An Open Letter to the Proctors, regarding the Timetabling of Exams

Dear Proctors.  

We are writing to you at this busy time on one central issue: the timetabling of exams. Other letters have outlined a variety of student concerns that we hope you will take into account and this letter is by no means presented in lieu of other very reasonable requests for your consideration. Furthermore, this letter addresses a general cause beyond the specific matters of the SU's consultation paper.  

One issue that has been universally faced by undergraduate Oxford Students is an amendment to their Easter Plans. In many cases this has taken up the first weeks of the Easter break which is, evidently, the most pressing time in terms of revision for exams. Whether it has been moving home abruptly, altering their accommodation or flying to a different country - there has been a great deal of time spent reacting to either Governmental or University advice. Moreover, not returning to the sheltered learning atmosphere of Oxford will invariably impair students' working conditions for the whole of  revision.  

This letter does not seek to comment on the mode of exams, which the Prescom letter does articulately. However, it does request that exams be moved back by a period that reflects the inconvenience caused by the logistical necessity of the first few weeks of Easter. This could be a matter of weeks, but we believe it is necessary to account for the unavoidable lost time that has undoubtedly hindered people’s revision plans. We envisage that a provision could possibly take the shape of moving all earliest exam dates uniformly back by two weeks (as an example).  

We make this request in knowledge of the fact that general mitigating circumstances are likely to accounted for by all examiners. However, we believe that a couple of marks is unlikely to compensate for the mental and physical readjustment required at this time. We acknowledge that a number of options are being considered by the Proctors but we do believe that amongst those, a delay of, say, two weeks might be one of the least controversial, and one most easily implemented already at this stage. To our minds, it will not conflict substantially with any plans that many have beyond the academic term and nor will it cause a disadvantage to any students in terms of preparation for their exams, in fact quite the contrary.  

If a postponing of earliest exam dates is announced soon, it will allow students to take time to adapt to the new circumstances, to make responsible decisions in their personal affairs, and provide a minimal framework for setting up feasible revision schedules.    

Hence, at this time, we would sincerely appreciate consideration of this request, and wish you luck in the planning ahead.  


All the best,

the signatories

Franz Kohwagner, Musty Kamal    Contact the author of the petition

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