Undergraduate Teaching 2017-18

Part IA Examination Guidelines

Part IA Examination Guidelines

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Guidelines for Examiners and Assessors: Part IA supplement

Character of the examinations

The four papers should be set and marked in accordance with the view that the examination is to be a straightforward test of basic principles. The rubric for papers 1–4 should require candidates to answer all questions. Where appropriate a paper should be divided into two or three sections corresponding to the main subject areas examined in the paper.  The number of questions in the section should reflect the number of lectures in the corresponding subject areas.  The Chairman for Part IA has discretion to decide how the questions should be divided among the sections of each paper.

The Part IA examinations shall each comprise eight straightforward questions carrying 10 marks each, and four searching questions carrying 30 marks each. The straightforward questions should be labeled “short” on the exam paper, and should be set such that a fully correct solution could be obtained by an average candidate within 9 minutes, if that candidate has tackled the associated examples papers during the year. The searching questions should be labeled “long” and should begin with a straightforward part that introduces the topic of the question, with later parts requiring synthesis of knowledge or problem-solving in less familiar circumstances.

Target average

At the setting stage, Examiners should aim for a target average on the written paper of 60-65%.  When coursework marks are included the overall average can be expected to increase by c.4%.

Additional information

Confidential advice on examining

Practical information about Part I exams

Part IA Coursework and Exam Credit notice

Marking & classing criteria

Exam data retention policy

Regulations for the Engineering Tripos

Guidelines for Examiners and Assessors: key points for all Parts

  1. Examiners and Assessors are required to adhere to the timetable and detailed instructions provided by the Chairman of Examiners.
  2. Form and conduct notices that detail any changes to the examinations from the previous year are published annually in the Cambridge University Reporter.
  3. External Examiners have an important role to play in our examinations. In particular, Examiners should pay due attention to comments made on their draft question papers by the External Examiner.
  4. The exam paper will show the approximate number of marks for each part of a question in the right margin, the mark to be level with the end of the paragraph(s) to which it refers.
  5. Examiners must follow all aspects of agreed policies on security.
  6. Symbols used in questions should be clearly defined except where the definitions are systematically provided in examination data books or data sheets.
  7. No comments whatsoever should be made on the scripts.
  8. Each Examiner should mark the scripts in accordance with the published Marking & Classing Criteria.
  9. All aspects of the marking process must be fully auditable and defensible in case of an appeal.  Examiners must mark the scripts in such a way that a third party (e.g. a checker, External Examiner or Chair of Examiners) can understand what process has been followed. 
  10. Where a candidate answers more than the required number of questions the Examiner should mark all the questions answered and then exclude from the marks recorded the question(s) scoring the lowest mark(s).  

Progression requirements

Progression requirements for the Engineering Course are presented in the Statutes and Ordinance of the University. The text below summarizes the key elements of the regulation.


Honours result

An honours result (at class I, II.1, II.2 or III) in the exam at the end of Part IIA qualifies a student for the BA (Hons) degree. To qualify for the MEng degree, a student must be successful in the Part IIB exam at either pass, merit or distinction standard.


Standard for entry to Part IB

In order to be of standing to take Part IB Engineering, students will be required to have obtained honours in Part IA of the course.

Standard for entry to Part IIA

In order to be of standing to take Part IIA Engineering, students will be required to have obtained honours in Part IB of the course.

Case of Incomers to Part IIA

A student who wishes to be considered for transfer to Part IIA Engineering will normally be expected to have achieved a II.1 or better in his or her last honours examination.  The Faculty Board has agreed that the Director of Undergraduate Education must endorse all requests for transfers into the Engineering Tripos before it will consider the applications.

Standard for entry to Part IIB

The Faculty Board’s regulations state that students must normally achieve at least a II.2 in either Part IB or Part IIA (and achieve Honours in Part IIA) in order to be of standing to take Part IIB of either the Engineering or the Manufacturing Engineering Triposes.

In order to be of standing to take Part IIB Engineering, students must have taken Part IIA Engineering.

Students are warned that proceeding to the BA degree after completing Part IIA of either the Engineering or Manufacturing Engineering Triposes would preclude them from continuing with either Tripos and from being awarded the M.Eng. degree.  

Any student who does not plan to stay for Part IIB is asked to let the Teaching Office know.

Last updated on 12/09/2016 14:37