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Progress & Assessment

A record is kept of your attendance at example classes. The marks in the assessed problems are also monitored. This information, together with comments by your Tutor on your contribution to tutorials, is collected together near the end of each term and provides a basis on which your Tutor can discuss with you your progress during that term. Students whose general performance appears to suggest that there are problems will be asked to discuss the matter with the Director of Studies.

It is hoped that this relatively relaxed approach to monitoring your progress will allow the Department to identify well before the Summer examinations whether you are having major problems with the course or with adjusting to University study. We expect that, if you feel you are having difficulties, you will seek help or advice at an early stage, rather than letting things slide.


We operate a credit accumulation scheme whereby your performance in all years of your course counts towards your final degree classification. The actual scheme used depends on the programme you are following as described in the pages on Credit.

The marking system we use in all assessed and examined work is related to the honours degree classification system given below:

70% and over
A 1st class performance
60% - 69%
A 2(i) performance
50% - 59%
A 2(ii) performance
40% - 49%
A 3rd class performance
Less than 40%
A failure


In the first year, examinations are held at two points during the year. There will be written examinations for Analysis and Sets and Numbers in week 15 (first week of term 2). The remaining examinations take place in the third term in weeks 34 to 37 (weeks 5 to 8). The method of registering for the examinations and assessed work will be explained at the appropriate time.

Marks for the year are considered by the First Year Board of Examiners (FYBOE) for Science according to conventions harmonised across the University. The overall pass mark for the year is 40%. It is also necessary to achieve a satisfactory performance (40%) in each of five required core modules and to pass modules worth 80 CATS credits or more in order to proceed to the second year of the course.

The Required Core modules are:

  • Mathematical Analysis
  • Linear Algebra
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Physics Foundations
  • Classical Mechanics and Relativity

For those who do not pass at the first attempt there are re-sit examinations in September. You may wish to note that a fee is payable if re-sit examinations are taken, and travel and accommodation costs also have to be met out of your own funds. You should also note that, when the Examination Board considers the resit marks, they consider only the marks obtained in the resit examinations. These marks are not recombined with assessed coursework modules or, in the case of Mathematical Analysis, with the January examination mark.

The distribution of the lecture modules between the examination papers will be formally approved later in the academic year. The anticipated arrangements are as follows:

  • Week 15
    • MA137 Mathematical Analysis (part 1)
    • MA138 Sets and Numbers
  • Weeks 34 to 37
    • PX101 Quantum Phenomena
    • PX120 Electricity & Magnetism
    • PX145 Physics Foundations
    • PX148 Classical Mechanics and Relativity
    • Physics Options
    • PX147 Particle Physics
    • PX144 Introduction to Astronomy
  • MA137 Mathematical Analysis
  • MA106 Linear Algebra
  • MA133 Differential Equations A
  • MA125 Introduction to Geometry
  • MA136 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
  • ST111 Probability A
  • ST112 Probability B

Note that some examinations may be scheduled on Saturdays. Examination scheduling is dealt with for the whole University by the Registry and is largely outside the control of the Physics Department. The timetables are published on their website of the Examination Office.

The examination results will be published by the University after approval of the decisions. September resit papers in main subjects and any other modules decreed by the Board of Examiners are expected to take place in the first full week in September.

Assessed Work

It is a rule in the department, and elsewhere in the University, that where assessed work is submitted late, credit is normally reduced by 5% of the original total available credit for each day or part of a day by which it exceeds the deadline, and other departments apply similar penalties. Stricter rules apply to weekly problem sheets. Allowance can be made when work is missed or submitted late because of illness, provided that a medical certificate has been submitted to the staff member responsible.

Mitigating Circumstances

If your performance is likely to be (or has been) affected by personal circumstances, you can ask for these to be taken into account.


The University has Regulations defining and proscribing cheating in examinations and assessed work. You are expected to be aware of these Regulations and abide by them.

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