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Exams disrupted by spurious fire alert

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Apr 23 2002 14:01

Students sitting exams in EEE herded out due to spurious fire alert!

Apr 23 2002 16:58

I was bemused, as was the rest of college no doubt. From what I could tell, there was a full evac of college buildings. Hmmmm. A rehearsal for tomorrow's possible riot perhaps????

Apr 23 2002 17:11

At least it wasn't an exam being disrupted by the Southide beer delivery, birds copulating in the trees and the flight-path to Heathrow...

I could go on for hours about tents...

3. Tim   
Apr 23 2002 17:29

I have a cunning so cunning that I can call it a fox.

Its to do the same thing on the day of my exams, so I can access my pre-hidden notes during the evacuation.

Well Done. Timmy

Apr 23 2002 19:16

Dude, cunning or not, announcing your intentions to a rather popular web site kind of flaws the plan... :)


Apr 24 2002 17:05

I think you'll find that there would not be much passing of answers in an Oxford exam under these circumstances, as Oxford take the whole idea of bell-curving exam results much further than IC. In Oxford you are not graded based on your actual exam results, you are graded solely on your position in the "league table" of your year's results. So helping other students can directly lower your grade unless they are either way above or way below you. Very cut-throat, isn't it?

6. Sunil   
Apr 24 2002 21:58

The only issue with that is that Oxford dishes out way more 1st class degrees than IC does. You have to be genuinely thick or moronic to end up with a 3rd there.

7. Tim   
Apr 24 2002 23:58

And they rank the people who failed their exams "O" - stands for ORDINARY.


Apr 25 2002 16:03

They give out a fixed proportion of 3rds each year. You don't have to be thick at all, you just have to get beaten by enough of the other students in your year. It doesn't matter how high your marks are, if they beat you, you lose.

9. Sunil   
Apr 26 2002 16:25

I you are going to be beaten by over half your class, you must most definitely be thick - at least compared with all of those people who have or potentially would have beaten you.

Unless the examination system is so flawed that it becomes a giant memory test as opposed to a genuine test of intellect and critical reasoning faculties.

Pweople never just "beat you" in an exam, they do better because they are either better prepared or they just know their stuff better than you do. If you are significantly behind, you must be thick.

Apr 26 2002 16:36

Even Hamish managed a 2:2!

Apr 27 2002 12:32

If people are better prepared ie they have practiced their stuff more or they know their stuff better, then that implies that exams ARE a big memory test.

Most exams here give you about 60% of the marks for a question if you can do half of that question. It is only usually the last 15% or so of a question that you actually need some intellect to answer. If exams weren't largely a memory test, why aren't they all open book? Surely that would test your ability to manipulate new concepts or very complicated ones (requiring more intellect I would have thought)

It is very possible for very unclever people to walk away from any university with a first, including this one! The majority of people that I would class as being clever or intellectual, from experience, are not averaging a first. This is why when it comes to admission of potsgrads, the academics here largely look to see if you have a 2:1 or higher and then forget about the rest of your grades and go on an interview or their knowledge of you. Peter Knight, the head of the physics dept. only got a 2:1 as an undergrad!

"If you are significantly behind you must be thick!" Hmmmmm from your argument I would guess that you are someone who memorises things for exams and is still bitter about not getting into oxbridge.

12. Sunil   
Apr 27 2002 13:21

Did I say that you are thick if you get a 2:1?

You make my argument yourself. If it is that easy to get 60% of the marks - ie a 2:1 - then by your own argument something must be wrong with you for you to get less than 50% overall.

The first 60% of marks are made easy to obtain for two reasons. Firstly, there is a base level of knowledge you want to make sure every student has acquired from the course... and this is so basic that you can't really make it difficult at all. At least in DoC a good three-quarters of the department's students are "coasters", happy to get a 2:1 with little or no effort. Secondly, many subjects that are taught here are new and not well-established enough to allow for a whole process of objective examination and moderation. So examiners take the easy way out - they have to.

Examinations have never pretended to be a test of intellect. You have IQ tests for that, however flawed they are. Examinations are intended and designed to reward those who can apply their critical faculties to their subjects. And that implies that you must know something about the subject. Something that is qualitatively different from learning pages of equations or past-paper solutions.

Your guess about my bitterness regarding Oxbridge rejection is plain wrong, given that I didn't see the need to even apply to either place. Why would I want to when Imperial had the ISE course?

Apr 27 2002 14:05

Firstly, hardly any subjects that are taught here are new! Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Engineering, Geology, Mining and Metallurgy and the various sub groups of them. All of them date back over 100 years. New subjects such as oh let me see Computing and ISE (which I believe you're studying) are reasonably new, but the older ones far outnumber them!

Secondly you say exams never pretended to be a test of intellect but had previously implied that they should be: "Unless the examination system is so flawed that it becomes a giant memory test as opposed to a genuine test of intellect and critical reasoning faculties."

Critical reasoning faculties..... I agree, but this would be evident in an open book test too.

"Something that is qualitatively different from learning pages of equations or past-paper solutions." Hmmmm but like I said this only usually applies to last 15% of each question or so, meaning that you can get a first without having to apply "critical reasoning faculties," thus not necessarily being very clever.

