the word limit if you want to avoid a penalty.

The maximum word limit includes quotations, footnotes and endnotes, but does not include the abstract, bibliography, appendices, maps, images, transcriptions of linguistic data, or tables of numerical data.

Submitting your coursework

It is important that you know where, when and how your coursework must be submitted, in order to avoid late penalties. Most of your modules are Business School modules and written coursework for these modules will be submitted either online or by handing in printed copies of your work to the School office. (If you are taking any modules run by another School - elective modules, for example - then you must follow the submission istructions provided by that School.)

Make sure you check your assessment deadlines timetable in Sussex Direct (Timetable > Assessment Deadlines & Exam Timetable) regularly for up-to-date information about the coursework assessment modes (for example, essay, presentation, group written submission) for each of your modules, submissions deadlines and whether your work should be submitted online.

If there is any information in your assessment deadlines timetable that you think is wrong, please contact the module convenor or the Course Administration team.

A laptop on a desk, next to a pen, notepad and cup of coffee

Online submissions 

Most coursework assessments for Business School modules should be submitted online but there are some exceptions so do check Sussex Direct to make sure you submit your work correctly and on time.

Find out how to submit your work online and view feedback

Read frequently asked questions about the University's online submissions policy and regulations

Before submitting your work, please read the following advice very carefully:

  • Include your candidate number on every page, preferably in the header or footer.
  • Do not write your name anywhere in your work.
  • Submit your work as early as possible to avoid losing marks for being late. The system may be slow at peak times as lots of students try to upload work just before the deadline. For example, if you start uploading your work at 3.59pm on deadline day but the file isn't fully uploaded until 4.01pm, your submission will be recorded as late and receive a penalty.
  • Make sure your work is complete before you submit it.
  • If you submit your work before the submission deadline shown in Sussex Direct, you CANNOT submit a replacement after the deadline has passed.
  • If you submit your work after the submission deadline shown in Sussex Direct, you will not be able to submit a replacement version so make sure you submit the correct version!
  • If the Student Support Unit has granted you permission to submit work up to seven days late without penalty (as part of a reasonable adjustment), the same rules apply: you can submit work once after the deadline shown in Sussex Direct has passed but only if you do not submit work before the deadline. If you submit work before the deadline, you will not be able to replace this with an updated version after the deadline has passed.
  • Include your word count in the header of your document.
  • If you have either dyslexia or dyspraxia, a symbol will appear next to your candidate number when you submit your work. If you have been given a digital yellow sticker, please add this to the first page of your work.

Contact IT Services if network problems prevent you from uploading your work. Occasionally, there can be technical issues with the University network, which may cause problems when you try to submit your work online. If this happens, contact IT Services immediately to report the issue. If there is a University-wide network problem, the University will investigate and decide if any action is to be taken.

A person using a pen to write something, next to an open laptop

Submitting coursework to the School office

For some coursework assessments, you will be expected to submit printed versions of your work to the School office.

Please note we will not accept printed submissions for assessments that should be submitted online so you should always check Sussex Direct to make sure you submit your work correctly and on time.

Before submitting your work, please read the following advice very carefully to avoid any unnecessary delays or confusion:

  • You must have two stapled copies of your work or it will not be accepted.
  • Avoid queues and technical problems in campus computer rooms by printing your work at home if possible.
  • Attach a completed cover sheet to both copies of your work and make sure all of the information is correct.
  • Include your candidate number on every page, preferably in the header or footer.
  • Do not write your name anywhere in your work.
  • Submit your work as early as possible to avoid losing marks for being late. The office doors will be locked at 4pm on deadline day so it is important to make sure that you are ready to submit and arrive well before 4pm.
  • Make sure your work is complete before you submit it.
  • Replacement versions of your work should be clearly marked REPLACEMENT on the front page of both copies. You cannot submit replacement copies after the deadline has passed.
  • Bring your student ID card with you to speed up the submission process.
  • If you are submitting work on behalf of somebody else or as part of a group, you will need to bring the student ID cards (or photos of the cards) for everybody you are submitting work for.
  • If you have either dyslexia or dyspraxia and you have been given a yellow sticker, please add this to the first page of both copies of your work.

Any data disks should be attached to the work using an envelope or wallet. When you submit your work, the time and date is recorded automatically on our systems and shown on your assessment deadlines timetable on Sussex Direct.

A calendar app open on a tablet

Late submissions policy

Late submissions are not allowed for group written submissions. This means that the School office will not accept any group written submissions after the submission deadline and your group will get a mark of zero for your work.

Any coursework assignment that you are not allowed to submit after the deadline is indicated on your assessment deadlines timetable in Sussex Direct with [+0]. For other coursework assignments, late submission penalties are:

  • up to 24 hours late: five marks will be deducted from your mark for the assignment
  • after 24 hours and up to seven days (one week): ten marks will be deducted from your mark for the assignment
  • after seven days: you will get a mark of zero for the assignment.

If you have a genuine problem getting your work completed on time, you should talk to a Student Advisor. You can make an exceptional circumstances claim if sudden, unforeseen and temporary conditions or events stop you from submitting your work on time. If your claim is accepted and considered valid, any penalties for late submission may be changed or removed.

Further information is available from the Student Life Centre.

Please note that all marks are provisional until they are ratified by an exam board.

