Assessment and exams explained

All On-demand Learning courses that carry credits are assessed in some way.

Courses that do not carry credits are not formally assessed. But they may include assignments and quizzes to help you check your progress and understanding.

Types of assessment


Ongoing assessment throughout your course to help you and your tutor monitor your progress. Formative assessments do not count towards your final mark. Most of our courses feature some element of formative assessment.


Assessments that take place at the end of units or at the end of your course to evaluate your understanding of the materials you’ve studied. Summative assessments contribute to the final mark you receive for your course.

Assessment methods we use

Formative and summative assessments can be carried out in many ways, including:

  • essays
  • quizzes
  • online tests
  • group work
  • projects
  • poster creation
  • presentations
  • your contribution to online discussions
  • final exams.

Check the assessment section of any of our online short course or degree pages to see which methods the course or degree uses.


Some courses may involve formal exams that you have to attend in person at the end of your studies. This is more common in Engineering and some of our Law courses.

Where this is the case, we will always make this clear to you on the course page.

You can attend exams:

  • On campus at the University of Aberdeen.
  • At your local British Council Office if you’re overseas.
  • At another university or exam centre that is closer to you.

We can help you find a convenient location to sit your exam, wherever you are in the world. You then make the arrangements and book the exam yourself.

Our staff will contact you 6-8 weeks prior to the exam to ask where you want to sit your exam, so we recommend exploring your options well before then.