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4: Examinations


Much of your assessment will be in the form of University examinations. In some departments where modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination, examiners prohibit you from answering exam questions that overlap with coursework previously submitted. This is not the case in Economics. In all EC-coded examination papers, you may answer any question subject to the restrictions (rubric) written on the question paper itself, regardless of the assessed work you have submitted. Modules offered by other departments have their own examination methods. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with these, particularly regarding their rules and procedures for assessed work.

In principle, all materials outlined in the module overview document, content presented in lectures and in Support and Feedback Classes, and content from further readings, are examinable. The module syllabus, given on the module webpage, also indicates what is examinable. We do not specify what topics are to be included in or excluded from examinations, as is standard procedure in the Department and the University.

MSc Assessment and Examination Scheme (L1P6, L1P7)

The following are guidelines only, and the Board of Examiners reserves the right to exercise its discretion in individual cases. The exam scheme should be read in conjunction with the Rules for Award.

(A) Examination Components

The examination components for the MSc in Economics and MSc in Economics and International Financial Economics are as follows, with the weighting of the module mark towards the final mark being in proportion to the number of CATS listed:

Comp Module Weighting* CATS
A1 Economic Analysis
23.9% 44
A2 Quantitative Methods:
Econometrics
27.1% 50
A3 Optional Module 1 9.8% 18
A4 Optional Module 2 9.8% 18
A5 Optional Module 3 9.8% 18
A6 MSc dissertation 19.6% 36

* in Overall Average

(B) To be allowed to proceed to the MSc dissertation

You will normally need to pass:

  • The components A1 and A2 with a mark of 50.0% or more; and
  • A mark of 50.0% or more on at least two of the three components of the MSc listed above as A3, A4 and A5, providing that a mark of 40.0% or more is obtained in the failed component.

You normally have one opportunity to remedy failure in modules.

(C) To be awarded the MSc

You must also get a mark of 50.0% or more for the component A6 (dissertation). You can resubmit a failed dissertation once.

(D) To be awarded the PG Diploma in place of the MSc

You will have to obtain:

  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in components A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5 totalling at least 90 CATS; and
  • A mark of 40.0% or more in failed components A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5 totalling at least 30 CATS; and
  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in at least one core module and one optional module.

The PG Diploma will also be awarded if you fail to get a mark of 50.0% or more for the dissertation.

(E) To be awarded the PG Certificate in place of the MSc

You will have to obtain:

  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in component A1 or A2; and
  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in component A3 or A4 or A5.

(F) Marking Scheme

The MSc degree carries a Distinction, a Merit and a Pass classification. If you have an average mark of 70.0% or higher taken across all components of the course, with no individual module mark of less than 50.0%, you will be normally considered for a Distinction. If you have an average mark of between 60.0% and 69.9% taken across all components of the course, with no individual module mark of less than 50.0%, you will be normally be considered for a Merit.

Where the weighted average for classification is within 2 percentage points of the borderline for the Distinction or Merit category, students should be promoted if at least 50% of the weighted credits counting towards the classification are above the class boundary and this should include the dissertation.

For the purposes of the individual elements of the course, the following marking conventions are in place:

Mark Grade
70.0% and above Distinction
60.0% - 69.9% Merit
50.0% - 59.9% Pass
49.9% and below Fail

(G) Resitting Students

Normally resit marks will be based on the combined exam and assessment weights. All resit marks are capped at 50.0% for A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6. Where a student has failed to reach the minimum pass mark for a module which contains more than one element of assessment, the student shall normally be required to be re-examined only in the element(s) of the assessment which has(have) not met the minimum pass mark, noting that the appropriate method of reassessment is determined by the Board of Examiners.

MSc Assessment and Examination Scheme (C8P8)

The following are guidelines only, and the Board of Examiners reserves the right to exercise its discretion in individual cases. The exam scheme should be read in conjunction with the Rules for Award.

