An organised desk

TCA preparation and advice

Time Constrained Assessments are on of the current replacements for in-person exams that can be completed from the safety of your own home, and with the build up to exam season and TCAs lingering, I wanted to share with you some tips I found helpful from last year!


In the build up to your TCA, have a watch of pre-recorded lectures and go through lecture and seminar notes.

You won’t be expected to know exact facts and figures, but it’s important to be familiar with topics that could come up. Remember you will have these resources available to you during the assessment, but you won’t have time to go through everything in the small amount of time you have!

Go through mock TCAs to get a feel for what it will be like. Practice both with and without timing and ask the module leader for good and bad examples of how to answer. If you feel uncertain about topics, there is no harm in asking lecturers for a revision session.

If you need library resources for help, the library have digital access available here. They have recorded webinars on essay and report writing as well as tutorials on avoiding plagiarism and referencing (which may be asked for you to do during a TCA).

If you’re required to Capture handwritten documents and notes with Microsoft Office Lens make sure to have the app ready to use and practice using the Microsoft Office Lens app.

The Night Before

Double check on your timetable when your TCA is and set your alarm before you go to bed.

There’s no use trying to cram, so spend your evening relaxing doing something that you enjoy. Spend time watching TV, chilling with your friends/family, read a book, you name it! However, try not to stay up too late, give yourself plenty of sleep the night before.

On The Day

Prepare well in advance. It’s advisable to prepare yourself an hour before the start time in order to get in the right mindset.

It’s important that your workspace is tidy and organised. This should help with your mindset.

I also recommend having BlackBoard up throughout the whole assessment, and if allowed, your notes (either typed or written) nearby along with any other resources you’ll need readily accessible. If the module consists of case studies, equations, etc. have a list of them and the topics that they fall under in case they appear in a question..

Warn your housemates or family that you’re about to begin your TCA to avoid disruptions. Turn your phone off and put it away just before it begins to avoid distractions.

During The TCA

Spend the first 10-15 minutes planning. Some TCAs may require you to include your planning for extra marks so make sure to include it!

It’s advised to save your work every 20 minutes to avoid any technical problems. That way you’ve always got a backup.

Don’t submit at the last minute! Give yourself 15 minutes before the end to upload and send your document.

Despite how scary they seem, Time Constrained Assessments are there to show lecturers what you know and are not made to trick you! Personally, I find them a lot more pleasant than exams and find myself somehow learning more with them. If you have any questions about them, here’s some more advice on online assessments.

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