People who get grades lower than 2:1 aren't necessarily thick, perhaps they are just unmotivated to learn vast amounts of material as they might have been spending their time doing something more constructive and interesting (or earning money to survive X years in London.)

People who I think are thick are those who can't see past exam grades.

14. Sunil   
Apr 27 2002 20:43

I'm sorry, how did this sort of pre-pubescent "my dick is larger then yours"-style ranting get here? That is hardly the kind of ratiocination worthy of an Imperial student, is it, you faceless, nameless coward?

starbuck, we're clearly arguing at cross-purposes. Of course plenty of people here lose interest in their subjects here. But if somebody is reasonably motivated and does work hard and still proceeds to screw up and get beaten by all and sundry, they must be thick!! How else would you put it?

15. Editor   
Apr 28 2002 00:09

While Live! makes every effort to respect personal opinions, this is not a forum for personal abuse. Therefore "Legend, Hero, Drunk" and "Foo" I have removed your posts.

If you want to personally insult someone, why don't you do it to their face?

(incidently, for everyone else - the "pre-pubescent" stuff that Sunil refers to above is what I have removed.)

Apr 28 2002 11:45

Well, Sunil, that again is down to the individual. Perhaps if someone is working hard, doesn't have any financial problems or worries, doesn't have anything happen (like family or friend bereavement - does happen sometimes), is well motivated, doesn't have any major distractions or other committments and is generally focussed on doing their studies and still screws up - then yes perhaps they are thick. But that is not how your initial argument started (it was I beleive a generalisation.) Also how many people do you know that are exactly as I described above. I don't know any, except those deliberately working for high firsts (obviously you have to leave out the screwing up part there)

17. Sunil   
Apr 28 2002 14:31

Very true: I was generalising on a grand scale. But then this isn't a serious debate - I was just trying to slag off Oxford wasters!

Are you sure degrees are dished out by quota at Oxford? Because 90% of degrees there end up being 2.1 or better (according to The Times' GUG). For IC, it's just 70%. Cambridge is worse since the final degree is unclassified so a 1st or 2.1 in either Part I or Part II counts as a "good degree" for the GUG!

18. Kevin   
Apr 28 2002 21:54

As Sunil correctly states; Cambridge BA degrees are not classified into the usual "division of honours" first, 2:1, 2:2 3rd. Component parts of the degree, in essance each year's work, are graded in this way.

Graduate employers, research councils, and many newspapers compiling statistics take the result achieved in the final year, as the degree result. People tend to get better marks in the final year of their degree than in earlier years, so this arrangement works well for Cambridge students.

Quoting averages for 2:1 and above degrees across the Imperial college is of little value. Individual students are only interested in the statistics for their own departments. At Imperial there is a huge amount of disparagy between departments when it comes to the proportions of each class of degree awarded. The percentage of 2:1 and above ranges from 50% in maths and physics, to over eighty percent in EEE.

As for the apparant good behaviour of the EEE students - perhaps they were not prepared to risk the serious consequences of being caught cheating in an examination at IC.

As can be seen from the below official report of a recent case of a Cambridge student dozy enough to get caught cheating - the consequences relatively speaking rather mild. Considering that similar behaviour in an A level exam would be highly likley to disqualify you from taking any exams with any board for two years.

"Court of Discipline: Notice

The Court of Discipline met on 3?December 2001 (Professor W. R. Cornish in the Chair, Mrs N. Blanning, Dr G. Meeks, Mr A. J. Raban, and Professor K. Spark-Jones; Clerk: Dr A. Clark) to consider a charge brought by the University Advocate that an undergraduate had used unfair means, namely the use of unauthorized material, in a Tripos Examination in 2001. On the application of the undergraduate the Court consisted of senior members only; and sat in camera. The Court concluded that the offence was serious and that there was a need to mark it by significant penalty, but they also took into account substantial evidence in mitigation which was presented. The Court also took into account that the student had admitted the offence, and had expressed remorse and profound regret.

The Court ordered that the student's candidature for Honours in the relevant examination should be cancelled and noted that this would have the effect of giving the student the allowance towards the Ordinary B.A. Degree. "

19. gEEEk   
Jul 02 2002 23:48

80% of people in EEE get 2:1 or above? Christ, I feel stupid now. Strange though, seeing as we seem to have a greater number of exams (which are f****** hard) than most courses. Most people on other courses have in fact heard tht EEE is one of the toughest courses you can do at IC. And yet they say we seem to have most 2:1 results. Wait a minute... is this blatant bollocks or are we all amazingly brilliant? Because I can point out more than 20% of my year that will not get a 2:1. Are people lying to me about how well they do or am I just in the dumb crowd of my class?

Jul 03 2002 15:39

Hmmmm, 1 in 5 getting a 2:2 or below does seem quite low to me - I think I would have to agree with gEEEk here.

Having said that, maybe (pure speculation here) those on the 4 year course might (as people getting lower than 50% in the second year aren't allowed on the course).

Just a thought.

Jul 03 2002 17:28

Exams are a test of one's laziness - not of one's intelligence.

Since most students at Imperial do not have lives - they tend to spend their time studying and that becomes the highlight of their day.

Yet again - sad but true...

Jul 10 2002 19:58

I think I'm missing the point - how does that equate to laziness.

Closed This discussion is closed.

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