This article presents the results of a preliminary survey of assessment tasks undertaken by students in higher education at a particular university. A key premise of the study was that the ability to handle assessment is central to the development of academic and professional literacy. Much of the current literature on assessment demonstrates a concern that it is not currently achieving this end. A grid of various features of assessment has been developed, onto which are mapped tasks used at all levels and within all disciplines in the institution. Considerable differences in the type and range of assessment tasks used across schools and disciplines are identified, and also a gap between the variation in tasks and the relatively narrow range of activities and techniques covered in most study skills manuals. It is argued that generic materials should broaden their base and that subject-specific material needs to be developed to accommodate the realities of lifelong learning.