Assessment Do’s and Don’ts!

Here are some top tips from students on preparing for assessments.  Let us know if you have more to add! 



Get enough sleep.  Yes, we know you’ve heard this before, but we can’t say it enough.     
Sleep is your best friend when it comes to performing well. 
(Read the Sleep Foundation’s Guide to Getting Sleep During Exams.)




Forget to eat and drink.  You brain needs energy as much as your body does.   
See what the BBC recommends for breakfast on the day of your assessment.



Ask your friends and classmates what they are working on and how they are preparing.  
You will probably feel reassured – or realise anything you may have missed.


Try to pretend you’re feeling ok if you’re not.  Talk to someone.  
A friend, a mentor, or JustAsk.  You are not alone.







Give yourself breaks.  You are better off clearing your head and planning your revision in manageable chunks of time than trying to keep going for hours and hours and hours… 


Put off taking your assessment.  It may seem tempting to give yourself more time but in reality you are just prolonging a stressful situation.   The resit period in August is a safety net if things go wrong the first time round.  Don’t rely on that as your one chance to progress.  


Familiarise yourself with the format of your assessments.  For in person exams you can look at past papers, and for a lot of online assessments you will have a practice test in the Assessment, Submission and Feedback area of your unit on Blackboard


Forget that there is more to life than assessments!  Not everyone has the same idea about what “success” means and getting good grades is only a tiny part of that picture. 


Assessment tips from someone who knows…

It’s Week 23 and you are probably either buried in revision or planning your summer break.  Student Comms Officer Roz caught up with Dom who is in his fourth and final year of a Masters in Mechanical Engineering to ask him how he’s feeling about coming to the end of his course, and what assessments have meant for him.

So Dom, you’re working on your final dissertation which for you is a group industrial project.  Is that right? 

Yes, we’re doing a design and build, and building a product is always notoriously tight for time for engineers.  But it is coming along nicely.

Do you find it easier to meet deadlines when working in a group? 

Working in a group always comes with its challenges. You lose efficiency when you’re working in a team because there’s so much more to coordinate and so much more ground to cover. It can be hard to get the ball rolling, but the more you practice the better they tend to go.  By the time you’re in fourth year, group projects are going a lot more smoothly than they were in first year and that’s kind of the point of having them in first year because it’s a skill you have to learn as an engineer. 

If you’re managing deadlines just for yourself, do you have any tricks up your sleeve or tactics you rely on? 

A technique I use is creating your own calendar and then filling in all the time that you can’t be working, assigning time that you can be, and then dividing up the workload. You end up with this big A3 wall calendar with all the time divvied up how you need it, which is useful when you have, for example, five quite substantial exams.  It really helps to make sure that nothing’s being neglected. 

What’s been the main challenge of online exams? 

The biggest issue is time management as it appears you are set five hours’ worth of questions to do in three, and it’s simply not possible.  You also don’t have access to the years and years’ worth of previous papers so you’ll be going into online exams with less resources to prepare from than in person. 

And how did your experience of in person exams compare to the online assessments? 

So in person you would have a lot more “prove this, show this, derive this” questions that you could only really answer if you’d rote learn that technique.  Obviously, being open book and online, that’s no longer a thing that can be asked because you can just look up the solution. So it’s shifted away from those rote learn questions and more towards things that you’d have to actively think about a bit more, which is good, the way it probably should be. 

Is there anything you know now that you wish you’d known as a first year and might have done differently? 

OK, so I would say problem sheets and past papers is definitely the way to go because it’s very easy to find that you understand the topic, you’ve gone through all the lecture content, you’ve read the notes, and you’re like, I’m happy with this and then can’t answer a single question on it!  That’s a very common thing that can happen. You understand all the theory, but to actually get an answer and apply it is an entirely different level that needs to be practised through the problem sheets and past papers.  

When it came to online assessments, did you ever use a Blackboard practice area? 

Yeah, absolutely.  You want to know what the setup of the paper is and what’s expected of you before you go in.  It was good to have access and be like, oh, I’ve got ten of these questions, four of these ones, six of those, and two of the big ones at the end.  

Are there any other resources that you’ve used, for example exam stress workshops

I don’t think so. I think the only thing over the four years that I had used might have been some general study skills workshops in first year, but nothing exam specific.  

