written assessments


Presentation is important!

All written assessments must be a size 11 arial font in black and double spaced. Resubmission changes must be in blue, and third attempts in red. Many assessments have templates in the learning centre students can download and use.

Students should ensure they use paragraphs and we recommend using pictures to help explain your answers. Some assessments it is mandatory to supply specific pictures of the student completing a task to pass (check the instructions).

All assessments must be submitted as a PDF unless it specifically states otherwise in the instructions. They also have to be under 2mb in size, so images might have to be compressed in order for the file size to shrink.


When you are attempting your written assessments, you will need to ensure that the questions are read very carefully.

Reading the question two to three times before answering can help you to ensure that you are addressing everything that the question is asking for. Many questions ask for more than one thing. Look for the key points and even highlight the various components you need to answer. This can help you structure your answer.

Remember, unless otherwise asked - explain something fully to avoid a resubmission from missing a point or not having enough detail. 

If you are ever unsure about what the question is asking you to do. Remember that you can contact student assist to ask for help.

When you are asked to LIST your answer you can just dot point the information.

We do not require you to write paragraphs of information for these types of answers. A short, straight to the point response is all that is required to address the question.

Sometimes you may just use a single sentence.


Please LIST three common types of dog breeds.

  • Golden Retriever
  • Kelpie
  • Pug

As many of the tasks that veterinary nurses do have multiple steps involved, you will often be asked to discuss or explain a process step by step.

Explaining or discussing a step isn't just about telling us what that step is, but why. It is best to explain this information as though you were teaching someone who is not familiar with veterinary nursing. This will help you to ensure that even the ‘obvious’ details are discussed.

For these questions, we are looking for you to write in a paragraph format for each step of the process. It's ok if some steps are a single sentence. Ideally you would number them out like this:

  1. This is the first step. You would write in your sentence that explains the step. Then you would explain why you are doing this step. This could be one, or many sentences.
  2. This shows us that you know the step, and that you know WHY we do it.
  3. Sometimes you may wish to include details on troubleshooting for complications for that step.

But you could also write it as a series of paragraphs, that also works.

For the first step you would write in your sentence that explains the step. Then you would explain why you are doing this step. This could be one, or many sentences. This shows us that you know the step, and that you know WHY we do it.

Sometimes you may wish to include details on troubleshooting for complications for that step.

When you are asked to discuss something, it means that we want you to write in paragraphs to show your thoughts or understanding of the topic required.

You would begin a discussion of how all animals have a nervous system that responds to stimuli in the environment and then reacts in an appropriate response in order to preserve life. You might then go on to discuss that in times of pain, the patient will react to these painful stimuli by displaying a variety of physiological and behavioural responses. Then continue on with evidence-based research for why pain management is necessary for animal welfare.

In some cases where more detail is needed, you will need to split your discussion into multiple paragraphs to help your presentation and grammar. The best way to break down your discussion is to select the different topics that you want to talk about and write a paragraph on each discussion point.

For example, your different paragraphs here might be on;

  • Discussion of the nervous system in a dog
  • Discussion of the different types of pain responses seen – Physiological and Behavioural
  • Your last paragraph might then be on why pain management is needed.

Paragraphs should be approximately 150 – 300 words long, any longer and it becomes a big block of writing that is harder to read. Don't forget sentences, punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Comparative Discussion

You might also be asked to write a comparative discussion. A comparative discussion is where we want you to discuss topic A and topic B in comparison to each other. This could include similarities or differences.

'Briefly Discuss'

When you are asked to briefly discuss something, we still want you to write in paragraphs, but we want you to just stick to the key points of the topic. Usually a ‘brief discussion’ is between 50 to 100 words long.

For example;

"Briefly discuss if a greyhound makes a good family pet."

A greyhound is typically a quiet, placid and friendly natured large dog. Greyhounds are sighthounds so may not be suited to a household with cats or rabbits, they do however have a good reputation with children. As they are short coated, they require minimal grooming. They will happily go for a walk or laze about on the couch. These traits make greyhounds a good family pet.

Explaining home care instructions or medication instructions is a daily part of veterinary nursing communications. We are regularly required to explain how to do different tasks to owners or demonstrate our knowledge by explaining something. Therefore, it is important that we practice this in the written assessments.

