More Exams

Well, I did promise you more about exams :-) .

In common with most degree-level qualifications, the pass mark in the exams is 50% – but lest that sound a bit easy, the marks are pretty hard to get: For a ten-mark question, an average answer worth seven or eight marks will be about three pages long, and if you take more than fifteen minutes – from first looking at the question, to finishing the answer – you’re eating into the time that you should be spending on the next question. That doesn’t allow much thinking time, so it has to be pretty much “stream of consciousness” stuff.

Following each examination, an examiners’ report is published, highlighting what was answered well and what wasn’t: Sometimes they produce a digest of answers to questions, showing what kind of answer was wanted and where the marks were picked up. On one of last July’s, the answer that’s shown as a good answer to one of the twenty markers only got fourteen – and that’s probably the best answer that was given to that question!

Exam technique is important – “Read the Question” is an important one of course, making sure that what you’re writing is the answer to the question that was asked: The marking schemes don’t allow any marks for an excellent answer to the wrong question! It’s also good to read through the questions before you start and if there’s a “banker” there – a question that you’re so confident on that you can get full marks – do that first, then work through them in descending order of confidence, leaving the one you don’t really know much about until last. Sometimes – if you’ve got fifteen minutes left, and one question that, at best, you can get two or three marks on – it’s better to abandon that one, and read back through what you’ve written and see if you can pick up any more marks on those questions.

Of course, even with the best exam technique in the world, you still need to know the stuff…I suspect that’s where I might fall down… :-(

Comments are closed.