SPS December 2021 Exam FAQs

What is the format of the School of Social and Political Sciences' exams?

The exams for the School of Social and Political Sciences (other than those identified in the assessment timetable) will be either 1-week (5 working days) or 2-week (10 working days) open book exams (seen exam - 24 hours to submit) rather than the standard unseen exam. These exams will be an adapted version of the original unseen exam, but you will be able to complete it with access to notes, course materials, the internet, etc, and over a longer period. 

How long will I have for the exam?

Your examination will be available either a 1-week (5 working days) or 2-week (10 working days) prior to the examination schedule published by the University. The School has also produced an updated version of the exam timetable showing the dates on which you will be able to access the exam papers. The timetable is available on the Moodle sites for each subject area. Please note that the times in the timetable are in UK time.

You have either a 1-week (5 working days) or 2-week (10 working days) day period to begin and complete this exam (please check the information for your subject). You will then have a 24-hour window in which to upload your exam answers. Please ensure that you give yourself at least half hour to upload your answers to Moodle. This is important as this gives you the ability to take evidence of (e.g., screenshots) and report any problems within the 24-hour answer upload period.

Are exams in other Schools and Colleges following a similar format?

Please note that if you are undertaking exams held in different Schools, the configurations of your assessment environments, and the guidance for submissions, will differ from those for SPS. If you have any queries relating to these exams, please contact those Schools for their advice and guidance.

How much should I write?

For all exams relating to courses delivered by the School of Social and Political Sciences, there will be a word limit per exam question answered and these can vary, so you must therefore check the word limit guidance on each individual exam paper.  Please also note that other Schools/disciplines have adopted different word limits. Therefore, you must check the exam requirements if you are undertaking an exam in a different School/discipline. This figure does not include any diagrams, figures, graphs, references etc., which can be used to supplement the text where appropriate.

Penalties will not be imposed if you go beyond this word limit but work beyond the word limit will not be marked. This is a maximum word limit – please be assured that you will not be penalised for shorter answers although if you are significantly below the word limit, do check that you have appropriately answered the question.

You can use online resources, but you are not expected to spend time undertaking extensive literature searches. You should answer the question as much as possible in the style as you would in a ‘normal’ exam.

A bibliography or reference list will not be required for your exam answer, but you are encouraged to refer to the literature within your answer as in a normal exam.

Will I be able to talk to my friends about the exam questions?

Although we encourage co-operative and collaborative learning in class, this is an exam and you should not discuss the questions with anyone else. This must be your own work. You must sign a Declaration of Originality Statement and we will check answers for similarity through Turnitin.

How will I submit my exam answers?

You will submit your answers via a Moodle submission area in the Course Moodle site for which you are being examined. All exam answers should be uploaded through Turnitin. If you experience problems with the submission process, please take a screenshot of the error message and follow the instructions contained in your exam guidance paper.

What if I don’t have access to a computer/the internet?

Whilst most students will have access to an internet-connected device, we are conscious that a small minority of students will not be able to access either a PC/laptop/similar device or the internet. We will accept hand-written answers that can be scanned/photographed and e-mailed to the relevant course administrator. Students concerned about their ability to access Moodle assessment/submission areas for your exams should email the School Administration team in the first instance.

What if I have additional support needs?

Our aim is to ensure that these assessments are compliant with the University's Accessible and Inclusive Learning Policy, and therefore, for many students with additional support needs. We believe that the move to a 1-week (5 working days) or 2-week (10 working days) open book exam provides everyone with enough time and opportunity to complete this.

What will the University do to support students who are parents or carers?

We decided to hold assessments because we thought, on balance, it would be of benefit to students and it is certainly our intention that no student should be disadvantaged by their performance.  We do understand that in the current circumstances it will be difficult for many students to take these exams at home and, in particular, those with young children.  Our 1-week (5 working days) or 2-week (10 working days) open book exam format will assist students in completing this exam alongside any other commitments they have.   

What if have two exams scheduled for the same day?

You may be concerned that you could have two exams within an overlapping period. By adopting a 1-week (5 working days) or 2-week (10 working days) open book exam format, it is expected that you will have more than enough time even if you have overlapping exams.

What should I do if I am unable to complete my exam?

Please inform your School contact at the earliest opportunity if you are unable to complete the open book exam.  You must also submit a Good Cause claim together with supporting evidence within 7 consecutive days of the date of the affected exam.

Do the same regulations relating to Academic Integrity apply to these exams?

Please understand that the only sure way to do well in an exam, whether online or in an exam hall, is by knowing the material well, and experiencing the rigour of revision. Any of your colleagues who plan on cheating may find that the internet, or offers of outside assistance, are liable to fail them unexpectedly.

In addition, the University is reserving the right to carry out vivas (oral examinations of students), which can help ensure that submitted material is the student's own work, and that they have an understanding of what they have written and will also check work using originality checking software. Students will declare the originality of their work before each exam, and a false declaration will not just affect individual course/modules but will put a student's whole degree at grave risk. This is one of those situations where the least risk to a degree, where you have already built up a store of credit, is to do the work of each course individually as normal in an exam.  Students are encouraged to read the Guidance for students in online examinations prior to writing or submitting their exam.

Concluding message and further support

Our key aim as a School is to support you to get through these exams as best we can – we are all in this together and we have become even more expert at finding solutions to unexpected events.  We will take each exam one step at a time, and deal with anything that comes up – so please try not to worry – we are committed to your success.

If you do have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your course administrator.