The University has reversed its decision to hold exams at 8:30am in January, following significant pressure from students and the Guild.
An initial examinations timetable, issued on Friday 27 November, claimed that the move away from the usual 9:00am slot was “necessary”, attributing the decision to “the increase in student numbers and modules being examined in January”.
A Student Idea calling for the Guild to “strongly oppose and lobby the University to stop exams beginning at 8:30am” was soon set up, stating that the new exam time would encourage “unhealthy sleep patterns and cause unnecessary stress”. 69.6 per cent of students strongly agreed with the Idea.
Following consultation with the Guild, the University reverted to the original 9:00am start four days later. All examinations will now start 30 minutes later and timetables have been updated in the Student Record System (SRS) and ExeHub.
VP Education Bethan Jones tweeted about the success of the Guild’s lobbying, telling students to “look forward to your extra half hour in bed!” She told Exeposé: “I am delighted that the University has reversed its decision to introduce 8:30 exam starts and return to the regular 9:00 time. This is a great example of the University listening to and acting on student feedback.”
We took your feedback on 8:30 exam starts and passed it onto the University, and they listened! Look forward to your extra half hour in bed!
— Exeter VP Education (@ExeEducation) December 1, 2015
Students are not wholly satisfied, however, with one Student Idea calling for a stop to exams that finish past 5:00pm. “Finishing an exam at 6pm is very late and will impact grades”, the anonymous student creator wrote. So far, 41.6 per cent of students have voted in favour of the Idea.
The University has also faced criticism concerning the late issuing of the exam timetable. One student who lives abroad commented: “Leaving exam decisions until the last minute reflects a total lack of consideration for international students and those who live far away. Travel prices become increasingly expensive throughout term, meaning that the University’s slow reaction has cost some students literally hundreds.”
78.7 per cent of students seem to share this opinion, having strongly agreed with a recent Student Idea calling for an earlier release of exam dates.
Ian Blenkharn, Director of Education and Student Experience, told Exeposé: “The University always appreciates feedback from students for consideration. In response to comments received by students, and in consultation with the Guild, the earliest exams in January will begin from 9:00am.
“We are confident this start time will be welcomed by all students, including those with care responsibilities and transport constraints.”
This news comes following student frustrations with changes to the teaching day implemented this academic year. The Students’ Guild, who officially opposed the plans, are currently running a survey to capture the full impact on students.