Top tips on Exams & Assessments

Make sure you know what the deadlines and requirements are for all your assignments. If in doubt email the lecturer. Check the location of the Exam Halls and make sure you give yourself enough time to get there, especially if using public transport! Check the start / finish times of each Exam and plan how you will allocate time to each question on the paper. Check that you have your student ID card and the correct exam entry information (bizarrely this varies from site to site so if in doubt ask the Exams Office what is required beforehand). Leave the phone switched off in your bag / locker or even at home (yes, you'll manage without it). If you’re caught with a phone on your person in the Exam Hall you are in serious trouble. Don’t sneak in ‘notes’ - it’s cheating and if you’re caught there will be serious consequences.

Be positive and give it your best shot!

Q. What if… I want to defer my exams/assessments?

You can once you have valid reasons and apply to your Head of School for the Deferral in plenty of time.

The Regulations state

Deferral of Assessment

  •  If an application for deferral of an assessment is made by a candidate not later the one month prior to scheduled date for that assessment, then the Head of School, or nominee, may approve such a deferral without penalty.
  • If an application for a deferral of assessment is made by a candidate within one month prior to the scheduled date for that assessment, then the Head of School, or nominee may approve the deferral only in exceptional circumstances.
  • The form is available from the DIT website on the DIT website here or from the SU Offices and the Exams offices.


 

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Q. What is a Personal Circumstances Form (PC1)?

Often personal issues of one sort or another can affect a student's academic progress. It can happen that due to family, health, personal issues or worries a student can feel everything is too much to cope with. If such circumstances exist and are affecting you, it is important you let the relevant academic staff know so this can be taken into account when your marks are being considered.

The General Assessment Regulations, among other things, make provision for an Examination candidate who feels that personal or other serious difficulties, for example accident, illness or bereavement, which were largely unforeseen and adversely affected their performance in an assessment and wishes to bring this to the attention of the Examination Board.  It should be noted that the examination board will normally require the student to complete the learning outcomes for a module.

The PC1 Form can only be used to determine if a student should undertake an alternative form of assessment or if a student’s next attempt at an assessment / Examination will be considered as their first attempt or second (or subsequent) attempt.  The PC1 Form cannot be used to alter a mark or exempt a student from completing the learning outcomes of the programme.  Personal Circumstances as envisaged under this regulation relate to serious adverse factors only.

In short the PC1 form will ensure that if you have to re-sit an exam at the Supplemental Exams at the end of the summer your marks won’t be capped at 40%.

The Personal Circumstances (PC1) Form is available on  the DIT website - here from  the Exams office or if you drop into your local SU office and we will give you a copy. You must supply independent supporting evidence to confirm the details. There is a Professional Opinion form attached which enables your Doctor, Counsellor, Chaplain or other professional to verify what you’ve described.

  • This must be handed in to your Exams Office within two days of sitting your final exam or at the same time as an assignment is due.
  • Remember that it is not possible to submit this form after your results are published, for obvious reasons

Do I need to have a Professional Opinion (PO) form? Is a Doctor’s Cert enough?
The Regulations state that either will suffice. In some instances it’s more convenient to get the PO form signed but don’t stress if you don’t have it.

Do I give the PC1 form to my lecturer/ Tutor?
No. The Exams Office is responsible for collecting the PC1 forms and ensuring that the Exam Board is notified when a student has verified personal circumstances. By all means inform your Tutor or the lecturers - you could email them to indicate that you've had some unexpected difficulty or give them a copy if you wish.

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Q. What if… I’m late for an exam?

This really depends on how late you are as the Regulations state that if you arrive  more than a half an hour after the start time you won't be allowed in. In some rare and unusual circumstances the Exams Officer may allow you in but you don't have a chance if another candidate has left the Exam Hall already.

If there was some unexpected traumatic event or if you were sick your Doctor should confirm the details and you can hand in the Personal Circumstances Form (PC1) to the Exams office – within 2 days of your last exam.

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Q. What if… I’m sick in the middle of an exam?

If you are feeling unwell during the exam, notify one of the Invigilators (the person supervising).  You are allowed leave the Exam Hall temporarily and must be accompanied by one of the staff at all times.

