Assessment in higher education and teacher education in particular continues to be a prominent feature of the student experience. For teacher education students there is an immediate and future concern as they both experience assessment and go on to become assessors of learning within their profession. In the state of Queensland, Australia, assessment in teacher education has taken on renewed importance with pre-registration testing of new graduates. Assessment is a phenomenon that influences nearly all aspects of students' experience of university - their learning, relationships with staff and peers, and their emotions. This paper reports on data from the author's reflective journal where insights were derived from conversations about assessment during student interactions. Extracts from this reflective writing enabled extrapolation of key issues of student perceptions, learning, relationships and emotions. What students say and do in relation to assessment offers lecturers powerful insights into the central role it plays in their experience of university. Students are active in shaping their assessment experience but are clearly also shaped by it. Lecturers play important roles in sustaining and challenging assessment practices that influence students in complex ways.