We asked Lancs students how they feel about their exam timetables

‘It doesn’t take into account the health of the students who have to complete them’

Just over a week ago, The Lancaster Tab asked students how they felt about being in the dark when it came to their exams. Now that the timetables have been released and the formats have been confirmed, we reached out to some students to see they feel about the approaching exam season.

“They’re 23-hour exams”

Luke, a third-year mathematics student, told the Lancaster Tab that “they’re 23-hour exams starting at two-thirty pm and ending at one-thirty pm the following day. However, they’re only expected to take us two to three hours.” From other student responses, it seems that most departments have chosen to structure exams in this way.

An email from the university detailed that this is “an inclusive form of assessment that takes into account of reasonable adjustments, including extra time and rest breaks,” which is why no additional time will be allocated for students with ILSPs.

“It doesn’t take into account the health of the students”

“I have six exams, Monday to Saturday in the same week. They all start at nine-thirty am and run for an hour and a half with 30 minutes upload time,” said Natalie, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student. She added, “I personally don’t think it’s very fair; whilst it might work logistically, it doesn’t take into account the health of the students who have to complete them. Other subjects have adopted the 24-hour approach – I can’t understand why engineering hasn’t.”

While the university has created a more inclusive format for online exams, they haven’t utilized this format in all departments, which could significantly put some students at a disadvantage and heighten their exam stress.

Natalie also told the Tab Lancaster, “I also have other deadlines the week after my exams, so the timing isn’t great either”, again implying a lack of consideration when it comes to student well-being.

“My most difficult module is the only one with a time limit”

Olivia, second year, English Language and Linguistics

Olivia, a second-year English Language and Linguistics student, told us, “Most of my exams are 23 hours, which I’m happy about, but my most difficult module is the only one with a time limit of one hour and ten minutes. I’m a bit mad about this because we were told all exams would be 23 hours, plus it took me longer than one hour and ten minutes to complete coursework with the same style question, so I don’t think that will be enough time”.

Many departments made false promises about how exams would be, which has left some students feeling unsettled and even less prepared for the upcoming exam season.

“The department kept telling us they would push the exams back”

On the subject of broken promises, Georgia, a fourth-year Physics student, told the Tab Lancaster about her nightmarish situation with the physics department that has been ongoing since this time last year: “We were the only students that had to do exams last year, even after the university sent out an email saying that they were cancelled. We had to sit them earlier than normal with no safety net, and they added essay questions to make it harder – it was hell on earth, and we got no help or support.”

Due to their grades plummeting as a result of the shaky exam format of the previous year, Georgia told us that the department ensured them that “exams would start in Week 25 to give [them] more time to revise.” Instead, their exams are set to start in Week 22.

Georgia went on to say, “We have no time to revise or prepare. Our first exam is less than 24 hours after our masters’ project is due. We’ve been given no mock exams and no help from the department.

“I’m a student rep, and I’m so fed up with hearing all of their excuses and blaming of the university. LUSU tells us to talk to our department, and the department tells us it’s out of their hands.”

“They haven’t considered something as simple as giving us a decent break at the weekend”

Tom, second year, Physics

Tom, a second-year Physics student, told the Tab Lancaster about his opinion on being timetabled a Saturday exam: “The university and the department spend all of their time telling us to look after our mental health and not overwork ourselves and make time for breaks and then give us Saturday exams.”

Weekend exams and exams on consecutive days are issues that cropped up in many of our student responses. They argued that there was no reason to timetable exams this way, especially with them being online and not having to book physical spaces.

Tom went on to say, “It just goes to show that whilst the university want to come across like they care about mental health, they haven’t considered something as simple as giving us a decent break at the weekend during exams and final coursework”.

“I’ll be revising when all of my other friends will have finished their exams”

Elliot, third year, Business Management

A Business Management third year, Elliot expressed his annoyance at having “three exams on consecutive days in the last three days of term.” Assuming that the restrictions are lifted in line with the dates set out by the government, this means he will be sitting exams in extrav week and the last official week of university.

Elliot added, “It’s annoying because I can’t relax or celebrate until the very last day of term, which means I’ll only have a week to enjoy with my friends after exams. It also means I’ll be revising when all of my other friends will have finished their exams and will be going out enjoying the last official week of university.”

Whilst students were hoping that individual departments would have had enough time to consider the best way to approach exams, it’s apparent that most students are more than a little displeased with their exam timetables. You can find your exam timetable in the student portal. For details on format and exam support, contact your department.

*Some names in this article are fictitious at the request of students.

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