(A) Examination Components

The examination components for the MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track) are as follows, with the weighting of the module mark towards the final mark being in proportion to the number of CATS listed:

Comp Module Weighting* CATS
Taught (core modules) Economic Analysis: Microeconomics 11.8% 22

Quantitative Methods: Econometrics 16.1% 30

Issues in Psychological Science 8% 15

Methods and Analysis in Behavioural Science 8% 15
Taught (optional modules)

5 modules

Each 8% 15
Project (core module) Research Project 16.1% 30

* in Overall Average

(B) To be awarded the MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track)

You will normally have to achieve:

  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in modules totalling at least 150 CATS, including all core modules; and
  • A mark of 40.0% or more in any failed modules.

You normally have one opportunity to remedy failure in modules.

You can resubmit a failed project once.

(C) To be awarded the PG Diploma in place of the MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track)

You will have to achieve:

  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in modules totalling at least 90 CATS; and
  • A mark of 40.0% or more in any failed modules totalling at least 30 CATS; and
  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in at least two core modules.

The PG Diploma will also be awarded if you fail to get a mark of 50.0% or more for the project.

(D) To be awarded the PG Certificate in place of the MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track)

You will have to obtain:

  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in modules totalling at least 60 CATS; and
  • A pass mark of 50.0% or more in at least two core modules.

(E) Marking Scheme

The MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track) degree carries a Distinction, a Merit and a Pass classification. If you have an average mark of 70.0% or higher taken across all components of the course, with no individual module mark of less than 50.0%, you will be normally considered for a Distinction. If you have an average mark of between 60.0% and 69.9% taken across all components of the course, with no individual module mark of less than 50.0%, you will be normally considered for a Merit.

Where the weighted average for classification is within 2 percentage points of the borderline for the Distinction or Merit category, students should be promoted if at least 50% of the weighted credits counting towards the classification are above the class boundary and this should include the project.

For the purposes of the individual elements of the course, the following marking conventions are in place:

Mark Grade
70.0% and above Distinction
60.0% - 69.9% Merit
50.0% - 59.9% Pass
49.9% and below Fail

(F) Resitting Students

Normally, resit marks will be based on the combined exam and assessment weights. All resit marks are capped at 50.0% for modules in the taught and project components. Where a student has failed to reach the minimum pass mark for a module which contains more than one element of assessment, the student shall normally be required to be re-examined only in the element(s) of the assessment which has(have) not met the minimum pass mark, noting that the appropriate method of reassessment is determined by the Board of Examiners.

Exam timetable

MSc examinations normally take place in January (Economic Analysis modules) and weeks three and four of the Summer Term (Quantitative Methods: Econometrics and optional modules). Resit examinations take place in September. Exams for modules run by other departments may be scheduled at other times.

Please note that the central University Exams Office is responsible for scheduling exams and, as such, the Department has no control over which exams are held on which day. The scheduling process is very complex and, whilst direct clashes will be avoided, it is quite common for students to have two papers on the same day, or papers on adjacent days, and this is comparable to the position at other UK universities similar to Warwick in size and complexity.

It is your responsibility to check the date, time and location of your exams and ensure you are there in time. If you miss or are late to an exam, you are not permitted to sit the exam later in the day. You will receive a mark of zero.

Online exams will take place on the Alternative Exams Portal (AEP). The portal provides some general information on how exams will be arranged online. If you need further clarification, please visit the Exam Resources webpage.

Good practice in online exams

To maximise your chances of success in an online examination, there are a number of things that you must do:

  • Familiarise yourself with the instructions on the AEP for each of your examinations and ensure that you follow them when completing your exam paper.
  • Answer the correct number of questions. If you answer more than the required number the department will mark the questions in the order that they appear, up to the required number of questions in each section.
  • Fill in the question numbers on the required page.
  • Ensure you only upload the required number of documents and in the correct format (all papers should be submitted in Word format).
  • You can upload your work during the exam and we recommend that you do so.
  • Check the last file that you upload to ensure that it is the version you want marked - if you upload an incorrect version we will mark only that one. If you upload a blank or corrupt file you may receive a mark of zero.
  • Try to ensure that your file size does not exceed 10MB.
  • Ensure that any images you insert have been compressed (following the department's guidance), and are visible on the paper, images that cannot be seen clearly or are cropped might not be marked.