If you are able to continue you will be allowed to do so and may be given extra time at the end.

After you finish you should get yourself to a Doctor / the DIT Health Centre for a check-up. Also get a PC 1 form confirming your illness and hand into the Exams Office as soon as possible / within 2 days of your last exam.

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Q. What if… I’m sick on the day and miss my exam?

It's not the end of the world if you're sick the day of the exam although it might seem so at the time. Unexpected illness happens to us all so don’t panic. Make sure to get yourself checked out by a Doctor who will be able to sign your PC1 Form to confirms your illness. This might mean that you’re given the chance to take the exam as a first attempt at the next sitting.

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Q. What if I find a mistake or something missing on the Exam paper during an exam?

Tell the Invigilator straight away. They will then contact the Exams Office who will get the lecturer who wrote the paper to clarify the mistake for all. You should be given extra time to make up for any delay that this causes.

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Q. Can I bring any sort of calculator into my exams?

No. There’s a list of approved calculators that are acceptable for your modules and if you bring in an unauthorised calculator that isn’t on the list it will be confiscated and it may be considered a deliberate breach of the Regulations. You may face serious penalties. So ask the Exams Office for the approved list and stick to it.

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Q. What if... I injure myself / break an arm/leg / finger etc before/during the exams?

If this happens and you are allowed by your GP / Medical Expert to sit the exams you should contact the Disability Service and your local Exams Office and let them know. DIT is committed to ensuring that students with any temporary or permanent disabilities are in no way disadvantaged in Exams. Specific examination and other assessment arrangements may be made that are intended to enable candidates to perform to the best of their ability; they are not intended to give any unfair advantage to the candidate.

If you have an accident in the run up to or during the exam period and are incapacitated in some way you may be able to get a scribe, extra time and/or the use of special equipment. While every effort will be made to provide the necessary facilities, it may not be possible to meet all requirements in every case.

The Disability Liaison Officer will advise on any evidence / needs assessment which may be required, (e.g. medical and / or psychological evidence) and will liaise with the Head(s) of Department and the Exams Office regarding appropriate examination arrangements such as getting extra time, the use of a scribe or reader.

Further details of specific arrangements for students with disabilities can be obtained from the Disability Services Office by email to disability.services@dit.ie.

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Q. What if… I FAIL a module… can I get COMPENSATION?

If you don’t reach the pass mark in a module but have performed well in all others you may be allowed an overall pass by transferring the ‘extra’ marks to bring you up to the pass level.

NOTE: ‘Pass by Compensation’ when applied, enables the student to pass the entire year overall – it cannot be used to minimize the numbers of repeats a student will have to undertake at the supplemental exams (repeats).

Definition taken from the General Assessment Regulations ‘Compensation is the procedure whereby a candidate’s overall assessment performance may be used to compensate for partial failure and justify progression to the subsequent stage of a programme or to be eligible for an award’.

And be warned compensation doesn’t automatically apply. It’s a general principle that it may, but the decision is at the discretion of the Exam Board, bearing in mind the rules of each specific Programme. On some programmes core modules are exempt from compensation. In some instances the Board may consider that it is in the student’s best academic interest to retake a module or exam.

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Q. What if...I want feedback on my marks?

Once your results are published online you then have a ‘Four Days for Feedback’ period to view your script and have a discussion about the marks etc with the lecturers before using the more formal recheck/remark/appeals processes.  This is your chance to get feedback on your work. These discussions with the lecturer are designed to clarify the basis for the marks.

Following your Feedback session if you still think or know there are errors in how the marks were calculated you can apply for a Recheck (€15 per module); hand the form to the Exams office within 3 working days.

You can also seek a Remark if you believe that there are issues with the marks. This costs €60 per module and once again you submit the form to your local Exams Office. However, there is no guarantee that it will be marked by a different lecturer or that the marks will increase in fact they may decrease.

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Q. What if… I want to have the Exam/Assessment RE-MARKED?

If you have discussed your marks in detail with your lecturer and are convinced that you should have received better marks you can get the work remarked.

You fill out the A/R2 form (available here or  from the Exams Office/ DITSU Offices and on this website), pay the €60 fee and submit to the Exams Office within 5 working days of the feedback being given on your results.

