Examiners are asked to provide their questions in the form of camera-ready completed papers, typed in the appropriate format with title/rubric page, good quality diagrams and a full set of marking criteria. The goal is to carry out minimal revision of these papers after the initial submission, so setters/checkers should be confident that each paper is ready to present to candidates or to an external examiner. (To this end, setters and checkers are asked to sign a cover sheet for each paper, confirming its readiness.)
One printed copy of each paper should be submitted to the Student Services Office. The call for questions includes: the dates, times and membership of the co-ordination meetings; a list of modules; and a list of setters and checkers - questions must be set and checked by the persons indicated, unless the Examinations Officer agrees to a substitute (it is understood that questions will eventually be marked by the setter). A template with preset styles is available (see below). Some guidelines for typing are given below.
Co-ordination meetings will consider the papers as submitted, without any revision by the Examinations Officer. Thus it is important that editorial matters and issues of the technical accuracy of the content are sorted out before submission - there should be no need to spend significant time on these at the meetings, where the main task will be to check the overall level of each paper, and that the distribution of marks within each question are in accordance with the guidelines below.
After the corrections required by the co-ordination meeting have been made, the papers are sent to the External Examiners who may require further amendments before granting their approval.
Under no circumstances must the contents of examinations be revealed to any person who is not a member of the Board of Examiners or an approved member of the University Staff.
Shared and/or networked computers present special security problems, in particular:
All modules need to be assessed in a manner such that the final module mark is consistent with the University Generic Marking Criteria. When setting questions examiners should structure them so as to achieve the following mark distribution:
The implication of this scheme is that, within a question, no attempt should be made to assign equal marks for equal difficulty. We should, however, be guided by the principle of equal marks for equal time spent by a good candidate in answering the question. Where appropriate, examiners should attempt to include a reasonable number of calculations leading to a numerical answer within a paper.
Take special care when setting an exam for a module that comprises parts delivered by different lecturers to ensure that students can't selectively revise parts of the module and still achieve a good mark. Consider, for example, an exam paper where students must attempt two out of four questions for a module has been delivered by two different lecturers. Normally, each lecturer should set one whole-question and half of two shared questions.
Examinations have to be appraised by internal and external examiners who were not involved in delivering the module. To ensure that they have the information necessary, mark schemes must indicate the level of difficulty of material by identifying it as requiring 'Recall', 'Application' or 'Synthesis'. These categories are roughly equivalent to the traditional 'bookwork/seen/unseen' nomenclature, but are more generally applicable. This table gives an indicative guide to the use of these categories:
|Type of Question||Category of question/part|
|Mathematical||Quote mathematical formulae or proofs||Solve problem of previously seen type or requiring a straightforward procedure.||Construct solution to an unseen problem, e.g. by selecting and combining single-step methods. Exercise foresight and judgement in choice of method.|
|Scientific||State laws and facts, quote formulae, describe experiments. Recall factual content of lectures and/or directed reading.||Use factual knowledge and reasoning to answer questions. Solve familar types of problem.||Construct solution to an unseen or complicated, problem.|
|Technical||Describe standard procedures||Analyse results using standard methods||Design experiments or measurement schemes.|
|Qualitative||Describe phenomena, methods, history, etc.||Use familiar methods and/or ideas to analyse and/or evaluate observations.||Demonstrate independently critical engagement with primary and/or secondary literature.|
Note: Whilst it can be appropriate to recycle parts of old questions, questions from recent years should not be reused as they stand, in their entirety. Where old questions are reused in a substantially unchanged form, their source must be indicated on the mark scheme so that checkers and external examiners can verify the integrity of the examination.
The structure of examination papers is expected to follow a standard pattern as specified below. Variation of these structures is allowed for exceptional reasons, on the authorisation of the Director of Education. In cases where the rubric instructs the candidate to attempt more questions than are required to achieve full marks, this should be clearly stated: e.g, "Attempt all questions. X complete answers are required to achieve full marks (Y).".
|Mathematics Levels 4 & 5 (PHY1025-26, PHY2025 15-credits)||Time allowed 2 hours. Five questions, each worth 20 marks, with the rubric: 'Answer FIVE questions. Full marks (100) are attained with five complete answers (subject to moderation at the Examination Board).'|
|Mathematics Level 6 (PHY3062 15-credits)||Time allowed 2 hours 30 minutes. Five questions, each worth 20 marks, with the rubric: 'Answer FIVE questions. Full marks (100) are attained with five complete answers (subject to moderation at the Examination Board).'|
|General Problems Level 6 (PHY3053 15-credits)||Time allowed 2 hours 30 minutes. Section A: twelve questions, each worth 6 marks; Section B: four questions each worth 14 marks; with the rubric: 'Answer TWELVE questions from Section A and TWO questions from Section B. Full marks (100) are attained with twelve complete answers from Section A and two complete answers from Section B (subject to moderation at the Examination Board).'|
|Physics Levels 4 & 5 (15-credits)||Time allowed 2 hours. Four questions, each worth 25 marks, with the rubric: 'Answer ALL four questions. Full marks (100) are attained with four complete answers (subject to moderation at the Examination Board).'|
|Physics Levels 6 & 7 (15-credits)||Time allowed 2 hours 30 minutes. Four questions, each worth 34 marks, with the rubric: 'Answer question 1 and TWO other questions. Maximum marks (100) are attained with three complete answers (subject to moderation at the Examination Board).'|
|Physics and Mathematics modules at levels 4 & 5 (15-credits)||Time allowed: 30 minutes. Total of 25 marks, with the rubric: 'Answer ALL questions. Full marks (25) require complete answers to all questions.'|
|When multiple choice questions are used add this instruction to the rubric:||A correct answer to a multiple choice question gains the marks indicated, an incorrect answer is penalised by the deduction of one mark, and the "Don't know" answer 'X' gets zero points.|
|30 minute in-class tests||
Paper 1: answer all questions, 5 questions, 5 marks per question.|
Paper 2: answer 2 out of 3 questions, 12.5 marks per question.
