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25th February 2015

Exeter University Students up in arms over ‘impossible’ economics exam

Economics students at the University of Exeter have complained that their exam was impossible and littered with spelling errors

An exam paper has been contested by economic students at the University of Exeter after spelling mistakes together with other errors were found within the paper. According to the students, the exam was also “un-reflective of course content”.

An online petition has been submitted by more than 200 students, demanding that the university examine the paper and conduct an investigation. In addition, they have asserted that during their course they did not receive an adequate preparation for the exam they had to take.

In a statement a representative of the students has said: “it is unacceptable that the university should be making such mistakes, considering the fact that [we] are actually paying £9000 tuition fees a year”.

About two-thirds of the students who took the exam have sent formal complaints to the university. However, the University of Exeter has claimed that strict rules are applied to all exam papers and that they are checked diligently.

A spokesman of the University of Exeter declared that controls are undertaken “”internally and by an external examiner” during every exam. Different aspects are verified such as adequate level of questions compared to module topics and paper general accuracy.

He added further: “This procedure was correctly followed for this exam paper. The business school treats all complaints seriously, and we are now working with students and staff regarding this issue.

“Our procedures are being accelerated in this instance to address the concerns raised by our students.”

Students however have said that is not the first time that such mistakes have happened and there was a similar situation in 2012 for the same module. At that time, the university resolved the issue by adjusting the marks that were previously released.

Some of the aggrieved students have argued that a similar solution ought to be adopted for for the present matter, considering that in January the average mark of the exam on economic principles and policy was very low, only 53 per cent. Students, who usually achieved high marks with an average of 80 per cent, got only 40 per cent. The lowest grades were around 10 per cent.

Economic students sent their petitions individually to Exeter’s vice-chancellor, but they also wish to have the opportunity to take action as a group and arrange a meeting with senior managers from the university and the business school. They hope that in the next few days this can be done.

A similar episode also took place at the University of Sheffield last month. With third year students protesting for an exam on economics that they took in the last semester, which they described as “impossible”.

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