Create an exemplar

Exemplars illustrate assessment standards as examples of best or worst practice of an assessment. They are designed to assist students to increase their understanding of particular skills, content or knowledge.

Exemplars are a powerful tool for demonstrating assessment criteria to students who may struggle with understanding Academic language.


  • Ensures transparent communication of criteria and standards for an assessment piece.
  • Exemplars can be used as a form of feedback to identify common misconceptions.
  • Evidence suggests there is a desire from students to have exemplars.
  • Creates a better sense of coherence and integration in complex assessment pieces.
  • Studies have shown that the use of exemplars results in improved marks.


  • Creating exemplars from scratch can be very time consuming.
  • Using past student papers requires consent and de-identification.
  • Providing exemplars may suppress creativity as students attempt to imitate rather than create.
  • Students may plagiarise using content from the exemplar.

Tips for creating exemplars

  • Use multiple exemplars across a range of grades.
  • Annotate the exemplar to indicate how it satisfies the stated criteria for the assessment.
  • Review the exemplars as a class activity.
  • Use past papers from students to minimise the preparation time (you will need to seek permission and de-identify the assessment).
  • Avoid the use of model answers as they may represent unrealistic and potentially unachievable expectations for current students.
  • Where a particular skill is being demonstrated the exemplar provided should not be directly related to the current course content.
  • Ensure that the content provided in the exemplar was not linked to the content being examined in the current semester.

The Library provides annotated samples of assessments within different faculties, to educate students about what to expect in the types of assignment common in each Faculty.  These also could be used as a form of exemplars.