Getting your work back and seeing your feedback

Your marks and feedback from the marker will be published on Sussex Direct within 15 working days of the submission deadline. To see the marked copy of any printed submissions, please speak to the front desk team in the School office and a member of the team will find the work for you and let you know when it is ready to be collected.

Empty desks in an examination venue


Check your exam timetable in Sussex Direct (Timetable > Assessment Deadlines & Exam Timetable) regularly for up-to-date information about exam dates, times and locations. Please note that exams may be scheduled during evenings and on Saturdays and public holidays.

There are three exam periods throughout the year, as follows:

  • Mid-year assessment period (A1): January
  • Year-end assessment period (A2): May-June
  • Summer vacation assessment period (A3): August-September

See exam period dates for the next two years

If you have exams or coursework due in these assessment periods, you will be expected to attend your exams and submit work at the times shown on your assessment timetable in Sussex Direct. Please check these dates before you make any travel, holiday or other personal arrangements because you will automatically get a mark of zero for any exams that you miss.

Resits (including second resits) take place in the summer vacation assessment period (January- June) and, in most circumstances*, they cannot be rescheduled to the mid-year or year-end assessment periods.

Exams (including resits) for 2020-21 these are currently online with no in-person assessments, until further notice. .

Exceptional circumstancesYou may be able to make an exceptional circumstances claim if something affects your performance in an exam or other assessment. You might make an exceptional circumstances claim if you experience something sudden, temporary and unforeseen, which has an impact on your assessment.

What you can claim for: You can normally make a claim if, for example:

  • you become ill and this affects your assessment
  • you experience bereavement from the loss of a relative or partner
  • you have a scheduled medical operation that conflicts with an assessment
  • someone else’s circumstances affect your assessment, such as caring for a relative who has been discharged from hospital.

And, as a result, you are unable to:

  • submit an assessment on time
  • submit a piece of work by the late submission deadline (if there is one)
  • attend an assessment, such as an exam
  • complete your assessment to the best of your ability due to impairment.

 More information on Exceptional Circumstances and how to claim these can be found here

Two people looking at a tablet

Marking, results and resits

Your marks will be published on the Module Results page in Sussex Direct. The Module Progress page will also show feedback from the marker and more information about your work. When you graduate, you will get an official transcript (a printed record) of your course and module results - if you need another copy of your transcript, please email

To make sure that all marks are fair, the University has a robust marking and moderation process. After every coursework submission or exam script on a module has been marked, a representative sample of the marked work is then checked by an internal moderator (another academic within the School) and an external examiner from a different university. This process is designed to make sure that marks are awarded fairly, accurately and meet the relevant assessment marking criteria (see below). 

Exam boards meet after every assessment period to review and confirm your marks. This means that the marks you see on Sussex Direct are not official until they have been confirmed by the exam boards.

How your work is marked

Following student feedback we have revised and standardised our assessment criteria, marking and feedback. We will apply the new generic criteria from the start of the academic year 2020-21.

Therefore it is important to understand the new assessment criteria and how to apply it to your work in order to achieve the best results.

University of Sussex Business School Generic Assessment Criteria 2020 [PDF 53.20KB]

Levels of assessment criteria 4 to 7

Applying the criteria to your work

The Business School assessment criteria consists of six descriptors:

  • knowledge and understanding,
  • application,
  • critical thinking,
  • reading and research,
  • presentation and style, and
  • teamwork.

These descriptors are devised to indicate the strengths and weaknesses of your work. In each year of your degree, you are expected to enhance your skills within the descriptors and show improvement in your academic skills. The assessment you receive from the descriptor rubric will be your general feedback. Watch this short animation created by our Student Connectors explaining the descriptors:


The assessment criteria is visible for all students throughout the year and it can be used as a tool to guide you towards academic success. You can ask your tutors and module convenors questions about the assessment criteria. You are also encouraged to consult with your academic success advisors on ways you can use the assessment criteria to help your studies. Visit the academic success advisors page on Canvas.

Applying feedback to your work

In addition to general feedback, you will also receive individual feedback on your work. This means that you should expect personalised comments  which point out areas of strength and weakness. This individual feedback aims to help you understand your mark more clearly. Personalized comments should help motivate you by explaining where your work is strongest, but also help you improve areas that are weaker. You are encouraged to discuss your personal feedback with your tutor or academic success advisor.


Two students in conversation, in front of a computer

Appealing against your marks

The academic judgement of examiners is not subject to appeal, so it is not possible for your work to be re-marked. We do understand, however, that there may be times where you get a disappointing mark that you do not agree with or you feel is not a fair and accurate reflection of the quality of your work. If this happens, the best thing to do is to learn from the experience and work out how to avoid the same thing happening again. You can do this in the following ways:

1. Read the feedback carefully. If you don’t understand it, visit the module convenor during their student consultation times to ask them to explain it.

2. Discuss your academic progress with your Academic Advisor and/or one of the Student Mentors. They are here to help you overcome any academic problems you face.

3. Make use of the University’s support services. The Skills Hub website contains lots of helpful information and advice on study skills, exam and coursework preparation and techniques, and allows you to sign up for skills workshops.


If you fail a module, you will be offered a resit - this is another opportunity to pass the module. Please note that the assessment mode (i.e. the type of assessment you need to complete) for the resit may not be the same as the original assessment for the module. For example, you may need to take an exam instead of writing an essay, even if the original assessment that you failed was an essay.

Read the University's guidance about resits and other assessment-related information