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Medicine student practicing ophthalmology skills in clinical skills at Castle Hill Hospital

Assessment and feedback

Our assessments and ongoing feedback ensure that you develop the skills needed to practise medicine safely and confidently.


Providing a supportive environment in which you can succeed

We are committed to supporting you to achieve your potential, providing many opportunities for you to receive constructive feedback and monitor your progress.

Assessment is a much broader process than just examinations; there are many different types of assessment, including assessment by tutors at the university and on placement, by your peers and self-assessment. 

How will you be assessed?

We use both formative and summative assessments throughout the programme.

Formative assessments

Formative assessments are intended to provide feedback on how you are progressing. Their purpose is to help you and your tutors identify your strengths, so that you can build on them, and your weaknesses, so that you can improve in those areas.

Formative assessments include written assignments and online tests, exams or practical assessments. They don’t count towards your final qualification but are designed to provide you with feedback to inform your learning.

They also help to ensure you are familiar with the format of specific assessments, which you will sit summatively throughout the course.

Summative assessments

Summative assessments are used to measure progress and to determine whether you have achieved the level of attainment required to progress through the programme, and to graduate as a doctor.

Vassili Crispi


Throughout the curriculum, you are supported to achieve your full potential. One-to-one meetings with tutors and supervisors will help you improve your academic skills and prepare you for exams, and there are numerous opportunities to receive feedback on your development. You will also validate your knowledge and skills with every patient you encounter; every day is a new challenge, and every challenge is a new learning experience!
Year 5

Vassili Crispi

Types of assessments

We use a variety of assessment types. You may be familiar with many of these already such as written assignments, online tests, presentations and examinations.

However, you may encounter types of assessment you may not be familiar with, such as anatomy ‘spotter’ exams, clinical exams and our online portfolio.

Anatomy ‘spotter’ exam

Students rotate around ‘stations’, with each station comprising one or more anatomical (cadaveric) specimens with tagged, flagged or otherwise labelled anatomical structures.

Students are required to answer questions relating to the labelled structures. Each question will typically test either the identification, anatomical relationships or function/dysfunction (functional morphology and clinical applications) of a single labelled anatomical structure.

Clinical exam

Clinical exams are arranged in a circuit of 'stations', in which you will be required to perform a task which is assessed, usually by direct observation by an impartial examiner.

The stations are designed to assess your level of competence across a range of clinical competencies.

In the earlier years of the course, these stations are shorter and include assessment of communication skills, physical examination and practical procedures.

In later years, you will be expected to consult with real or simulated patients to form a conclusion about their problems and, in Year 5, develop appropriate management plans.

Online portfolio

As you progress through the course you will develop your medical knowledge, and clinical skills. However, it is also important that you are able to understand what is going well, what is not going well, what could you do differently next time, and what study or practical activities can help you reach your goal.

The online portfolio will enable you and us to document your growth throughout the programme, helping you to develop key life-long learning skills. It also provides you with regular opportunities to provide feedback to us to inform continuous programme development.

National Assessment

Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA)

In collaboration with the General Medical Council, Medical schools across the UK are introducing a national assessment – the Medical Licensing Assessment – which will test the core knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to practise safely in the UK.

UK medical students graduating in the academic year 2024-25 onwards will need to pass the MLA before you can join the medical register.

The MLA is a two-part assessment made up of an Applied Knowledge Test in the form of an on-screen exam, and a Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment which is a practical assessment of your clinical skills and professionalism.

The MLA will be embedded within UK medical schools’ finals exams. It will be led and delivered by UK medical schools and regulated by the General Medical Council.

The MLA provides assurance that anyone who obtains a UK medical degree has shown that they can meet a common and consistent threshold for safe practice before they are licensed to work in the UK.

For more information please visit the General Medical Council website.