Do you find you get stressed about exams or are you quite relaxed? 

Obviously they’re stressful for anyone, but I think I’m a lot more relaxed than most.  I find it’s important to remember that if you’re getting yourself stressed out about it, you’re only going to make it harder to actually remember things in the exam. If you can just take a breath and relax it’s only going to help.  So long as you’re preparing for a good time beforehand and you know your stuff sometimes it’s good just to take a break just before going in and make sure you’re calm and relaxed. 

And how do you personally relax if you need to step away from your work? 

It would be just do something that’s not uni related, get a drink, go do something else, just not think about engineering for a little bit.

I know you’ve had Alternative Exam Arrangements and I just wanted to ask whether it was easy to arrange additional support and were you well informed about how it was going to be set up? 

So I’m dyslexic and after the age of 18 you need your adult diagnostic assessment. You need to get your psychologist report and then arrange an appointment with Disability Services who are fantastic. They’re really, really helpful. They’ll explain everything to you very clearly. They take you through your report and what arrangements can be made within your particular school.   

This can be a huge variety of things, like what extra time would be appropriate for you, what working method would be appropriate for you, if you’re in person, would you still be allowed to use a PC to do your exam?  It can also be making sure you’re in low distraction exam rooms, or making sure the exam room is near bathroom facilities or a whole range of different things that they can run through with you and see what can be altered to make it more supportive for students that need that extra support. 

And lastly, how do you plan to celebrate when it’s all over? 

Oh blimey.  After four years – two years in person, two years online – it feels strange to be coming to the end. I genuinely don’t know and I’ve just been so busy with the project work and also trying to think ahead.  For a

 lot of people that’s applying for work, but for me I think it’s going to be looking for a PhD.  I haven’t really thought about it too much yet. I will probably get to the stage I’ll just need to crash out and do nothing for a while. A holiday would be well needed by that point, I suspect!  But equally it will be good to celebrate with friends after four very, very tough years of both the course and COVID. 

I hope a well deserved break is on the horizon. 

Definitely.  I think that’s what the plan will be – chill out!     


Don’t forget that you can access a range of study skills and support to help with your assesssments. Good luck!


Spring vacation ideas if you’re staying in Bristol

By Victoria, Student Champion for Student Communications

Coming at you again with ideas for what to do to enjoy the spring vacation in Bristol. You’re sure to catch me at more than one of these!

Cannonball Cabaret at Zed Alley on 1 April

Start your break at Zed Alley for a cabaret night at Zed Alley. Check out the line-up and get your tickets here for an unforgettable night featuring a diverse range of acts from humour to Drag acts.

Catch an ethical Circus Show 7 to 24 April

Look at all the available dates here and join the Revel Puck Circus for an animal-free, ringmaster free and clown-free circus experience. Expect comedy, jaw-dropping acts, and an all-ages inclusive experience in the art district of Bristol. This new circus explores and celebrates fear in ways you have never seen before, so prepare to be amazed! And equally amused!

Dreams of Small Gods at Circomedia on 7 and 8 April 2022.

Book your ticket here for one of the two showings (Thursday 7 or Friday 8 April) and catch this unique live performance. It explores the triple nature of being a woman, blinding aerial circus, performance and masked ritual while exploring how myths, fairy tales and ancient culture create our conception of womanhood and reality. A one-of-a-kind experience!

Reggaeton Boat Party at  Thekla on 8 April  

As a Latina, I must commend Bristol for having such a great reggaeton scenery. I enjoy these events to the max, whether it’s at iconic Intirave events, the throwback parties at the Lanes or the great boat parties at Thekla. Happening on Friday April 8, you can get your tickets for one of the best reggaeton parties in the country. Take my word for it, it’s bound to be a night full of fun and dancing. The upstairs area tends to have some nice Afrobeat tunes as well, if you ever need a break of the hardcore reggaeton vibes. Make sure you get these tix on time, as they tend to sell out pretty fast on the days coming up to the party.

