Writing Your Coursework | NEA Coursework Advice | Oxford Open Learning

Writing your NEA

Before you start

Before you start your coursework please read the Introduction to your course materials and the lessons relating to coursework/NEA. You cannot submit your final NEA for marking unless your tutor has already seen at least 4 Tutor-marked assignments, as well as a plan and a draft, but this does not mean that you cannot start work on it before you come to the NEA section in the course. Do not leave it this late. Also please be very aware that 4TMAs will only be a  small percentage (about 20%) of the course. There is no way that you can get a respectable mark if these are the only TMAs that you complete. Your NEA has to be your own work and your tutor has to follow very strict rules over how much help they can give you. The more help the tutor gives you, over and above what is considered normal, the more they have to take this into account in their marking. Please read the “Instructions for Candidates; non-examination assessments” on the JCQ website (JCQ is the body which sets the rules for all exam boards, including AQA). There is also a much longer document on the JCQ website called “Instructions for conducting non-examination assessments” which you might want to look at to see the rules that Oxford Home Schooling and your tutor must follow.

Choosing your topic

Your tutor will advise you and try to guide you towards the topics/titles which have the best chance of success, but you have the final choice and if you wish to be more independent then your tutor will still help as much as they can. Be aware that the title and the outline planning of your project is where your tutor will be able to give you the most help and guidance. Also, it is much easier to change things or take your tutor’s advice at an early stage rather than later. Once you have started writing your essay then the amount of help the tutors can give you is very limited. Please also note that in the planning stages a discussion on the telephone, even if you have to take notes, is likely to be much more useful than emailing. When you have discussed things fully with your tutor, develop your ideas and formulate a plan which you should show to your tutor for their input. You may then send them one more draft essay where they can make general comments and suggestions and after this you will be on your own in formulating the final version to submit for marking.

If you are doing History A level and you wish to use a different title from the one that we have suggested in the course then please discuss this with your tutor. The 15h November is the latest date that you can submit a different title for approval by AQA.


We do not have a formal deadline for submitting either a plan or your draft as students all work at different rates. However, please be very aware that the final and absolutely non-negotiable date for receiving your coursework is the 15th MARCH . We cannot and will not accept any work after this date, please do not assume that there are any circumstances in which we can relax this deadline. Do not work to the AQA deadlines, these are different for a reason. You should, therefore, work back from this date and allow yourself time to submit a plan and a draft to give yourself the best chance of doing well. History students please note that the latest date for submitting a title for approval is the 15th November.

Assessment Objectives and other help

The AQA website has a lot of information on what will be needed to gain the best marks in your NEA, these are called “assessment objectives”. They are available in the online specification for each individual subject and you need to make yourself very familiar with them. There is also a great deal of other information by subject which you will find useful. Do not ignore it, discuss it with your tutor especially at planning stage and please try to follow any suggestions made by your tutor; they will know what gets the best marks. However always bear in mind that your tutor cannot specifically tell you what to write or how to write it, they can only give guidelines which you should try to follow. If they give you more than “general” advice this has to be taken into account and marks will be lost.


Your tutor is not allowed to authenticate your final work unless they have seen at least 4 Tutor-marked assignments, a plan and a draft essay. This is to ensure that they can see that the work has your style and is of your standard. Your draft will also be put through a plagiarism checker. After receiving your final work the tutor will need to have a detailed discussion with you about your ideas, concepts and sources. Your work will be tested for plagiarism and if any is found your work will be rejected, the exam board informed and you will get no marks.

Submission of final NEA;

You will be required to send both an electronic and a paper version of your final project to your tutor by the 15th March. No handwritten coursework will be accepted. The paper version must also have a Candidate Record Form, signed and attached. Put your name, candidate number (provided in February) and centre number (62373) on each page and use string or a treasury tag to tie your paper sheets together. Do not use plastic folders or staples. We will not accept or mark your NEA without all of the above being received by the Oxford Open Learning deadline.

Marking your NEA

Your coursework will go through three distinct phases Prime Marking – first marking done by your tutor.  Internal Moderation – the prime mark will be checked and also compared to the marking of other Oxford Open Learning tutors by the Head of Department to ensure that all our tutors are marking at a similar level. This ensures your prime mark was neither too severe nor too generous.

After internal moderation, you will be advised of your mark by our exams office. If you believe that you have been unfairly marked then you will have one week to challenge the process that was followed to determine your markYou cannot dispute the mark itself only the method by which the work was marked. Your challenge will be considered by an independent assessor and AQA will be informed if any irregularities are uncovered.

External Moderation – The entirety of Oxford Open Learning’s marking will be scrutinised by an AQA moderator during May/June and compared to that of other centres.  Your mark may be changed at this stage.  We have no control over this part of the process and we/you are not informed of any changes until results are available in August

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