Other pointers for good practice in examinations, include:

  • familiarising yourself with University's Examination Regulations 10.2
  • familiarising yourself with the rubric beforehand and doing what the rubric asks (the rubric for each module can be found on the module webpage and exam resource pages - it is better to use this source for accurate exam rubrics rather than using past papers, as these may be out of date)
  • showing your working in mathematical/quantitative answers - enough to be awarded method marks if you get the wrong answer. In any case full marks ought not to be awarded for correct 'bottom line' answers - we are also interested in checking reasoning and understanding

Other advice on how to tackle exams is available through these links:

Mitigating circumstances

Detailed guidance on how to submit a case for mitigating circumstances and the evidence required to substantiate a case is available here. Guidance on technical mitigating circumstances during exams can be found here. All cases must be submitted through your personal Tabula page: https://tabula.warwick.ac.uk/profiles/view/me/personalcircs.

Mitigating circumstances are defined as:

  • Situations that you could not have predicted and had no control over (e.g. serious illness, death of someone close, being the victim of a crime, family difficulties and unforeseen financial hardship);
  • Situations with significant impact on your ability to undertake assessments/examinations which are independently evidenced in a timely fashion; (e.g. doctor’s note during illness showing duration and level of negative impact);
  • Situations that are acute or short term, the timing of which are relevant to the impact on your study (normally within three weeks of the relevant assessment event or deadline).

Who to talk to

You should normally discuss your mitigating circumstances with your Personal Tutor or one of the Mitigating Circumstances Officers before they are conveyed formally through the Mitigating Circumstances portal (this allows you to be signposted to relevant University support services). For MSc students the Mitigating Circumstances Officers are the Senior Tutor, the Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees), and the Programmes Manager.

We are aware that in some cultures it is considered shameful or embarrassing to disclose the details of these kinds of circumstance to those outside one’s family. This is not the case in the prevailing UK culture, and you should be aware that the Department and the University are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist if at all possible. If you feel inhibited from talking to a Personal Tutor or one of the Mitigating Circumstances Officers, you may also consider talking to a member of the GSSLC, the Students’ Union, the Dean of Students or a member of staff in Student Support for initial, informal advice. Be assured that we treat all information in a confidential manner and our electronic filing system is secure.

Deadlines

All mitigating circumstances claims must be submitted as soon as possible. The deadline for submitting claims for the June Exam Board is 31 May 2022. The deadline for submitting claims relating to the September resits is 16 September 2022.

Without wanting to invade your privacy, the University does expect that you bring such circumstances to the Department’s attention in a timely manner, despite the discomfort you might feel in so doing. The Department will do all it can to support you in difficult situations. You should be aware that mitigating circumstances not submitted by the relevant deadline cannot be considered by the Department and may only be considered by an Academic Appeals Committee as part of an academic appeal.

Medical evidence

Evidence is a vital part of a mitigating circumstances submission. It must be written by an independent qualified practitioner (letters from relatives are not acceptable); dated and written on headed or official notepaper and in English. If the letter is in another language students must provide both a copy of the original note and a certified translation into English. When requesting medical evidence to support your application for mitigation, you are advised to make clear to your doctor that the information will be shared with a number of people and to discuss with your doctor the most appropriate wording of the medical evidence.

Mitigating Circumstances Panel

The Mitigating Circumstances Panel is Chaired by the Senior Tutor and membership includes the Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees), the Director of Studies, the Head of Department and the Programmes Manager. The panel has the following remit:

  • To considers details of applications for mitigating circumstances and makes recommendations on the outcome of each application to the Board of Examiners;
  • To determine whether the circumstances submitted are acceptable grounds to grant mitigation and to grade them as rejected (R), weak/mild (A), moderate (B) severe (C);
  • To ensure that decisions are equitable and that there is consistency of treatment across cohorts.