Funderworld Theme Park from 8 April daily until 2 May  

Get tickets for this fun-filled theme park hosted in the Downs. It will be full of rollercoasters and rides, Game Stalls and a delicious selection of food and beverage at the event. Your wristband gives you access to 4 hours of unlimited rides, and you can stay for longer enjoying the food court and independent games afterwards. The Theme Park is open until 9 pm every day, but make sure to check opening times for your desired day. Have fun and be safe!

Immersive Van Gogh Experience – Opens 9 April

Secure your tickets here, and quick, this is a must-see attraction brought to Bristol until September. The Immersive Van Gogh Experience is one of the most iconic exhibitions in the world, giving you a 20,000 square foot light and sound show in 360 degrees. Get to know the artist like never before, his life, his inspirations, and stories behind his art pieces, all in the iconic Propyard.


Lakota On the House Rave – House and Techno on 16 April

Lakota is a Bristol staple, and this rave with Bristol-based house and techno talents is sure to be one for the books. It will be free entry before 11 pm, and only a fiver after that. Secure your ticket here.

Visit the Grayson Arts Gallery – Any Tuesday through Sunday

Have you been to the Bristol Museum yet? In the heart of campus, it is one of those things we tend to not take the time to explore, but I’m telling you, it is such a fun afternoon. Especially with the Grayson Arts Gallery show, which is open between 10 am and 5 pm every day except Mondays. Book your slot here and go spend a day seeing one of Grayson’s most heartfelt creations. This exhibition shows people’s different experiences and coping mechanisms during the pandemic and lockdown periods, through creative and artistic pieces spread across the three floors of the museum.

A Day in Spike Island – Wednesday to Sunday

Spike Island has been refurbished and reopens in full swing after the pandemic. Visit exhibitions and galleries between 12pm and 5pm, Wednesdays to Sundays. You can find a full programme of what’s on here and book your slot to visit. My personal favourites include Candice Ling’s Pigs and Poison and the Oba Nosferasta, both of which will be on until early May so make sure to catch them before they’re gone.





Comedy Cabaret every Saturday at Pryzm

Join talented comedians and stand-up UK legends at Pryzm literally any Saturday. Book tickets here and check which shows catch your eye. With three hilarious acts and a cozy cabaret-style seating arrangement, this is a great option to do something different on any given Saturday.


Thank you to Victoria for these brilliant ideas.  If anybody needs more practical help during the break please see our Spring vacation opening hours and services webpage.  Wishing you all a Happy Easter from the Student Comms team.


Student Volunteering Week 2022


What is Student Volunteering Week?

Running for its 21st year, Student Volunteering Week is a nationwide event bringing students together to celebrate the volunteering you’ve been taking part in, or to find out more about ways you can get involved.

For obvious reasons, this year has seen many people keen to support projects focused around sustainability, but there’s a whole range of opportunities out there and it would be difficult for someone not to find a programme linked to a social issue close to your heart.


Why should I be interested?

Being a volunteer is not about being a saint!  Talk to anyone who gives up their time for a cause that concerns them, and they will tell you it makes them feel good.  And if your physical or mental wellbeing isn’t in need of a boost, then what about your employability skills?

Volunteering often provides the chance to test your ability in areas where you may not have had much experience before, but that will be a real asset in your future career.   You often get thrown in at the deep end, but when you realise you can swim you will get a huge confidence boost – and who would say no to some Jedi powers?  You may also find out that topics you thought would interest you turn out to be not what you expected and, equally, discover subjects you feel passionate about but had never really considered before.

If you need more inspiration, please head to the Law School Student Employability Blog and read about Ayran who volunteered at the Law Clinic.  By providing clients with free legal advice he not only made a real difference to people who needed help but weren’t able to afford it, he also gained invaluable experience in advising clients, and resolving disputes.

How can I get involved?

Many people have considered volunteering but are not sure whether it’s for them, or even what they’d like to do.

A brilliant way to find out more about how you can get involved is to go to the Bristol SU Volunteering Fair.  This will be held on Wednesday 9 February from 4:30 – 6:30 in the Anson rooms and will be showcasing lots of local organisations.  You don’t need to be ready for a long term commitment – there will be options for just getting a taster too.

If you can’t make it to the Fair but would like to find out more about local projects then head to the SU’s Skills & Volunteering webpage,  check out what’s happening at Bristol Hub, or take a look at myopportunities run by the Careers Service.