When you are asked to explain something, this means that we want you to make the process clear by providing detailed information about it. This also helps us to see your knowledge of the subject.

When explaining something, this incorporates the how, why, when, where and who.

For example,

Please explain this medication to the client.

Hello Mrs Smith, the veterinarian Dr Lucas has asked me to explain this medication to you for your dog Tess. Tess requires one tablet to be given by mouth once per day, with food. Please try to give the medications at the same time each day so that they are effective. This medication is an anti-inflammatory pain relief, it is needed to help with Tess’s arthritis pain. The medication must be given with food so that Tess does not get any stomach upsets. You can try mixing this with a small amount of tasty food or manual administering this into Tess’s mouth to make her swallow the tablet.

Often when you are required to summarise something it could be a summary of a discussion, or a summary of an explanation. To summarise means to address the most important points of the topic.

For example:

You might be asked to summarise the medication instructions again for Tess and Mrs Smith. This can be broken down to;

Please give one tablet once every 24 hours by mouth with food. These medications are needed for pain relief and needs to be given with food to prevent stomach upsets. These can be manually given or mixed with food.

Here we are still giving Mrs Smith the same information; it is just summarised into a straight to the point explanation of the medication that is required

When you are asked to give a certain amount of something this is to help keep your answers straight to the point so that you are directly addressing the question.

This might be something like give two reasons why rabbits make good pets

  1. Rabbits are intelligent and can be quite friendly when handled regularly.
  2. Rabbits can be handled by children, so can make good family pets.


When the question is not specific on how many examples/reasons/suggestions to provide then you should provide at least two to three points.

If you are asked for two points but you provide three to four points instead, this is ok. If you are asked for two points but provide ten points then this is excessive and does not show your understanding as you may be listing so many to ensure you do get at least 2 right.

formulating the answers

Who, What, When, Why and How are the key points you need to address in your answers. Watch the video to learn more.


Here are some example questions and how to tackle them.


Once you are ready to upload your assessment, you will need to double check that you have done the following;

  • Is the assessment in a PDF File?
  • Is the FILE NAME correct?
  • Have you checked the spelling and grammar?
  • Have you answered all of the questions in full?
  • Have you included your in text references as well as your end of text reference list?
  • Always make sure you have saved a word copy of the assessment to your own computer. This means you can continue to edit the document if you do require any resubmissions. DO NOT delete this copy until you have passed the subject.


Once your assessment is marked, you will receive a feedback file. The Learning Centre will send you a message, which will be copied to an email to your student email account. It can end up in junk/spam however.


Once you are ready to upload your resubmission, you will need to double check that you have done the following;

  • Have you made your edits in BLUE (resubmission) or RED (third attempt) font?
  • Have you addressed all the points required in the feedback?
  • Is the assessment in a PDF File?
  • Is the FILE NAME correct? Have you placed the x.2 for your resubmission or x.3 for your third attempt?


You will be provided with a study plan in your learner’s guide. The subjects in the learners guide are in the order that you should follow; this should correlate with your study plan. The online learning centre subjects may be presented in a random order, so ensure that you follow the learner’s guide and study plan. Completing the subjects in this order will ensure that the materials you learn follow on from each other.

It is important that you follow this plan because you need to complete some of these written assessments prior to beginning your placement as a part of your insurance coverage process.

Some questions that you will complete will have a word count. The word counts are included to help keep you on track and avoid over or under answering the question. Your answers that have a word count, will be checked to see if the word count is met. If you are a little under or over the word count (i.e. 10%) then this will be fine.

Your assessments may be returned as ‘needs more detail’ or unmarked if the word counts are not met and you will be required to correct this in your reattempt.

Clinics will have differing protocols sometimes to what we teach. They are not necessarily wrong, but sometimes they may be outdated or do not have an evidence based background to why they are done that way.

We are not assessing the clinic, we are assessing YOU. Demonstrate your knowledge of both the clinic protocol and what you have been taught and why the difference is important. Even if you can't change things at your current clinic, in the future at another you may, or you may start working in a clinic that does things the way we have taught you and it'll be easier for you to adapt.