One thing to watch out for here is the possibility that your marks may stay the same or drop and you will have to accept the revised mark.

In the event that the re-mark changes the mark, the Head of School will arrange for the Exam Board to be reconvened so that the new mark will be recorded. In the event that a Re-mark application is successful the fee will be refunded.

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Q. What if… I want to Appeal? What’s the story then?

The 3 grounds for Appeal are: -

  • That the Regulations of the DIT not been properly implemented (e.g. something has happened that directly conflicted with the DIT’s own rules).
  • A circumstance occurred that is not specifically covered by the Regulations.
  • New attested, documented and relevant information is provided that wasn’t made available to the Exam Board, i.e.: a lost answer book.

You have 7 working days from getting feedback to submit an appeal to the Exams Office. The form you need is an A/A1form. It costs €75 to appeal, but your money will be refunded if you’re successful.

If your appeal is eligible (i.e. within the 3 grounds specified), the Appeals Board will meet to consider your case and you will be requested to attend the Hearing. The members will be fair to you as they are interested in listening what you have to say. You can bring a parent/guardian/friend. The Students’ Union can also attend with you and help in presenting your case.

You cannot appeal on the following grounds:

  • That the exam didn't follow previous formats or the format you expected;
  • That someone you know did better than you when you would usually score the same;
  • That your lecturer didn't provide the class with sample/pilot papers. It’s nice when they do, but they're not obliged to;
  • That you did well in all your continuous assessments during the semester. Exams and continuous assessments are different and you can’t make assumptions from one to the other;
  • That you didn't do a lab or class you needed to have done. This is not the Exam Boards’ fault;
  • That you 'think' you should have done better. Appeals that start with, 'I hoped to do better....', I was disappointed with my mark.' will just be turned away. The way you 'feel' you've done does not fall under the 3 grounds for appeal.

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Q. What if… I'm caught breaking the Rules… accidentally or on purpose?

The Exam Regulations state very clearly that students cannot have any 'unauthorised' material or equipment with them at an exam.

This includes notes of any description and MOBILE PHONES!

There has been a significant increase in the number of students caught with their phone on their person - this means in their pocket, on the desk or close by them; these were judged to be in breach of the General Assessment Regulations and plentalities have been imposed as such.

The only equipment allowed is that which has been authorised by both the Examinations Office and the Disability Service.

All students are expected to be aware of and abide by DITs regulations.  Ignorance or saying you were not aware is never  accepted as an excuse, neither will saying that you made a mistake, forgot, was in a hurry etc.

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Q. What penalties are handed out if a student breaches the Exam Regulations, for example for sneaking in notes in or having a smart phone in your pocket?

The penalties that are applied depend on the evidence in each situation.  The Regulations allow the following to the Panel of Enquiry that investigates allegations against students:-

The Panel of Enquiry shall determine the actual penalty to be applied having regard to the seriousness of the incident and the guidelines set out in the following sections. These penalties may be applied either separately or in combination. Where the Panel has found a student to be in breach of the Regulations and before determining the penalty to be imposed, the Panel should take into account any previous breaches by the particular student. The Panel of Enquiry may, at its discretion:

  1. deem the student to be innocent of the allegation(s). In such a case the Examination Board shall be instructed to consider the assessment results in the normal manner;
  2. issue a written warning to the student.  In such a case the student may be informed that the written warning constitutes a formal record of breach of assessment regulations;
  3. deem the student to have failed all or part of the assessments for the stage or year of the programme.  In such a case the Panel of Enquiry shall determine the period of time which shall elapse before the student is entitled to be reassessed;
  4. determine if the student shall be ineligible for any special award of the Institute;
  5. suspend the student from all activities of the Institute for a stated period; In such cases the suspension order shall be signed by the President.
  6. recommend to Academic Council the expulsion of the student from the Institute. In such a case the expulsion order shall be signed by the President.

Numbers 3, 4. 5 can all have a serious negative impact on a students’ academic career; it’s not worth it to deliberately attempt to get unfair advantage with cheat notes so don’t do it. Similarly getting caught with a phone either by accident / on purpose can have equally serious consequences.

expulsion is very rare occurring only in the case of ongoing / repeated deliberate breaches of the Regulations.

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