British Heart Foundation have lots of volunteering opportunities available, and if you already know you are looking for an outdoor volunteering role, Step Together are looking for volunteers to assist with their allotment programme and would welcome anyone interested in helping vulnerable young people.


We hope that’s provided you with some food for thought, and wish you a very happy Student Volunteering Week!



‘Tis the Season to… Give back to your community

December in the UK is traditionally a time for extravagance – shopping for presents, spending money on outfits, eating and drinking out more than usual.  While this sort of indulgence is fun if you can afford it, the last eighteen months have taught us that there are big differences in people’s spending power, across the country, and even across our city, whether that’s the spaces we live in, what we can afford to eat, or the resources we have available to us.

Lockdown taught us how we can get by without all the little luxuries we like to treat ourselves to.  Yes, we do want to see toilet roll available on the supermarket shelves, but if we can’t get hold of our favourite ice cream, is that really the end of the world?

It also gave us the chance to reflect on how precious the contact we have with our friends and family is.  Taking time to engage with people can make you feel good, whether that’s just saying hello to the person at the checkout, smiling at a stranger, or remembering to send a text to a friend who is having a hard time.  There is even a study by researchers at Ohio State University which suggests that giving can be beneficial to your health!

So, if you would like to reach out to others, and feel good about making a difference to someone in need, here are three easy ways you can do something positive this December:

1. Donate to the food collection box in Senate House cafe

From now until Monday 20 December you can make a donation to the food box in Senate House café which will be collected by the Trussell Trust and distributed to those in need.  They would particularly like donations of soap, shampoo, shower gel, biscuits, chocolates, crisps, noodles, jam, sauces and fruit cordial.


2. Take part in community outreach sessions

The Careers Service runs community outreach sessions which not only provide opportunities to connect with members of your community, but also to learn new skills, discover your strengths, and have fun!  The sessions can also count towards the Bristol PLUS Award.

3. Fill a shoebox with goodies and help Bristol’s homeless

RAG have partnered with Help Bristol’s Homeless to collect shoeboxes filled with useful items which will be given to a homeless person.  Ideally you will make your box even more of a treat to open by wrapping it in giftwrap, and the preferred contents would include:

  • Warm hats, scarves, gloves
  • Toiletries, sanitary products
  • Supermarket or Greggs vouchers
  • Sweets, chocolates, snacks
  • Handwarmers and lighters

Boxes can be dropped off to RAG until 15 December – collection point will be posted on the RAG webpage.

Hopefully you will enjoy participating in any of these initiatives, but don’t forget there are opportunities to get involved with projects that make a positive impact in Bristol all year round through the Volunteering & Fundraising Network.

Give it a go and enjoy the benefits to your wellbeing and self-confidence!

Comfort Food – Competition Three

Thank you, once again, to everyone who shared their stories with us this week.  You sent us some  delicious-looking recipes, and even though we haven’t had time to try them all out yet, we have been really inspired by the mouthwatering pictures and descriptions.

Some of you will have seen our polls about Comfort Food on Instagram and Facebook and you probably won’t be surprised to hear that “Food from home” was a clear favourite. It tells us that we don’t need to be master chefs to create a meal that makes us feel warm inside. It’s more about being in a nice environment and sharing something familiar with people we care about, and we really hope everyone finds the opportunity to do that sometimes. We are very lucky in Bristol to have access to ingredients from around the world, whether in international supermarkets, the street food stalls in St Nick’s market, or one of the many restaurants found across the city. So, if you want to recreate flavours from home, or get adventurous with new ones, we are sure you will be able to find what you are looking for.

What did surprise us was that twice as many of you voted for savoury food as for sweet.  And what’s even more crazy is that we have chosen a sweet recipe as this week’s winner.  Why would we do such a thing?  It’s not even an actual meal!  Well, we loved the descriptions, the fact that absolutely anyone can try this out for themselves, and the clear passion behind the preparation of this hug in a mug.   Congratulations to Dana for this entry:

Hot Cocoa!

What better to warm a heart and some cold feet than hot chocolate on a winter day?? One of the main ingredients of chocolate as we all know is something that makes one’s mood brighter and happier aka, serotonin. It’s basically a fact that this is the best thing to have during winter.

