UCL Engineering Department apologises after errors lead to unanswerable exam questions
You would think the Engineering department would be good at Maths
The UCL Engineering department have apologised after second year students were given a paper containing errors which made questions impossible to answer.
Three out of four questions in the Mathematical Modelling and Analysis II exam (ENGS203P) contained mathematical errors.
The Engineering department was aware of one of these errors, but it was not announced at the beginning of the exam by invigilators.
Students were also given the wrong formula book and then given insufficient time to answer all of the questions.
The Engineering department is currently evaluating the impact the errors had on students exams before deciding on corrective measures.
In the first question in the paper, the Taylor series expansion formula had a error in it and, in second question, the units were not coherent.
The errors in question 3a had been identified by the Engineering department before the exam was given to the students but this was not announced by invigilators before the exam.
Many of the students did not notice the slip of paper attached to their exam, announcing the error, and wasted time trying to solve the problem.
A second year Engineering student told the Tab:
"The errors made in the questions are completely unacceptable, given how they were not mentioned by an invigilator at the start of the exam. Many people wasted time on questions they could not possibly answer."
"I feel let down by the Engineering department and do not think this exam properly tested our mathematical knowledge."
The format of the Mathematical Modelling and Analysis II exam had been changed this year.
Students now have to answer four questions instead of just three.
However, neither the length of the questions nor the time allocated for the exam was changed to reflect this new format.
This meant that the majority of students were unable to finish the paper.
The second year student explained to the Tab that:
"Given how previous years had two hours to answer three questions, and we must now answer four, we expected the new questions to be shorter in length. However, they were not."
In addition to everything else, the formula book provided in the exam was a different one to the one students had been given to practice with.
The Engineering department has emailed students to apologise for the disruption the errors in ENG203P caused:
"Please accept my sincerest apologise, on behalf of the cross-faculty academic team for the module, for the typographical errors that slipped through to the final draft of the paper."
They also took the time to remind students of the importance of reading through all documents provided in exams:
"It seems as though there was a rather mixed experience of how and when each of you realised that [there] was something very important for you too read before completing question 3. As you know, it is important to read through all of the exam documentation before commencing, but I understand how exam pressure can cause a sense of urgency to just get writing!"
When asked about the problems with ENGS203P, a UCL spokesperson told the Tab:
"We are aware of the problems experienced during the ENGS203P Exam and we are investigating to fully understand what happened."
"We have contacted all the students to apologise and update them on our planned course of action. The papers are currently being marked and no students will be disadvantaged as a result of the problems."
This is not the first time there have been problems with the Engineering Math exams this year. The department failed to give first year students formula books in Mathematical Modelling and Analysis I (ENG103P).