“Ridiculous excuse for an exam paper” given to accounting students

THE SCHOOL of Management and Business has become the subject of criticism as students taking Financial Accounting 3: Group Financial Reporting discovered mistakes in their exam paper. The exam is worth 80% of the core module.

Not only is the module convenor being criticised for the mistakes in her exam paper, but the University procedure for dealing with the mistakes has also been called into question.

Several students noticed that a balance sheet, essential for answering a 35 mark question (which was 45% of the exam grade) was incorrect, and an invigilator was notified approximately 45 minutes into the two hour exam. The module convenor was then contacted, and students were informed that there was a mistake around halfway through the exam. Students were not however informed as a group, but individually, meaning the last students to be told were left with only ten minutes to correct their answers. No extra time was provided and many students left questions unanswered on their papers due to the time taken to rectify the mistake. It has been alleged that one student, who was taking the exam in a separate room, was left completely unaware of the situation.

Whilst the invigilators were telling students of the mistake, another error was noticed regarding the wording of tax years. This mistake was not relayed to the module convenor; instead students were individually informed that the wording confused other students.

Students who complained to the module convenor have been informed that their papers, which carry professional accreditation, will be marked “sympathetically” and that all markers will be made aware of the mistake. This has failed to appease many of the students involved. Whilst some would like the paper declared void and be re-issued in the summer resit period, this would mean they would be unable to graduate as expected in July.

Guild of Students Education Officer Jess Leigh said:

 I was thoroughly disappointed to hear from students of the numerous mistakes in the AC30920 exam paper on 28th May. It should have been checked for mistakes when lecturers and academic staff submit exam papers for quality assurance and moderation. I have contacted the department to ensure students will be represented at any meeting about this and students get the opportunity express their frustrations on this unacceptable error.

An anonymous student had this to say:

“I don’t see how the exam can be marked sympathetically when it carries professional accreditation, perhaps for just a normal internal exam, but not for an exam of this importance.

A few minutes into the exam a mistake had been spotted in another paper and a public announcement was made across the sports cage to draw attention to this. When mistakes were spotted in our exam we were approached one-by-one. Is it really fair that some are informed about mistakes before others, leaving those informed last with less time to make adequate changes?

How will provisions be made for time wasted attempting to understand the mistakes in our calculations, when it was indeed the paper that was littered with mistakes?”

Another student told The Courier that it was ” a ridiculous excuse for an exam paper” and their ”confidence was knocked and valuable time was taken up in trying to make sense of this flawed paper.”

In a statement to The Courier, a University spokesperson said:

The University is investigating reports of an error on a paper during examinations on Monday 28 May. The relevant Examination Boards will be informed of the circumstances. These will be taken into account during the marking/exam board process to ensure that any affected students are not disadvantaged. We always seek to ensure that circumstances affecting student performance are fully considered.