I used to always buy this delicious hot chocolate powder from the supermarket until they unfortunately stopped selling it here. That was when I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own hot chocolate at home.

It’s a simple recipe; The first step is to get your choice of milk chocolate! Mine is The Swiss classic Lindt or Ritter Sport milk chocolate. Then, get a mug and fill it up mostly with milk and a little bit of cream (a quarter of the mug should be cream). Heat the mixture and when it is warm enough, put pieces of your chocolate in the milk and stir, after that add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavour and a splash of vanilla extract.

At the end, don’t forget to top off your warm drink with whipped cream and sprinkles or mini marshmallows! Enjoy a delicious homemade hot cocoa


Another contender for the title was Zuri’s Tortilla de patata.  This one will take a little more time to make, but it will provide you with “ultimate comfort” (and you do get to flip your tortilla like a pancake).  Please give it a try, and let us know how you get on!

My name is Zuriñe and my favourite comfort food is tortilla de patata! Though a simple Spanish recepie this recipe is a reminder of my family, my culture and overall my safe space. Yet, it is one of those carb filled, warm indulgent treats you can’t resist. Making it the ultimate comfort.

 The recipe is as follows:

  • 1) Peel and dice an onion.
  • 2) Heat a pan and add some olive oil and add the onions and some salt.
  • 3) while the onions sweat peel the potatoes, cut into quarter lengthwise, preferably into little pyramids!! And place them in the pan.
  • 5) Add in your cooking oil under all the potatoes are covered (it will take a lot but trust the process)
  • 6) turn the heat down, cover and let cook. This will take 25/30min for the potatoes to soften, but check regularly!
  • 7) Once the potatoes are cooked, measure out approximately 4 to 4 1/2 cups into a large bowl.

 Making the Tortilla!!

  • 1) Whisk the eggs and pour over the potatoes, fold together.
  • 2) Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat and add the oil. Once the pan is hot, add the potato and eggs.
  • 3) once the sides of the tortilla start to cook, give the pan a shake to prevent sticking!
  • 4) For the fun part! As soon as the edges of the tortilla start to brown, flip the tortilla over using a large, flat plate (Be very careful!!)
  • 5) Place the frying pan back onto the stove and drizzle with a bit more oil. Slide the tortilla, uncooked side down, back into the pan and tuck the sides underneath.
  • 6) Cook on medium heat for another 3 to 5 minutes. Use a large plate to flip the tortilla out of the pan. Allow the tortilla to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving

 Que aproveche!!💃🏼

Finally, another reminder of home, Yasmin’s vegetarian sausage casserole.  Easy and delicious – what more do you need?!

My favourite winter recipe is vegetarian sausage casserole, as it reminds me of a similar dish my mum used to make back at home. It’s good in the colder months as it warms you up, and it’s also very healthy, easy to make, and delicious.

This recipe makes about 3 or 4 portions (you can freeze some or share with flatmates)

Prepare: 1 chopped onion1 sliced courgette1 sliced pepper, and 6 chopped vegetarian sausages, (any veg that needs using up can also be added).

Fry them all in a big pan with oil until they are all cooked through.  Then add a tin of chopped tomatoes and stir in and let it simmer for a while.

Serve with a piece of bread and enjoy!


Competition Four – Staying Active

Next week will be our fourth and final competition for 2021.

At this time of year it can be harder to stay motivated and we are really interested to hear what’s keeping you going.  Maybe you’ve met new friends and tried new activities through B:Active?  Or perhaps you got involved with a Student Group?

Let us know what you are getting up to, and once again there will be the chance to win a £25 voucher.

Email your story, with images if possible please, to

The deadline is 11am on Friday 19 November.

Celebrate your Pet – Competition Two

We have a winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who shared pictures and stories of their fabulous pets. We genuinely fell in love with all of them… however there is one particular animal who really needs to be recognised, not just by us, but by the whole of Bristol.

Actually, forget that, by the whole country.

In fact, she should be a global celebrity!

I am talking about Twix the cat.