The patient was TPRed once, at lunch time, in accordance with clinic policy’

This doesn't show an understanding of what you have learnt in your subject.


Our clinic policy is to only TPR patient’s once per day. Ideally it should be done at least twice per day as a patient’s status can change quickly. The TPR should assessed more often for ill geriatrics and critical care patients as their status can change rapidly, and they may even need hourly observations taken.

This shows both your understanding of your clinic's protocol and what you have learnt.

For ease of identification of assessments, it is very important that you use the right file naming convention AND that you ensure your name, assessment number and subject details appears in the header of your document.

An example of an acceptably named file would be as follows:

2.1 WHSV Submission SURNAME Firstname
1.1 ANRT Submission SURNAME Firstname

The first digit (1) represents the assessment number and the second digit (also 1) represents your attempt number. In this case this would be the first attempt for assessment 1.

The four-letter or four-letter code is the name of the subject you are studying (WHSV = Work Health and Safety; ANRT = Animal Handling & Restraint).

Many assessments do not require you to do additional research unless you are a Diploma student. Generally speaking, your Learner's Guide, online areas, textbooks and other resources we have pointed you to should have sufficient information to complete the assessment requirements. You should still reference these.

Some assessments will ask you to research, in which case you must do external research, which you should reference appropriately.

It is important to remember that we are assessing you on the materials that we teach. There are many different opinions in the veterinary industry, so in order to keep the teaching and assessing coherent we do only assess you on what we teach you.

Make sure when researching to use reliable sources, for example a website called lovemypet.org will most likely not have reliable information. Whereas a website called the Australian Association of Veterinary Nursing is more likely to have reliable information provided.

Refer to the Research, Referencing & Plagiarism Guide for full details on selecting reliable resources.

When you read through your learning materials and assessments, if there is anything that you don’t understand please make sure that you contact student assist. You are welcome to ring to discuss the learning materials or to clarify what a question is asking of you.

When you contact student assist for help, the educators cannot provide you with the answers or verify that you's is correct, as this is considered pre-assessing. This would be unfair to you and other students, as it will not help you learn. We can help to guide you in the right direction by clarifying what the question is asking of you, or help you to think about where you might need to look to find the answers.

If you do require a second or third resubmission at an assessment, please make sure to contact student assist prior to uploading the resubmission.

Remember, we are here to help!

All your assessment work submitted must be your own work. That is, even if you get information from another source, it must be written in your own words to show your understanding. You cannot just copy in text from another source. Please refer to the Plagiarism Policy for information on this.

It is expected that you will reference all your sources utilised when writing your assessments. For many assessments, you may only use your textbooks and the learner’s guides, but for some you may wish to do external research.

At Diploma level, we do expect that you would have done additional research through peer reviewed journals and textbooks.

We ask that you use the Harvard Referencing System and include both in text citations and a reference list. We won’t penalise you if you get the formatting of your referencing not quite right, but we may refuse to mark an assessment if both in-text citations and your reference list is not included.

Refer to the Research, Referencing & Plagiarism Guide for full details on how to format your references.

We also have a Referencing Cheat Sheet that shows you how to format references commonly used by our students.

Your written assessments will automatically be checked by our plagiarism checking service Ouriginal (formally called Urkund). They will be checked against the internet, learner's guides and other student submissions - including from other training providers.

You may receive emails with the Ouriginal report, the initial plagiarism percentage may be listed as high (i.e. 30%) THIS IS NORMAL. The plagiarism detector will pick up on the assessment templates that you are provided with. The nurse educators will manually review every written assessment to look for plagiarism. In most cases, the reviewed plagiarism percentage is below 5% which is considered negligible.

As part of educating you as professionals, we feel that it is important that you use correct grammar and spelling within ALL your assignments.

Additionally part of the Government stipulated training package for all vocational qualifications requires us to assess your language, literacy and numeracy skills as adequate for the tasks the industry expects you to perform.

When in the workplace, using correct grammar and spelling is essential to provide a professional image. You may also be performing drug calculations, which if you get wrong, can have disastrous consequences for patients.

