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A Brief Guide to Exams

This page gives a very brief, but not comprehensive guide to the undergraduate examinations process, from enrolling through to results. Please refer to the Board of Examinations webpages for in depth information.

Almost all students will sit University Exams at the end of each academic year. 

How do I enrol for my exams?

Exam enrolments are carried out in the early part of the Michaelmas term. Some subjects and Tripos parts do not involve choosing specific papers, and, in these cases enrolments are made automatically by the University’s Board of Exams. In all other cases enrolments are made online through CamSIS; students should always discuss their choices with their Director of Studies. Some Tripos parts will require additional paper choices in the Lent and Easter terms. Students will be made aware of these deadlines either by College or their Departments. Students should be alert to emails from the Tutorial Office giving details, timings and deadlines for this process.

What if I need to change my paper choices?

Paper choices can be changed up until, but no later than, the end of Lent term. If you and your Director of Studies agree that a change is appropriate please contact the Senior Tutor’s Assistant either in person, in room LL2, or by email.

Will I be able to re check my entry?

Towards the end of Lent term, ALL students sitting exams will be asked to verify their examination entry online, through CamSIS.  This is the final opportunity to make changes, and again, students should be alert to emails from the Tutorial Office about the process.

What if I need special arrangements?

Some students will require special adjustments, which will be accommodated if at all possible. Students should always seek their tutor’s advice and support in the first instance, and as early as possible, ideally before the end of January.  In all cases an Educational Psychologist’s report, a Student Support Document from the University’s Disability Resource Centre, or other supporting medical evidence will be required.  Common adjustments are additional time, use of a computer and rest breaks. Generally requirements like these can be accommodated in a central, University run venue.  Occasionally, more specific adjustments are needed, which will be accommodated if at all possible, sometimes within College.

What is an exam warning?

Exam warnings may be submitted to the Board of Exams in certain circumstances. Occasions when this is appropriate might include: dyslexia/dyspraxia or another specific learning difficulty, or an illness or other grave cause which may hamper exam preparation or performance.   Again students should see their tutor as soon as possible.

When will I receive my timetable?

A timetable of all exams will be published on the University website at the beginning of each exam term.  Students will also receive an individual, paper timetable at the beginning of Easter term.  It is important that students take this timetable to all their exams as it also shows their candidate number; seating in exam halls is by candidate number not alphabetically. If you lose or mislay your timetable, please contact the Tutorial Office. Please familiarise yourself with the location of your exam venue(s), and be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start time.

What should I do if I am ill before my exams?

A student who becomes seriously (?) ill immediately before their exam should alert their tutor and the Tutorial Office in the first instance.  The College Nurse may be able to offer advice, and if appropriate, arrange a GP appointment at short notice.  With compelling medical evidence students can occasionally be ‘allowed’ an examination but it is important to seek medical advice immediately.

What should I do if I am ill during an exam?

If a student becomes unwell during an exam they should alert the exam hall invigilator who will seek any help that is needed, and contact College.

What can I take into my exams?

You must take your University card, Examination Confirmation Form (timetable) and stationery. You may also take a non-carbonated drink is a small bottle, watch (smart watches are strictly forbidden) and wallet.

Illegible scripts

Occasionally examiners will return scripts to the Board of Exams if they judge them to be illegible.  On these occasions students will be asked to retype their script under supervision and it will be resubmitted.  Students should bear this in mind when making plans for the period after exams but before results are published.

When and how will I receive my results?

Results become available in two ways.  Firstly, they will appear on a student’s individual, self-service CamSIS record, and secondly lists of successful candidates will be displayed on the screens at the Senate House (**need to add something about removing names…when we know the details***).  Details of marks in individual papers will be available either via CamSIS, again, or a student’s Director of Studies.

Can I appeal my result?

If you feel your result does not fairly represent your examination performance, and there are exceptional, extenuating circumstances there are a number of routes available to you. Details can be found using the link given above, but do consult with your tutor in the first instance, and as soon as possible after the exam.