Now, you may be thinking, I don’t see it.  What makes Twix so special?  At first, we had the impression that this feline is more interested in what is going into her stomach than what is going on around her.  (Sounds like me working from home…)  But please read her story to find out what it was that eventually impressed us so much.

“My cat saved my life. Perhaps that sounds a bit extreme, but it is technically true. A few years ago, in a county far far away, my family were resting after a long day. Our slightly over fed cat, Twix, came bounding into the living room from the kitchen far more animated than she usually is, meowing at a pitch previously reserved only for dinner time. She seemed insistent that we needed to come with her at once, or something terrible would happen. Normally we interpret this ‘terrible event’ as a lack of dreamies, but after she returned to the kitchen and came back a few times, only increasing in volume after each trip, we decided to indulge her and give her a bit of food. My mum and I followed her into the kitchen, but instantly smelled something. Somehow, our washing machine had caught fire and was filling the house with smoke. Twix continued to meow as we called the fire brigade, who managed to prevent the fire from spreading past the kitchen, but it was a close one, too much longer without Twix telling us and we may have been trapped!” 

Oli.N., School of Mathematics

Another of our favourites is Bella, who shows just how sensitive and super intelligent animals can be – even though she is a lager drinker!

“This is Bella. Bella is a springer spaniel, and she came into my life when she was 6, she’s now 8. I have an anxiety disorder and get panic attacks quite often, when I do, she knows and lies on my chest to calm me down, she really helps me regulate my emotions. It’s hard not to have her here with me, but we facetime every day. She loves the beach, especially chasing seagulls, and she’s the only dog I know that begs for lager or has no concept of “fetch”.”

Jess G., School of Veterinary Sciences


And we just have to give a shout out to Skittle, Pye, Cleo, Twiglet, Sparkey and Ali. Yes, you read that right.  Six cats in this household!

“These are my beautiful cats! I want to celebrate them because pictures of them help get me through tough days (or a video call!). They bring me such joy and I hope these pictures will for others too! They’ve all got their own personalities and can be such menaces but that means no day is ever boring! One of them will only cuddle me on the toilet (weirdo I know) but I’ve actually trained him to give ‘paw’ like a dog (Skittle). The two cats in hats are always in places they shouldn’t be creating mischief (Pye and Cleo), the little screaming one is always terrorising his big brother (Twiglet), and the the sleepy one Sparkey) and big eyed one (Ali) are my cuddly babies (I live for kitty cuddles). So if you’re missing your pets like me I’d advise either video calls, joining the cat or dog society at Bristol or there’s cat cafés around to get your floof fix!”

Fiona R., Global Wildlife Health and Conservation

Finally, here is a picture of all the pets that are giving you the feel good factor! 😊

Remember, if you are missing cuddles with a pet (or even a human), or just want someone to talk to, you can contact Wellbeing Services and you will be connected to the right support or service.  And if you missed our Transition to university competition blog then check it out for lots of events and resources on keeping well with the change of season.

Competition three – Comfort food recipes

Next week we are asking you to share your favourite comfort food recipes.  For many people this time of year means they are looking for something warming and filling.  But it could be a meal that reminds you of a special person, or brings back memories of a happy place.

Send your pics and stories to and you could win a £25 voucher!

The deadline is 11 am on Friday 12 November.

Welcome 2021

Huge congratulations on achieving your place at Bristol! 

We are really looking forward to you joining us, and hope that you are excited to start on your new adventure.  Not only are you joining a top ten UK university, but the city of Bristol also has so much to offer, and we want to help make sure your student experience is the best it can be. 

Of course you are coming here to study, but this is also a time to meet new people and try out new things.  This blog will be a great source of information, so keep checking back.  You’ll also be emailed our monthly student newsletter which will keep you updated about events on and off the campus, let you know what your colleagues are up to, and generally help you navigate your way around University life.   

We know that starting university is a big step and can be stressful, but we have great resources available to help you settle in or provide any support you need.  You can read more about Student Wellbeing here. 

If you’re worried about COVID-19, we’ve also got you covered, read more about how we plan to keep you safe on campus 

Finally, we would love to hear from you about how you are getting on so please keep in touch.  You can find us on Instagram @universityofbristol, Facebook @bristoluniversity and Twitter @BristolUni.  Or simply email us directly: 

See you very soon!