We asked Edinburgh Uni why they wait so long to release our exam diets
It supposedly benefits us students
With courses, societies, social life, and all things in between, life at university can be hard to coordinate. On top of all this, most students have to figure out when they head home throughout the year.
Edinburgh's exam period is a large part of this scheduling, seeing as it can last up to four weeks. This semester, students could leave be finished as early as April 29th or as late as May 24th.
It's for this reason that the university's failure to release exam dates until two months before the assessment can feel extremely frustrating. Train and plane tickets get more and more expensive the longer you wait to book, and the further away you live, the more difficult this coordinating can become. Second semester is especially difficult thanks to summer jobs and internships.
When asked for the reasoning behind such a long wait for exam timetables, a University spokesperson responded with this:
"When timetabling exams, we are committed to ensuring there are no exam clashes, to avoiding students sitting tests on consecutive days and to spreading their exams over course of the diet.
"To do this, we need a stable data set of which students are doing which courses. Due to students being allowed to change their courses – or even programmes – in the first few weeks of term, this information is only available at the end of week three.
"Once we have the data, it takes three weeks to schedule the exams, for schools to check the proposed timetable and to identify any issues. This is why the diet is published at the end of week six.
"To release the timetable earlier would prevent students from changing courses in the first few weeks. We believe this move would leave students being locked into courses they don’t want to do or are struggling with and would harm the overall student experience."
Flexibility within course choices remains important and a huge benefit of attending Edinburgh Uni. However, there are surely alternatives to waiting a minimum of six weeks to schedule exams that would still give students these advantages.
For instance, the university could sort the timetable before people choose courses, which would allow students to switch based on what their timetable allowed. It's less flexible, but it means the university wouldn't have to rely on the instability of students to sort schedules.
Additionally, the exam period is long. Not everything has to be totally sorted way in advance. The university could, however, give more of a general idea, such as certain exams falling within certain more specific time frames. Edinburgh definitely has a general sense of who will be taking what. It's safe to say an English Lit student probably won't be signing up for too many Chemistry courses. Therefore, they could establish English as an exam that falls during the second week of the exam period and Chemistry as an exam that falls during the first.
There's a lot of preparation that goes into taking university exams so Edinburgh could help us out a little more.