By Leanne Goodall

It’s practically the longest wait in the world. You know the one where you refresh and refresh that computer screen. The one where you log on to Student Home 200 more times than when you’re actually studying and the one where every new email makes you hold your breath, just in case. It’s the wait to see what your TMA (tutor marked assignment) result is.

It’s silly really as we know that we’ll be notified shortly after the tutor has uploaded the results. We know that it takes a bit of time and we just have to wait and we know that in almost all circumstances the result will be with us in just 2 weeks but that feeling of waiting with baited breath or feeling completely impatient just doesn’t go away.

TMAs = time and energy

Why? That’s a pretty simple one really. We put so much time and energy into these TMAs that, regardless of what we say, we care a lot about the result! For the 2 weeks leading up to a TMA deadline I find that my whole world is encompassed by it. I’m focussed so hard on understanding the material, what the question is asking of me and how I’m going to approach it that I struggle to think of much else at all. I live and breathe those TMAs and once they’ve finally been submitted (and I’ve got over the shock) I want to know how I did. There’s always something else that I could have added. Something I could have written differently or another angle that I could have chosen. I never know if the choices I have made are the ‘right’ ones or if I’ve done a good job but I always know that I’ve put everything into it. This is why the wait is so hard. We need to know if putting our lives on hold has been worth our effort. We need to know if we made good choices and should build on those in future or indeed if we need to work differently next time.

I know there will be many students out there that can identify with the long TMA wait. We know our tutors have lives of their own but we just wish they would hurry up and mark our assignments first. I know there are bound to be students who have submitted and then checked for a result within the hour, ‘just in case’ (OK I may have done this once! In fact, I once checked immediately after a tutorial when I knew that my tutor had a four hour drive home. Well you never know, she may have pulled over especially to mark my assignment!). I’m also fairly sure that somewhere there must be students who have actually found out that their results were in VIA THE NOTIFICATION email – you know, the way you’re meant to find out as a pose to trying to get to it on Student Home BEFORE the email is sent to you.

We can celebrate or commiserate

Whatever the wait and however much agony we go through in the process, the result always comes in the end. Then we either like it or we don’t. We celebrate or commiserate and then guess what? The process starts all over again because you can be sure that you’re next TMA is now looming!

Leanne is half way through a BA (Hons) in History with the Open University and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her blog. Find out more here. You can catch up on all of Leanne’s excellent contributions on STOU here.

How do you deal with waiting for TMAs? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment below or a LIKE/TWEET/SHARE across our social media platforms.


The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.