Assessment types

Depending on what you are studying, there may be a few different types of assessments you need to do to meet the learning outcomes for your course.

Here’s a quick overview of the most common assessment types you may be asked to do.


An essay is a piece of writing on a specific subject, topic or issue. Essays are made up of the following:

  • introduction – which states what you will be talking about, how you will talk about it, and what you will show in the essay
  • body – this is where you introduce your main points, explain them and give supporting evidence about each point and how it relates to your essay
  • conclusion – in your conclusion you need to restate the topic discussed (similar to the introduction, but rephrased) and summarise your main points, making the context of your argument clear. Where appropriate, you may also end with your recommendations. No new content is added in a conclusion.

Tip – Check out the Writing Skills section for tips on flow, linking words and paragraph structure.



This is where you need to present key ideas from a piece of work, such as research on a particular topic. This could mean creating a poster or slide presentation (such as PowerPoint).

Like an essay, a presentation will need:

  • an introduction – to introduce the topic and outline what you will cover
  • body – to introduce and explain your main points
  • a conclusion – to sum up your main points.

Unlike an essay, you only need to show key information.

Ways you can present information includes:

  • bullet points
  • quotes
  • pictures
  • charts
  • diagrams.



Quizzes could include a range of question types, such as:

  • multiple choice
  • short answer
  • fill in the blanks
  • extended response
  • essay style.

Make sure you read the questions carefully to make sure your responses cover the key points in each question.



A report is where you present your investigation and analysis of information or an issue, recommending actions and making proposals.

When writing a report, always keep the reader in mind. Be clear, concise and accurate, and use a recognisable structure.

Structuring a report

All reports have a similar structure and can include:

  • a title page
  • an executive summary
  • a contents page
  • an introduction
  • terms of reference
  • procedure
  • findings
  • conclusions
  • recommendations
  • references/bibliography
  • appendices.

Depending on the type of report you are writing some details may differ. For example, it may be a research report, building report, or laboratory report. So, be sure to check your assessment instructions and learning outcomes. If you’re still not sure check with your course leader.

The basic structure of a report (PDF, 297KB)


Other assessment types

Annotated bibliography

This is a list of resources (books, articles, documents), which includes a brief summary and evaluation of the resource.

Case study

These describe real situations and events over a given length of time. Case studies present detailed information about a person, group or situation. You may need to try to understand what has happened and why, or to analyse the situation to solve a problem.

Reflective writing

This is where you think and write about your learning experience. The aim is to help you focus on the insights you may have gained – for example, on a practicum.

Review/literature review or summary

A review focuses on the purpose of something, and whether the purpose has been achieved. They summarise and synthesise arguments and ideas, but don't add new ideas.


Need help?

If you need help with any assessments, contact your course leader or the Library and Learning Centre | Te Whare Pukapuka Wāhanga Whakapakari.

Remember – The trick to assessment writing is getting started!