Spatial Modelling 2 exam
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We are writing to you to voice our concerns and dissatisfaction with the Spatial Modelling 2 exam that was sat by all second year geographers on the afternoon of Tuesday 21st May.
The format of the exam itself is not the subject of our grievance, as it was exactly as we had been advised in lectures throughout the second term, and in the revision session that took place in the week prior to the exam. The questions, though very challenging, were of a similar style to those which had been given to us in lectures during the second term and the split of the examination into two parts, likewise, was no surprise. However, the issues that we have with the exam are twofold, namely:
1) The sheer amount of questions
2) The short amount of time that we were given to answer them (90 minutes)
The total amount of marks on offer in the exam was 126, which seems extremely high given the amount of time available to complete them, averaging at 1.4 marks per minute. We feel that this was an inadequate amount of time for such a challenging examination paper that required the respondent to think through many of the more difficult concepts of the course to successfully answer questions. Consequently, the short duration of the exam resulted in a high number of students simply running out of time. The final two questions were worth 25 marks – or 20% of the exam paper – yet many people simply had no time to answer them in a way appropriate for such valuable questions. In most cases, this was not due to a lack of knowledge: the previous questions in section B (some of which were worth 10 or 15 marks too) also required thorough answers, meaning that not enough time remained to also provide good-quality answers to the final questions.
There is great concern amongst students who sat the exam that this lack of time will result in them obtaining disappointing marks that do not fairly reflect their ability to answer the questions that were set. For most people, had the exam been 2 hours long instead of 90 minutes, their answers would have reflected their ability to answer the questions as they would have had sufficient time to complete them in their entirety. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, they were not able to do so.
We wish to stress that this letter is not a complaint about a very difficult exam. We expect exams at this university to be hard, to make us think through our knowledge of the subject and to push us out of our comfort zones. However, in order to do this, we expect to have a sufficient amount of time to answer the questions well, and we do not believe that we had this in this exam, which seems very unfair.
Many thanks and we look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.