Exam deferral and other outcomes

If you have very severe mitigating circumstances during an exam period (January, May, Summer or September), we may recommend you defer the entire examination period to the next available opportunity. Please speak to the Senior Tutor you wish to request an exam deferral and then submit your request via Tabula. You can read more about the deferral of an exam period on the Mitigating Circumstances webpages.

If you have severe mitigating circumstances, we may recommend you delay an exam and sit (as for the first time) in September or the following January/ May. Please note this is not an exam deferral, which only applies when you defer all the exams within an exam period. If you have attended your exam, we will normally assume you were fit to sit unless there is evidence that you experienced severe mitigating circumstances that you have not predicted during the exam.

Other possible action by the Exam Board may include offering a further opportunity for re-examination, or we may recalculate a module mark based on the elements of the assessment which were not affected by the mitigating circumstances. It may be recommended that no action is required in terms of progress decisions, but the circumstances will be carried forward and be considered when determining the degree classification at a future meeting of the Board of Examiners.

Exam anxiety

Exams are a stressful time for all students and hence you should expect to feel some degree of anxiety during the exam period. When taking an exam, it is not uncommon for students to feel a rising level of anxiety and to think that it is a panic attack. A panic attack during an exam will not be taken as a severe mitigating circumstance, unless:

  • The Department already has evidence to confirm that you have a history of similar anxiety and panic attacks and can provide medical evidence of this panic attack;
  • Significant medical evidence can be provided that documents the symptoms of the panic attack during the exam and confirms that you would have been unable to complete the exam under the circumstances.

Reasonable adjustments

Long term chronic conditions (normally greater than a term in duration and that are likely to continue) and disabilities are dealt with under the reasonable adjustments policy. However, a significant deterioration of a permanent or chronic condition already reported and covered by alternative arrangements, is classed as a mitigating circumstance. Guidance in relation to alternative arrangements is available on the University web pages and is summarised below.

The Equality Act 2010 requires the University to make reasonable adjustments where a candidate who is disabled (within the meaning of the Act), would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled.

  • Noting ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’ and that a disability is defined as ‘a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’;
  • Students who have long term chronic conditions or disabilities and who believe they are entitled to reasonable adjustments should in the first instance contact Disability Services or Mental Health and Wellbeing and request an appointment to discuss their support requirements;
  • A reasonable adjustment may be unique to the individual and could include special examination arrangements, delayed deadlines but also alternative methods of assessments;
  • Any reasonable adjustments made are evidence based; students are required to supply appropriate and recent medical evidence, or, in the case of a specific learning difference such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, a full diagnostic assessment. The type of appropriate evidence required can be discussed with Disability Services or Mental Health and Wellbeing;
  • Once a student has met with Wellbeing Support Services, the adviser will contact the student's department and the Examinations Office (with their permission) to recommend any alternative exam arrangements;
  • Alternative exam arrangements must be made before the annual deadlines as set out by the Examinations Office. Recommendations that are made AFTER these deadlines will be handled under the Mitigating Circumstances Policy;
  • Recommendations to apply reasonable adjustments may include for the student to be able to complete assessments via alternative assessment methods; bearing in mind that academic or professional standards in relation to core competencies and assessed criteria still need to be met;
  • Further information reasonable adjustments can also be accessed in the University’s Disability Policy.

If you are unable to sit an exam on a particular date because of religious observance, you must notify the Examinations Team via the Religious Observance Form. Further information is available on the Religious Observance webpage.

Examination boards

The Board of Examiners comprises a subset of full-time members of the academic staff in the Department of Economics, members of the academic staff from other departments for joint programmes, and three external examiners appointed by Senate. The Board, chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees), makes recommendations that are subject to confirmation by Senate.

There are two exam boards at which your progress is formally assessed: a progress review board after the May exams (the Board usually meets at the end of June) and a final exam board in November after the course has finished.

