Undergraduate Teaching

Part IB Examination Guidelines

Part IB Examination Guidelines

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Guidelines for Examiners and Assessors: Part IB supplement

Character of the examinations

The character of the Part IB examination should reflect a transition from the straightforward ‘prelim’ style test of basic principles in Part IA to the more searching assessments of Parts IIA and IIB, where students will be tested on more advanced problems relating to engineering practice.  With this in mind, it is recommended that questions should be structured so that about two-thirds of each question follows the IA style and is entirely straightforward.  The remaining part should aim to be a little more demanding and should, as far as possible, integrate with and extend the earlier parts of the question.  If this cannot easily be achieved, the question may be set in separate parts.  In either case, setters and checkers should ensure that the greater part of each question is entirely straightforward. 

The rubric for the two-hour papers (papers 1-7) should state that candidates are expected to attempt not more than four questions.  Where appropriate, a paper may be divided into two or three sections that correspond to the main subject areas to be examined in the paper.  The number of questions in the section should reflect the number of lectures in the corresponding subject areas. 


The only checker is the course Lecturer (or Lecturers). It is essential that all Lecturers see the entire paper, even if they are only responsible for checking one question.

Target average

At the setting stage, Examiners should aim for a target average on the written paper in the range 60% to 65%.  When coursework marks are included the overall average can be expected to increase by c.6%. 

Checks should be made that the average mark is in line with the target average and the proportions in each class for the paper are broadly similar to the norm for the Tripos overall.  Where there is a significant discrepancy the Chairman should be consulted and consideration given to either modifying the marking scheme or otherwise adjusting the marks.  If after consultation it is agreed that the marks should be scaled this should be done to the least degree consistent with producing the required change.

Rex Moir Prize

The Rex Moir Prize shall be awarded annually by the Examiners to the candidate who has shown the greatest distinction in that examination.


Additional information

Advice on good practice in examining

Practical information about Part I exams

Part IB Coursework and Exam Credit notice

Marking & classing criteria

Exam data retention policy

Regulations for the Engineering Tripos

There is no form and conduct notice for Part IB in 2016-17.

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).  

Last updated on 25/08/2016 01:07