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Re-Mark: Appealing Assignment and Exam Grades


Had an assignment or exam come back with a mark well below what you were expecting? If this has happened to you and you believe your work should have received a higher mark, there are avenues for appealing your grade.

Before you read any further, take a deep breath. Bad marks happen to everyone, and your life isn’t over, especially if the assessment is only worth a fraction of your overall mark.

Then read your assignment and the marker’s feedback and compare it with the assessment advice and marking criteria to determine whether you did everything the question asked for. If you’re not sure, discuss it with other students in your class, as they may be able to provide some helpful insight into how they approached the assessment.

If you’re still uncertain, now is the time to pick up the phone or zip off a polite and friendly email to the subject coordinator to see if they have time to go through your paper with you and explain what you may have missed or misunderstood.

If after this meeting you still believe that your work deserved a higher mark, now is the time to look up your university’s academic appeals process.

Universities usually have many, many levels of appeal and it might start with asking the unit coordinator for a simple re-grade. Papers are typically read a lot closer on a re-mark and can sometimes come back with a lower grade, so you need to believe that there is a significant difference between your existing grade and the one you think the paper warrants. If you are gunning for 59 out of 60 from an initial grade of 58, you probably need to take another breath and chill out.

Failing a satisfactory outcome, a faculty level review followed by a school level inspection could be the next steps; the process will depend on your university’s procedures. Getting a 'no' the first or second time around does not leave your review dead in the water.

You may be required to submit written reasoning for the higher levels of the grade review processes – this involves systematically demonstrating to a reviewer where the issue is. Remember to have someone go over this for spelling and grammar, and to catch any emotional wording; to be effective it needs to be detached and analytical.

If you’re thinking about appealing your grade, you need to know where your assignment deserves the extra marks and be open to feedback along the way. Sometimes you may have to accept that it wasn’t your best work and try to learn from it for next time.

But if all goes well and your appeal is successful, those extra marks certainly come in handy! Good luck!

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