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Changes to summer exams 2020

For many students, engagement in assessment will provide a sense of structure, keep you connected to the Warwick community and ensure that you are able to progress or graduate this year. However, we know that for some, circumstances will mean that assessment is not possible or a priority this year. We will be communicating more about the updated mitigating circumstances procedure for those who are experiencing difficulties, in future newsletters.

For now, we set out the decisions that have been taken about exams for undergraduate Year 1 students, students in intermediate years and Final Year students, Postgraduate Taught and Research students. This will be followed by further details in due course.

First year exams (undergraduate and degree apprenticeship students)

In light of the developing coronavirus situation, it has been decided that no first year exams will take place for the remainder of the academic year. The current context does not create the right environment for Year 1 students to have their first experience of university level exams, so we are putting in place alternative arrangements with your department.

Instead of teaching and exams in Term 3, first year students will be asked to engage in an online learning module.

This online module will:

  • help you to prepare for online study, in case this is required at the start of the second year,
  • engage you with learning opportunities that set you up for longer term success and
  • help you to stay connected to fellow students and ongoing study.

When Term 3 starts you will receive the specific details and be able to log in to the online learning module. Successful completion of the module is not a condition for progressing to the second year but engagement will enable you to capitalise on your first year learning and make accelerated progress in Year 2. Your department may also ask you to submit any outstanding coursework in Term 3.

For those courses where the first year contributes to your final degree classifications, this will mean that the calculation of the final degree classification will be changed to ensure that you are not disadvantaged. If this applies to your course, you will be informed of the new weighting for each academic year by your department at the start of Term 3. If in doubt about the current weighting of each year in your degree, you can check in your course handbook.

Intermediate and final exams

If you are in the second, third or final year of your degree, your exams will be replaced by alternative assessments online.

This will allow you to ensure that you can progress to the next year as planned, or, for those of you in the final year of your awards, to graduate with an appropriately quality assured qualification.

What will your assessments look like?

Whatever your assessments look like, you will receive guidance on how to perform effectively and apply your learning, before you take the assessments.

Your exam will be presented in the form of either an online assignment, an open book assessment, a multiple choice questions test or a spoken test. Decisions are currently being made by your departments to ensure your learning outcomes are appropriately tested. You will not be assessed on anything that you have not been taught.

In place of exams there are a range of forms of assessment in which you may be asked to engage. We expect that most exams will be replaced by an open book assessment whereby you hand in your work online after a given period of time. That can be 2 or 3 hours, 24 hours or longer depending on the decision your department takes on how best to assess you. Shorter open book assessments will require you to stay logged onto the online system for the duration, but in other cases you will be able to work both on and offline. For open book assessments we are making arrangements so that you can include pictures, mathematical notations, graphs or similar if these are expected for the assessment.

Other approaches to assessment may include:

  • an online assignment which will be similar to the kind of assignments you already know, which will be handed in online
  • an online Multiple Choice Questions test in which you would be presented with a series of questions and answer options
  • a spoken test in which you would be asked to record yourself answering questions or commenting on statements using your mobile phone, laptop microphone or headset to record your responses.

As always, your work must be your own, and mechanisms are being put in place to ensure this is adhered to.

The online tools we will be using for centrally timetabled assessments are Moodle (MyWBS), Tabula, Questionmark Perception and Teams.


Your alternative assessments will take place within the usual exam period in term 3 (e.g. April for those students who are examined in the Spring and May and June for all others). Some online assessments take longer than those done within an exam hall, and so we may have to expand the exam period to ensure that students’ exams do not overlap.

We are working to organise your assessment timetable right now, and will provide details as soon as possible. Of course, this is a task which needs some effort and great care, so please bear with us whilst we are working on this with your department.

Postgraduate Taught students

Read information for details of exams, assessment and teaching for postgraduate taught students.

Postgraduate research students

The Doctoral College is working hard to ensure that the PGR examination and assessment process runs as smoothly as possible given the current circumstances.

We are aware that the situation may change and we may need to adapt our processes to reflect different ways of working.

The Doctoral College FAQs are regularly updated with information for research students.