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Live! - Opinion

This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

Study Abroad - exams vs. ski/beer/beach/party

Mar 15 2004 22:35
Andrew Caisley
Le Potage explains how studying abroad need not mean failing your degree.
Exams: don't we just love them...

After 6 months preparing our thoughts to match exactly the smell of a ripe Camembert we continue our series telling you when, why and how to go about sorting yourself out a funky little trip to somewhere even nicer than London.

This week we have decided to spend an entire article convincing you that spending a year abroad will NOT mean you fail your degree. As far as we can tell 90% of people who wimp out do so for this reason.


The idea that being abroad for a year "harms" your degree is the biggest misconception since Gollum spent a drunken night in a motel with Miss Piggy.

Most students accept that the main reason for going to university is not to pass exams. This is easy to believe as papers are universally badly written, riddled with grammatical errors, ask four hours of questions on things no-one cares about and always clash with England vs. Brazil. Surprisingly the people that write exams also care little about them. Given the excuse, or "valid medical reason" as they like to call it, senior tutors love to base your degree classification on your shoe size, whether you are a nice person or even (God forbid!) coursework. This is because they know that you will never have to take another exam in your life and more importantly because they can mark coursework without ever reading it.

An illustrative example - a final year electrical engineering student abroad has their mark made up of 40% final year project, 20% dissertation in English, and 40% exams. The exams are on a minimum of just 100 hours of taught courses. This doesn't mean a year abroad is an easy option. What it does mean is that you aren't penalised for going abroad and taking the initiative.

The above theory leads to the following conclusion. By providing the valid medical reason that "I am not Polish", you will not be expected to do as well as Polish people in Polish exams. Your tutors will take into account your results before you go abroad, after you go abroad and a lot of multiplicative factors which you know little about to ensure that you get what you deserve.

Of course what you deserve may be a hangover, in that case, hard luck!

Next week, money - how to get it!

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Discussion about “Study Abroad - exams vs. ski/beer/beach/party”

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.
Mar 15 2004 23:52

Indeed, EE has a policy that the foreign institution's grade will only ever be moderated up and not down. I quote (more-or-less) a Senior Department source: "You're not going to do badly from a year abroad". Therefore, the message to all who dare is: "Do it and enjoy it!"

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