|45 minute in-class tests||
Paper 1: answer all questions, 8 questions, 5 marks per question.|
Paper 2: answer 2 out of 3 questions, 20 marks per question.
|60 minute in-class tests||
Paper 1: answer all questions, 10 questions, 5 marks per question.|
Paper 2: answer 2 out of 3 questions, 25 marks per question.
|90 minute formal examination||
Part A: answer all questions, 8 questions, 5 marks per question.|
Part B: answer 2 out of 3 questions, 20 marks per questions.
|120 minute formal examination||
Part A: answer all questions, 10 questions, 5 marks per question.|
Part B: answer 2 out of 3 questions, 25 marks per questions.
A detailed set of Marking Criteria must be submitted with each paper. These will normally include:
A satisfactory set of marking criteria would allow:
The marking criteria need to match the mark allocations on the exam paper, and this should be confirmed at the setting-checking stage.
Marking criteria and/or model solutions for past examinations are not made available students. This is policy was adopted by the Board of Examiners in order to encourage students to develop their own problem-solving skills and to discourage weak students from rote-learning past answers as a substitute for more appropriate learning strategies.
A summary sheet of solutions and hints must be submitted with each paper. These will normally include:
After the examination, these sheets are published on the WWW, their purpose is to enable a student who has made a serious attempt to engage with the problem to assess whether their method has yielded a correct solution. The typical amount of detail required is indicated by this example [pdf]. Solutions are only required for the principal examination each year, not referred examinations.
The style of a referred examination is normally identical to that of the original examination. Particular attention should be paid to the correspondence between the 40% pass mark and the stated learning outcomes for the module.
For a module in which the original assessment includes a component from coursework and/or mid-semester tests, the style of the referred examination may vary from that of the original examination. This allows for the fact that, in all cases, the referred assessment is based solely on the referred examination, i.e. previously acquired marks are discounted (see the applicable Examination Conventions.
Start by obtaining the latest version of the templates to suit your computer from the following list. Depending on how your browser is set up, you may need to right-click (or click-and-hold) the link and ask for the file to be saved to disk 'as source'.
If you use Microsoft Word, you will need to turn off the 'Automatic' options which interfere with styles, paragraph numbering and formatting. In the event of problems, consult the Examinations Officer.
(It may be helpful to print the template before altering it to see how it's meant to look.)
Indicate on page one if any materials are required in addition to the sheet of Physical Constants (for example, graph paper on request). In the case of an open-note exam, a prominent statement to this effect is required on page one. Start the questions on page two - page one is only for title, rubric, etc.. Type "Turn Over", at the foot of the page, where appropriate, and type "End of Paper" on the final page.
Use (i), (ii), (iii), etc. to label principal sections of the question, but only if these relate to different topics; (principal sections do not need labelling if they all relate to the same overall topic - just use separate paragraphs). Use (a), (b), (c), etc. to label such things as a sequence of quantities to be calculated or a list of terms to be defined.
The template has three styles, to be used as follows:
For complicated equations it may be necessary to use the equation editor, but many equations can be typed as regular text, using formatting to produce subscripts, superscripts, etc.. The use of symbols and notation should conform to:
This can be achieved by following the NIST guidelines:
Briefly, almost all symbols (whether Latin or Greek) should be typed in italics. The three main exceptions are mathematical functions (cos, ln, etc.), subscripts that relate to names or words (kB, Eext, etc.), and physical units (mA, kg, etc.). Vectors should normally be typed in bold-italic (without arrow or underline). Subscripts and superscripts should be 9-point size. Type 0 (i.e. zero), not o (i.e. the letter oh), for superscript or subscript 'nought'. Put a space between quantity and unit, and between elements of a unit (e.g. 59 m s−1, not 59ms−1). Do not use a hyphen ('-') as a minus sign, the correct symbol '−' (an en-rule) is longer.
The NIST Guide has a detailed checklist in its preface.
It is the responsibility of the checker - after discussions with, and revisions by, the setter - to confirm that in their opinion the examination:
In the unusual event of an unreconcilable disagreement between setter and marker the advice of a suitably-qualified mutually-agreed third person must be sought.
Every person responsible for an examination will be issued with a USB memory-stick by the Examinations Administrator. This device has been pre-loaded with:
It is the responsibility of the examination paper author to provide in Adobe PDF format:
These files must be put into the folder for the current academic year.
For obvious reasons, the memory stick must be kept physically secure at all times and handed to the Examinations Administrator (or their deputy) in person, not via internal mail or a pigeonhole.
See also the Department Assessment Marking Strategy.