Undergraduate Teaching

Practical exam information for Part I students

Practical exam information for Part I students

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Part I exam period, location & timetable

The Part IA exams will run from 3-9 June 2020.  The Part IB exams will run from 1-9 June 2020.  The exam timetable will be displayed on the exams noticeboard in the Inglis corridor before the end of the Lent term. More information and reminders about the exams will be emailed to you in April.

Preparing for exams

For general information about the course and examination, please see the Engineering Course overview.  You should also see the project, coursework & exam credit notices which are published for each Part of the Tripos.

Past exam papers

Notices are published at the end of Michaelmas Term every year in the Reporter which detail changes to the form & conduct of the exam papers compared to the previous year's.

Recent past exam papers, their solutions and (when available) examiners' comments are available to students online. For new (or revamped) module papers, such information might not be available, but students might expect that the style will be similar to those of any ‘sample papers’ issued during the year.

Exam skills training

The department runs a briefing session every Lent Term to help students prepare for exams and be more effective during the exam.

Exam entries and withdrawing from an exam

If you are a graduate student and you wish to take an undergraduate module for exam it is very important that you ensure that your Course Director has registered you for the exam.

If you wish to withdraw from an exam, or are unable to attend an exam due to illness etc at short notice, you must inform your College Tutorial Office immediately.

Documents and equipment allowed during exams


Copies of the standard databooks will be provided at all exams. Where additional data sheets or databooks were provided for a particular course they will be provided.

Open book exam

Confirmation of whether there will be any open book exams will be issued later.

Calculators and watches

Calculators permitted in exams

The only models of electronic calculator that students will be permitted to take into the exam room are:

  • CASIO fx 991 (any version)
  • CASIO fx 115 (any version)
  • CASIO fx 570 (any version).

Each such calculator must be marked by the Department in the approved fashion before bringing it to an examination. Please see instructions below on purchasing and marking an approved calculator.

No other calculator may be brought into the exam room. This is a University regulation and cannot be varied by the Department. Please refer to the official University notice for more information.

Calculators will be checked at the beginning of every exam. If your calculator is not shown above, or is unmarked, you will not be allowed to use it for your exams.

Purchasing and marking an approved calculator

An approved calculator can be purchased at Stores.  If you already have a suitable but unmarked calculator, Reception can mark it for you at no cost.

Further information about calculators and watches in exams

You may not bring into the exams the calculator's instruction booklet, but you may bring spare batteries. You are warned that the examiners are not prepared to make allowance, when marking, for malfunction of a student’s calculator either due to running down of batteries or for any other cause.

You may not bring a smart watch or wireless earpiece into the exams. No watch, calculator or other device may be allowed to emit an audible alarm during the course of any exam.

Items that can be taken into the exam room

It is very important that you follow the instructions at the top of the exam paper scrupulously and comply with the following rules and any instructions given by the invigilators.

You should take with you into the exam room:

  • your University photo ID card to identify yourself: you will be required to place this on the desk alongside your name ticket;
  • your candidate number: you will need to write this on the coversheet of each paper in place of your name and will also need it to find your desk in the exam room;
  • your own pens and any other officially approved materials;
  • an approved and marked calculator as described above.

You are permitted to take a small screw-top bottle of non-carbonated drink into the exam room, but are not normally allowed any other items of food or drink. You should not take your mobile phone into the exam.   If it goes off in an exam room you will be liable for a £50 fine.

You are not permitted to bring a dictionary into the exam room.

NB. your examination confirmation form (ECF) is the definitive source of these University rules.

On the day of your exams

The University has a useful webpage about what to expect and what you need to do on the day of your exam, which includes links to the Proctorial notices about conduct during exams. 

Arrive early

You should arrive at the exam room at least 15 minutes before the advertised start time of each paper.

Late arrival at an examination

No-one will chase you up if you do not arrive for your exam. Colleges are not informed within the first 30 minutes if you don't arrive. If you arrive within the first 30 minutes you may sit the exam in the time remaining. If you are more than 30 minutes late you will not be permitted to sit the exam anywhere.

Reading time

There will be 10 minutes’ reading time at the start of every exam unless otherwise announced.  (NB. the only module that is currently known not to have reading times is 4I8 ‘Medical Physics’.)

Writing legibly

Illegible writing may result in loss of marks.  The Examiners will accept any legible work but would prefer blue or black ink.

Showing working

In the working of all questions, and in the evaluations of numerical quantities, you should show a sufficient number of steps for the Examiners to make a proper assessment of your answers.

Ban on removing paper from the exam rooms

You must not remove ANY paper including the question paper, and most particularly your exam script, from the exam rooms. The accidental removal of scripts can have extremely serious repercussions for the student concerned.

Celebrating after the exams

Please remember that post-exam celebrations within the Department can be very disruptive to others.We understand that you want to celebrate but please do not throw food at anyone or squirt liquid at passers-by.

After your exams

Publication of results and prizes

Please see the University's 'after the exam' webpage for information about exam allowances, class lists and exam results. 


If the class list indicates that you have won a prize you can find out more about your prize via the Department's prizes, awards and scholarships website

Exam review procedures

The University has robust policies in place to ensure that examination results are accurate.  However, there may be circumstances where something unusual happens during the examination and you want it taken into account.  See the University's exam review procedure for further details. 

To request an arithmetical mark check you should contact the Teaching and Examinations Coordinator, who will liaise with the relevant Chair of Examiners to confirm that all the normal checks and processes have been followed.

These checks include:

  • checking of every page of every script by an independent script checker following marking to ensure that nothing has been missed;
  • checking of all arithmetic calculations and transcriptions by the script checker;
  • if a student has attempted more than the required number of questions, checking that the marker has marked all the solutions and entered in the markbook the highest scoring solutions;
  • checking that any reasonable adjustments relating to the marking of the assessments have been put in place;
  • scrutiny of the whole body of marked exam scripts by an independent External Examiner (a senior academic from another university);*
  • the External Examiner concentrates particularly on marks near class borderlines;
  • careful consideration by the Board of Examiners about where to draw the class boundaries, within the guidelines established by the Faculty Board.

Please also see the Department's statement on Tripos transparency.

*The External Examiners' reports are available online.

Last updated on 17/08/2018 16:19