External examiners

External examiners are experienced senior academic from other universities whose role is to monitor our standards, to advise us on issues including borderline cases, and generally to act as independent arbiters, scrutinisers and to ensure that all the Board's decisions are fair. External Examiners also contribute towards the upkeep of standards of marking by moderating a sample of student assessments.

The role of the External Examiner is to ensure that:

  • Degrees awarded are comparable in standard to those in similar degree courses in other universities in the United Kingdom;
  • The assessment system is fair and is fairly operated in the classification of students;
  • Degrees awarded are at the appropriate level as set out in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (Part A of the UK Quality Code) and take appropriate account of the relevant Subject Benchmark Statement;
  • Students achieve the learning outcomes for the degrees set out in the relevant Course Specifications.

External Examiners also write a report on their views of the quality and standards of the assessments and examinations conducted in the Department and on the administrative processes behind this. The Department considers these reports at the Graduate Management Committee, sends a formal response back to the External Examiner, and considers how to incorporate any suggestions made into Departmental provision. The reports are shared with the Graduate Student-Staff Liaison Committee.

June Exam Board

The Board receives the results of all the coursework assessments and examinations and will consider your progress in the taught components. It will determine whether you:

  • Proceed to the Dissertation/Project;
  • Are required to be re-examined in specific modules;
  • Are required to withdraw.

The June Exam Board shall also determine degree awards for students from the previous academic year who submitted their dissertations for the March deadline.

If you pass the taught components you are permitted to proceed to the dissertation to be submitted in September. The dissertations are marked in October and the full set of marks is presented to the final Exam Board in November. If you fail any modules you have the right to resit for one further attempt. The June Exam Board will determine whether the resit should be in September (this is likely in the case of marginal and moderate failures), or the following January/May (this is likely in the case of bad failures). Candidates who successfully resit in September will normally submit their dissertation the following March.

Informally we allow students with a single resit to do the dissertation in parallel with their resit, if they wish to do so, and hand it in by the September deadline, on the understanding that this is done at their own risk. However, it should be stressed that such a student is not required to do the dissertation for the September deadline, and moreover that the dissertation will not be considered if the resit is failed.

Candidates who fail at the second attempt but still achieve a certain minimum standard may be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate in place of the MSc.

November Exam Board (final)

The Board, at which students who have completed the full requirement of the degree are considered, will determine whether a student shall:

  • Be awarded the degree;
  • Be awarded the degree with Distinction or Merit;
  • Be permitted re-submission of the dissertation;
  • Be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate;
  • Not be awarded the degree or the Postgraduate Diploma or the Postgraduate Certificate.

Failure to meet prescribed deadlines

A zero mark will be recorded if you fail to present yourself for an examination or fail to submit an item of assessment for a module for which you have been registered. In circumstances where a zero mark has been awarded (including instances of plagiarism and cheating, where the opportunity for reassessment has been withheld by those investigating the offence) the Board has the power to deem the taught component failed.

In accordance with University regulations, failure to submit any assessment by the specified submission deadline will incur a penalty of five marks per day unless a formal extension has been granted in advance.

Examination feedback

Following the decisions of the Exam Board, you will be notified by email when exam results are viewable. We will not give out examination or assessment marks over the telephone or to any third party without your prior written permission.

We want to assure you that the marking and moderation for all our examinations is fair, consistent, robust and reliable and hence give you confidence that when you receive a mark, the mark has been arrived at following a detailed and rigorous process. All examination scripts have a first marker and a moderator and undergo an administrative check to ensure the marks have been totalled correctly. All results are considered by a Board of Examiners. Further details regarding the assessment procedures in the Department can be found on our Assessment and Feedback webpages.

Following the September examination period, you will be provided with feedback from the main examinations,

  • The exam paper for each of your modules;
  • Summary statistics for each of your modules, showing the range of mark classifications for the exam paper;
  • A cumulative distribution function for the exam paper for each of your modules;
  • Summary statistics per each exam question that you attempted for each of your modules,
  • For all modules, and for the questions you attempted, the module leader’s comments per question on the areas on which the cohort generally did well and not so well.
  • For all modules, the module leader’s comments on the kind of answers that may have scored highly in this exam paper, or other guidance on assessment criteria.

