We asked Cambridge students to show us their most brutal essay comments

You guys are brave

We all know the feeling. Receiving feedback for your latest essay on Moodle and feeling the inevitable sheer fear that is almost unrivalled (apart from hearing that Boris has another coronavirus announcement of course.)

Sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised – you’ve done well! Other times, well… We asked Cambridge students for their funniest, most brutal, and all-round strangest essay responses and rounded up our favourites:

Picture Credit: Camfess via Facebook

The ‘supervisor in complete and utter despair’

We start with the classic. From Kenny’s “nononono”, to Louella’s “…”, or even Mingshau’s “:(“, having any of these on your feedback is not a good sign (especially if it’s at the beginning).

The essay you poured your heart and soul into (or written two hours before the deadline whilst still hungover, but we won’t tell if you don’t) has been so upsetting the supervisor literally loses the ability to express how disappointed they are. One supervisor even wrote “hahaha”. Cheers guys!

Admittedly, we have to point out that their feedback isn’t exactly helpful either. Could you be more specific as to what part of my essay made you SO upset?

Picture Credit: Camfess via Facebook

The ‘constructive criticism (but the ‘constructive’ is silent)’ supervisor

At least this supervisor has recovered their vocabulary, but unfortunately, they’re using it to tell you they hated this essay and they’re not afraid for you to know. Comments like “this is a disaster from start to finish” and “dense and difficult to understand” are nothing but hurtful.

Our personal favourite from this category was James’ “(I think) I understood things quite well”, which was most definitely unnecessary but amusing, to say the least. These comments might’ve been slightly more specific, but it’s still not exactly clear what made the supervisor so cruel. Maybe they picked up on the fact you forgot about this essay and wrote it about an hour before the deadline after all…

The ‘you literally all did awful’ supervisor

A supervisor told Izzy  “no one got graded” for her economics essay because the whole class would’ve got a 2.2 or a third and been “very disheartened.” OOF. Props to this supervisor for breaking the hearts of 80 Econ students in one fell swoop. To be fair, at least they had solidarity in the fact they ALL disappointed. Still waiting for some actual feedback as to what they could improve on though.

When you spend all night writing an essay and your supervisor hates it. Picture Credit: Hannah Huang


Chloe’s supervisor told her “try using a dictionary next time” whereas Sophie’s supervisor said “May I introduce you to the full stop button. Please use it.” EXCUSE ME. WHAT. THIS WAS SO UNNECESSARILY MEAN.

The ‘genuine feedback but make it *spicy*’ supervisor

These supervisors actually give you some advice to help you improve, like “Your analysis is brief, really limited to this paragraph. This is a barely satisfactory paper”, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to spice it up with some *slightly* too mean comments.

Eli’s supervisor said “I have real problems with this idea”, which she admitted, “took the life out of me.” We honestly applaud every single one of you for being able to take these because. Dang. We’re glad they gave feedback to improve, but you might need to take a few days off to recover first.

Picture Credit: Camfess via Facebook

The ‘I’m down with the kids’ supervisor

THE BEST SUPERVISORS. Ryan’s supervisor attached a link to a Youtube video in the comments of a Simpsons character saying ‘SIMPLIFY’ when the sentence was too long. Incredible. Sophie also mentioned to us she was given a Youtube URL to Beyonce’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself” when her claim was too bold.

These are WHOLESOME and a fun and inventive way to get constructive feedback across. We’re personally hoping all our supervisors start attaching a relevant YouTube vid to our feedback – it would definitely make criticism a lot easier to take.

Props to you lot for being able to laugh at and share some of your *quite mean* responses, we’re glad you’ve (mostly) recovered. However savage, unhelpful, or bizarre your essay feedback, we at the Tab are proud of you regardless!

Featured image credit: Hannah Huang, Camfess via Facebook

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