Lancaster University: Change the Biology Exam Timetable

For the past three years, students within the BLS department have had to experience harsh timetables regarding exams. Whilst 1st year was dismissed and 2nd year was seen as necessary due to the need for 'dissertation lab-time', the majority of students expected their final year exams to be set out in a much friendlier manner.

After viewing the 2013 BLS exam timetable, the following issues have been raised by countless students;

1) Lack of revision time between exams; in some cases (such as Biol.334 and 314) there is less than 18 hours between the exam start times. This is inadequate time to return home from an exam and begin sufficient revision for the next. However, in this case there are 4 consecutive exams, so the stress of the situation is significantly increased.

2) Physical detriment; The vast majority of students have expressed symptoms of extreme exam stress over the last couple of years (nausea, rash development, insomnia etc). We feel that lack of recuperation time could exacerbate these problems and lead to reduced exam success.

3) Psychological detriment; It is well known that a bad exam experience can have negative effects on the following exams and in many cases at least one day is needed for rejuvenation and 'de-stressing'. A bad exam experience at the start of the 4-day period could massively impact the grades obtained in the other 3, which could highly affect degree classification.

4) Third year exams are significantly more important and contribute more highly to the overall part IIB grade than in previous years, with a 67% weighting. Due to this, most students feel it is 'unfair' to be at such a disadvantage regarding the most important aspect of their third year. Some students have claimed that their entire education has led to these exams and for them to be placed so closely together towards the end of our degree is, to some extent, careless.


It isn't a case of revising early. It's a case of maintaining a healthy state of mind throughout the exam period.


So what can be done to prevent all this stress and ensure third years gain the highest classification they are capable of?


Contact your Director of Studies and get your colleagues to also contact their Director of Studies so that he and others are aware of the extent of the problem.

These are the people you should contact:

For Biomedical students: f.benson@lancaster.ac.uk
For Biochemistry, Biological Sciences and Cell Biology: m.ginger@lancaster.ac.uk
For Biomedicine: a.shirras@lancaster.ac.uk

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