All feedback will be provided after the September examination period so that no student is advantaged, and the feedback will be available for a limited period of time. The feedback is there for you to reflect on your performance, but you are not permitted to discuss the feedback with any member of staff.

Furthermore, please be aware that for modules with small numbers of registrations, data will be withheld in order not to breach anonymity, consequently we are not providing feedback on Special Syllabus papers, modules with less than ten students and the September exam papers.

If you are re-sitting exam(s) in September /January, you will be given your failed exam script to see how this has been marked. We provide the scripts as a way for you to review and reflect upon your performance and as a way of helping you to prepare for your resit. This copy provides all of the information that can be provided. You will not be able to use the information to demand further explanation from tutors or lecturers, or to challenge marks or academic judgement. You must not approach lecturers, tutors, or markers to ask for additional feedback. While you may submit an academic appeal against the decision of an exam board on various grounds, there is no provision for students to challenge academic judgement of examiners or to dispute marks awarded in individual modules or pieces of work. Note, also, that the moderation process may have had the effect that the final mark on your script does not coincide exactly with the marks given to each part answer. This policy only applies to EC-coded modules. Other departments may have their own policy for their own modules, which you will need to ask those departments about.

If you have any concerns or feedback about the examination process, please contact the Quality Assurance and Examinations Coordinator in the first instance.

Degree congregations, certificates and transcripts

The main degree congregation for MSc students is held in January each year. The Awards & Ceremonies website provides detailed information on award certificates and degree congregation registration and includes a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section.

You can download an interim transcript from your current students page at any time during your course. Official Transcripts of academic record for postgraduate taught students are produced by the Examinations Office.

Prizes

The Department of Economics currently has the following prizes to bestow on MSc students in the 2021-22 academic year. Please note that the Department reserves the right not to award any of these prizes in any one year.

  • Examiners’ Prize for the best overall performance across the MSc in Economics, MSc Economics and International Financial Economics and MSc Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track) - one award (sometimes split jointly between two or more students);
  • Examiners’ Prize for the best exam performance across the MSc in Economics and MSc Economics and International Financial Economics - one award (sometimes split jointly between two or more students);
  • Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation - one award (sometimes split jointly between two or more students);
  • Project Prize for the best project in the MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science (Economics Track) - one award (sometimes split jointly between two or more students);
  • Shiv Nath Prize for the best MSc student performance in the field of Development Economics - one award (sometimes split jointly between two or more students).

Appeals

If an Exam Board decides that your performance merits the award of a lower qualification than the one for which you were registered or does not merit the award of a qualification at all, you have certain rights of appeal. Appeals must be submitted within 10 University working days of the date of notification of the decision of the Board of Examiners that is the subject of the appeal. The academic appeals process is to be completed typically within 80 University working days. Regulation 42 sets out the process for considering appeals and is available here. You are required to complete a form if you wish to appeal against the decision of the examiners, and this can be found on the Appeals website.

The appeal procedure may not be used to challenge the academic judgement of examiners, dispute marks awarded in individual modules or pieces of work, appeal against the requirement that a student is required to resubmit work or resit examiners, or challenge the decision to award an MSc degree at pass level rather than with distinction or merit.

Appeals may be made on one or more of the following grounds:

(a) You are in possession of evidence relevant to your examination performance which was not available to the Board of Examiners when their decision was reached. You must provide evidence of good reason for not having made the Board of Examiners aware of this evidence prior to the assessment decision;

(b) There is evidence of procedural irregularity or unfair discrimination in the examination process;

(c) There is evidence of inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during your enrolment at the University. In this instance, you are required to explain why a complaint under the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure was not made at an earlier stage.

If you have any queries about appeals, please contact pgappeals@warwick.ac.uk