Assessment: Coursework, exams & feedback

An overview of assessment, including coursework, exams & feedback.


You will be assessed by a combination of coursework and exams.  The exact weighting between coursework and exam is listed on the course DRPS entry.  All marks are provisional until they are ratified by the relevant Board of Examiners.

The University of Edinburgh uses a Common Marking Scheme (CMS) for taught student assessment.  Students are marked against this marking scale.  You are not ranked against your peers.  The School of Informatics follows the University Common Marking Scheme.  The link below describes in more detail the level of performance corresponding to the different numeric and alphabetic grades in an Informatics context.

Common Marking Scheme

Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study

Assessed Coursework

Most courses in Informatics involve some form of assessed coursework which can include timed tests.  You will find the deadlines, weighting of each piece of coursework and associated extension rule on the course Learn Ultra page.

Deadlines are usually 12:00 noon but you must always check as individual pieces of coursework may differ. If you think you may miss a coursework deadline you may be able to make an extension request depending on the extension rule for that piece of coursework.

Late coursework and extension requests

Feedback on your progress

The aim of coursework is to help you learn about the subject you are studying.  All Informatics courses will provide you with feedback on your progress, in a variety of different ways. For example, this may be written comments on your work, a feedback sheet detailing performance in different areas, discussion in tutorials, or a special review lecture. You should always take careful note of feedback and make use of it in your studies. 

The University has prepared a range of materials on feedback, and how to use it to best effect, gathered on the Enhancing Feedback website. For information about how and when you will receive feedback in specific courses, see the individual course Learn Ultra pages.  If in doubt, ask your lecturer or tutor directly.

As a student you will usually receive marks and feedback on Informatics coursework within 21 days of submission. Arrangements may be different for particular pieces of work: for example if the work is substantial, such as an extended essay; or the class is very large.

We are committed to ensuring that you receive useful feedback.  Where feedback is falling short, you can use any channel to point this out (lecturers, ITO, year reps, Year Organisers, etc).  The sooner we know, the faster we can act.


Informatics examinations are generally in-person and on campus and last for 2 hours.  Additional time is possible with a Schedule of Adjustments as part of Disability and Learning Support

Examinations will take place in either the December or May examination diets.  For semester 1 courses exams are usually held in December; semester 2 courses are examined in May.  Some semester 1 courses have exams in semester 2.  The sortable course list has information on exam diets for all Informatics courses:

Sortable Course List 

The examination timetable for the December diet is released during semester 1 and the timetable for the May diet is released during semester 2.  The link below provides details on when the timetable will be available and a full searchable timetable will be published here.   It is essential that you plan to be in Edinburgh for the time of your exam(s). 

Link to Examination timetables

The University Exam Hall Regulations explain what to expect when you enter the exam room and what you can bring with you.

Exam hall Regulations 

Each Informatics exam has instructions on the front page. It's important that you read and follow these instructions.  For example some exams will ask you to answer all questions, others will ask you to answer 2 out of 3 questions.  The front page also includes rules on what can and cannot be used as part of the examination.  For some exams you cannot bring calculators, notes, books or other written or printed material into the exam hall.  Most exams will have one of the following rules and your Course Organiser will tell you which one in advance. 

  • This is a NOTES PERMITTED, CALCULATORS NOT PERMITTED examination. Candidates may consult up to THREE A4 pages (6 sides) of notes. CALCULATORS MAY NOT BE USED IN THIS EXAMINATION.
  • This is a NOTES PERMITTED, CALCULATORS PERMITTED examination. Candidates may consult up to THREE A4 pages (6 sides) of notes. CALCULATORS MAY BE USED IN THIS EXAMINATION.
  • This is a NOTES NOT PERMITTED, CALCULATORS NOT PERMITTED examination. Notes and other written or printed material MAY NOT BE CONSULTED during the examination. CALCULATORS MAY NOT BE USED IN THIS EXAMINATION.
  • This is a NOTES NOT PERMITTED, CALCULATORS PERMITTED examination. Notes and other written or printed material MAY NOT BE CONSULTED during the examination. CALCULATORS MAY BE USED IN THIS EXAMINATION.
  • This is an OPEN BOOK examination: books, notes and other written or printed material MAY BE CONSULTED during the examination. The use of electronic devices or electronic media is NOT PERMITTED.

Where it is specified that "candidates may consult up to THREE A4 pages (6 sides) of notes", in practice this means that:

  • Candidates are allowed to have 3 sheets (6 sides) of A4 paper, with whatever notes they desire, written or printed on one or both sides of the paper.
  • Magnifying devices to enlarge the contents of the sheets for viewing are not permitted.
  • No further notes, printed matter or books are allowed.
  • Candidates with learning profiles that mandate the provision of larger format exam papers are allowed a proportionate increase in the number of sheets of notes taken in. (For example, if a student is given their exam on A3 paper, they will be allowed to take 6 rather than 3 A4 sheets of notes into the exam.)


Some Informatics examinations allow you to use a scientific calculator.  Following the College Of Science and Engineering Policy and Procedure of the Use of Calculators in Examinations it must:

  • not be a graphical calculator
  • not be programmable
  • not have text retrieval capabilities
  • not be able to communicate with any other device

You are allowed any calculator that satisfies the above requirements.  Examples of acceptable calculators are:

  • Casio fx82 (any version)
  • Casio fx83 (any version)
  • Casio fx85 (any version)
  • Casio fx96 (any version)
  • Casio fx991 (any version)
  • Texas Instruments: TI30 (any version)
  • Sharp: EL-531 (any version)
  • HP: HP 10S+, HP 300S+

Please note: The School of Informatics does not provide calculators.  You are entirely responsible for the working order of your own calculators and batteries.  

Other schools within the University may have different policies on providing calculators; please make sure you check this before any exams. 

Past Exam Papers

For established courses, past papers are available from the library archive to assist with preparation.  Model answers are not available.

Past Exam Papers

Regulations and Guidance

Assessment is governed by the Taught Assessment Regulations

Taught Assessment Regs

The School's page on Academic Misconduct provides a description of good scholarly practice when completing assessed work.

Academic Misconduct and Good Scholarly Practice

The University's Assessment and Feedback Principles give guidance on how the School of Informatics organise assessment and feedback.

Assessment and Feedback Principles