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Best wishes for the summer examination and assessment period - 1st May 2020

Dear Student,

The summer examination and assessment period is now upon us, and we are writing to wish you all the very best in your examinations over the coming weeks. 

We understand that the current circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic pose significant challenges for undertaking examinations, and that you will not be doing so under the conditions that you were expecting to only a few weeks ago. The University, the Students’ Guild in Exeter and the Students’ Union in Cornwall have been working in very close partnership to put in place measures that we hope offer undergraduate and postgraduate taught students assurance and confidence to perform to the best of your ability in these challenging times.

We have been extremely impressed by the resilience and commitment of our whole University community in these times, and heartened by the positive response of students to our approach. In particular, we are pleased to see that the no-detriment policy has been widely welcomed as offering comfort that your academic outcomes will be protected from the impacts of Covid-19, and that your performance from this point will only improve your outcomes.

To give you an insight into the behind the scenes work ‘at’ the University (all done in home-working), we can let you know that, over the last month, Academic and Professional Services colleagues have moved 877 scheduled examinations to online alternatives, equating to almost 57,000 individual examination scripts. We really hope you do well in these new forms of assessment.

We have also been developing new policies, guidance and support materials to help both you and staff navigate this new, remote assessment experience. Some online examinations have already started this week and we are already learning more and ironing out wrinkles. 

We just want to let you know how much we appreciate the hard work of our teams to make sure that your summer examinations run as smoothly possible, and we wish to record our sincere gratitude to those involved.

As this year’s examinations are different from what you are used to, please take the time to familiarise yourself with what will happen on the day of your examinations and what you need to do in preparation beforehand. We have developed 10 Top Tips to help you prepare:

  • Check the date and time of your examination: Visit the examinations webpage to double check the date and time when your examination paper will be released, and the type of examination (options 1, 2 or 3). A few examinations will have changed their dates and times so it is very important that you please check the latest version. All times are in British Summer Time (BST). 
  • Know where your examination paper will be located:
  • Option 1 & 2 examination papers will only be posted on https://exams.exeter.ac.uk (live from Monday) - you will need to navigate to your module page to find your paper, just as you would on ELE.  
  • Option 3 assessments and all Modern Foreign Languages and Foreign Language Centre Oral Examinations will be on your module page on ELE at https://vle.exeter.ac.uk 
  • Read the guidance for students: The Examinations Process Guide for Students outlines what you need to do and what to do if you experience any problems, and the Technical Guide for Studentsprovides details on downloading your examination, saving your completed paper as a PDF, and uploading it to BART. In a small number of cases your assessment submission method may be different from BART: if this is the case, you will receive direct guidance from your College. Students on the Penryn Campus will submit completed examination papers in BART only. You do not need to submit to Turnitin for the summer examinations and assessments. Please make sure you leave sufficient time to upload your completed paper at the end of your examination.
  • You will need a camera or scanner if you plan on handwriting your paper: You will need a smartphone camera, digital camera or equivalent device to scan or photograph your handwritten work and then insert it into a PDF to submit - full guidance is in the Technical Guide for Students
  • Revise, Revise, Revise: If you need support with your revision there are lots of guides and top tips on the Study Zone, including a Guide to Open Book exams. You can also book a 1:1 appointment with a Study Skills Adviser if you require further help with your studies or revision. 
  • Look after yourself: It is important that you look after your mental as well as your physical health during this time. The Study Zone has some useful guides and techniques to help you look after your wellbeing and manage examination stress and anxiety.
  • Support during your examination: If you require assistance during examinations contact the Assessment Helpdesk on (+44) 01392 726800. The Assessment Helpdesk will operate from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 12.30pm Saturdays BST. As examinations are also due to take place on Saturday 16th and Saturday 23rd May we will be providing extra support during these dates: 
    • Saturday 16th and Saturday 23rd May - 8am - 8pm
    • Sunday 17th and Sunday 24th May - 8am - 12:30pm.

During the May bank holidays the helpdesk will operate as follows: 

  • Friday 8th May: 8am - 12:30pm
  • Monday 25th May: Closed. 

You can also email the Helpdesk out of hours on Exams2020@exeter.ac.uk and they will pick up your query as soon as they open.

The Assessment Helpdesk should only be contacted if you require assistance during an examination itself. As you will be under examination conditions, you should not contact your module lead or another module tutor during your examination under any circumstances

  • Beware of plagiarism: Some students are being approached by companies who offer to write original essays for them. These are unscrupulous companies and you should avoid them (see BBC3). Naturally, your examinations should be all your own work and we will be running checks to identify plagiarism and the penalties for deliberate cheating are severe.
  • Emergency IT Loan Scheme: We are extremely aware that for some students the transition to online learning and assessment, or working from home, has introduced particular challenges due to the requirement for a suitable computer and internet connection. To address this issue, the Emergency IT Loan Scheme has been set up. We will discuss solutions with you such as the offer of funds to purchase a laptop and/or 4G mobile internet device. In most situations, this would be loan equipment to be returned to the university (or costs repaid) at a later date. We encourage students who have difficulties with IT hardware or internet connectivity to contact us on 01392 725000 (international: +44 300 555 0225), or on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk
  • Don’t panic: We are here to support you during your examinations and we want you to succeed. We know that the summer examinations will be different to what you are used to but please rest assured that we will do everything we can to support you to complete your examinations successfully. Stay calm and save your work as you go. Please be patient when you are uploading your examination submission; some students have been telephoning the Assessments Helpdesk when there has been a slight delay - be patient and reassured that your submission will upload. If there are any issues with the system we will let you know by email on the day of your examination.

If you are still concerned about your ability to perform in the summer examinations, you have until 23:59 BST today (Friday 1st May) to apply to defer all of your remaining assessments for this academic year until either the next assessment window (August 2020) or to next academic year (May 2021). Students may request a deferral for one or more assessments after 1st May where short-lived circumstances impact on your ability to complete some assessments and any student can apply for mitigation should you experience technical or IT failure during an examination. Requests must be received either before the examination or within 24 hours of sitting. 

We thank you for your patience and understanding over the last month while we have worked hard to plan, coordinate and deliver the summer online examinations. If you have a question about your examinations please check the Student FAQs or contact coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk.

Again, we wish you all the very best for these upcoming assessments, and hope that you and those dear to you stay safe and well. 

Best wishes, 

Tim  

Professor Tim Quine 
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) 
University of Exeter 

Penny 

Penny Dinh 
Vice President (Education) 
Exeter Students’ Guild 

Joe 
 
Joe Rigby 
President (Exeter) 
Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union  

 
and the University of Exeter Education Executive