If an Educator finds an excess of spelling, grammar or typos in your assessments, they will be returned to you for resubmission prior to marking your assessment. Minor errors here and there won’t affect you – we are all human after all! You will never fail on spelling and grammar, however if we cannot understand what you are writing – we may not be able to pass you!

You can use grammar checking programs such as Grammarly if you are needing additional support with checking your spelling and grammar.

Once you have completed your written assessment, you will most likely want to get it uploaded straight away! Before you upload your written assessments, however, try to get someone to read through your questions and answers. This will help identify any spelling or grammar errors, it will also help to identify areas that may need to be re-worded or explained in more detail.

If possible, it is recommended to wait for 24 hours before uploading your assessment, this way you can read through the assessment as a final check to ensure that you have answered everything correctly. This will help you read through the work with a fresh mind.


You can locate feedback from your Educator in the same area that you uploaded your assessment in the Learning Centre. You will generally receive an email to alert you via your student email (check your spam if you cannot see it). It is important however that you keep on top of your studies, including checking your results and feedback regularly. There is a space in each Learner’s Guide to record your submission date and result.

Your feedback forms have 4 columns that will receive a tick:

Point Missing:

If you have a tick in this column this will indicate that you have forgotten to include an important point in your response.

Needs More Detail:

If you have a tick in this column, this indicates that you are on the right track, however you have not quite met all of the criteria required or your response needs a little clarification.

Meets Standard & Above Standard:

Congratulations if you receive ticks in these columns. This means that you have met the criteria required and do not need to make any additions or changes.

If you do need to resubmit (second attempt), read the Nurse Educator feedback carefully. If you are unsure of what else needs to be discussed in your assessment, please contact Student Assist for help BEFORE you resubmit your work. All resubmission changes should be made in blue text please. Your second assessment needs to have the original text left as it is. With the blue additional text added in.

If you do not do this, we may return your assessment to you for correction before marking it.

Third attempts may be possible (called reattempts) to prevent you not passing a subject. These do attract a fee for additional Nurse Educator time. This is a cheaper option than reenrolment. In some occasions, a free third attempt may be granted if there is ONE minor point that needs amending.

To arrange a third attempt, please contact a Nurse Educator at Student Assist.

All reattempt changes should be made in red text. Similar to the resubmissions, the black and blue font does need to be left in it’s original state with the new additions added in RED.

On your feedback, your Educator will provide comments to help guide you in the right direction and may include some extra information to aid your learning.

Competency courses require 100% pass mark for every assessment that you complete. This is very different to school and university assessing processes where you need to obtain a 50% pass mark. Resubmissions are often seen as a failure and this is not the case. In most cases, it is not that the student has not shown an understanding, but that there is not enough detail to fully show an understanding. Resubmissions are then required to allow you to add in this extra detail to obtain the 100% pass mark.

If you are unsure of what the assessor is asking of you or the feedback is unclear, please get in touch with Student Assist for further clarification before uploading your resubmission.

If you believe that you have met all the criteria and you do not agree with the assessors comments, you have the opportunity to appeal. This is a formal process that must follow the Assessment Appeals Policy & Procedure.

Some written assessments are what we call case studies - as you structure your assessment around a specific patient (case) that you have nursed. They allow us to see you apply your new nursing knowledge to a real life workplace example.

Providing authentic work is a cornerstone of vocational education - authentic in that it is your own work, but also authentic in that it represents what you would do in real life in the job you are training for.

Part of how we substantiate that the case was a real case, is your mentor or another senior staff member involved, sign the declaration stating that you were indeed involved in the case as per your written case study presented.

You can download the Case Study Declaration here.



  • Read the learners guide and additional textbooks in full before attempting your assessment
  • Complete the self test questions in the learners guide
  • Complete the learning activities online
  • Read the assessment instructions and question carefully to make sure all areas of the question are answered
  • Answer the question in your own words
  • Spell and grammar check
  • Follow the word counts
  • Once finished, read through your work carefully, or have someone proof read it for you.
  • Include your Case Study Declaration if your assessment type is a case study.


  • Rush the assessments
  • Copy directly from your learners guide
  • Attempt the assessment without reading the learning materials
  • Upload the assessment without proof reading and spell/grammar checking
  • Include excessive information that is not relevant to the questions