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Cambridge Systems Biology Centre


Dear Part III Systems Biology students,
Thank you for your continued patience with the process of organising Easter Term examinations
2020/21. We also appreciate the detailed and thoughtful feedback provided during the decision-
making process, it was thoroughly discussed and taken into consideration by Examiners, Course
Management Committees, and School Committees.

The main change from the plans announced in Michaelmas Term is that your Part III exams will now be
completed within a 24-hour period, this has been approved by the General Board. You are advised to
spend no more than six hours on a single exam. We include further exam details from the School of
Biological Sciences in the pages below.

We fully recognise that you are experiencing challenges to learning and that some of you are in
very difficult situations. You are all encouraged to review the University mitigation information
and to speak with your college tutor for individual support:


While Examiners, Course Organisers, and Teaching Administrators are all aware and empathetic to the
challenges you are facing, we are not the appropriate group to contact regarding personal
circumstances. This remains the role of your College.

The University is continuing to operate under extraordinary circumstances, and we will inform you
of any alterations or additions to these plans at the appropriate time.
Best wishes,
Steve Russell, Senior Examiner

Faculty Board of Biology
SBS Teaching Management Team

NST Part III Systems Biology Assessment in Easter Term 2021
General information
•     Exams will be run online via Moodle, supported by University Information Services (UIS)  .
•     Students are required to complete each paper within a 24-hour exam window. However, this is not a 24-hour exam. You are strongly advised to spend less than six hours on a paper.
•     Time taken to complete the assessment will not be monitored and no penalties will be applied so long as students submit within the 24-hour window.
•     Exams will be taken remotely, rather than in examination halls. This may be in Cambridge student accommodation or College rooms, or in your current residence when the exam is scheduled.
•     Online exams will be open book.
•     There is no “second-sit” period nor any “no detriment” policy (i.e., safety net) in place for this exam period.
•     The Faculty Board of Biology marking criteria for Part III essays remain unchanged, regardless of the open-book format or the length of exam.
•     The use of a viva voce is at the discretion of the Examiners.

Exam conduct and behaviour
•     The University views cheating, collusion or dishonest behaviour as a serious offence. It is unethical and never justifiable, irrespective of your opinion of the exam format or the     perceived behaviour of other students in your cohort.
•     Students are expected to submit original work. This means work that has not been submitted previously to supervisors or for other assessments.
•     Students should complete exams alone. Collusion is not permitted.
•     When including work from another source, students should paraphrase all material in their own words.
•     Pre-prepared work should not be included in an exam answer.
•     Students are not expected to cite references in exam essays, however if a diagram is copied, you are expected to indicate the source.
•     When stated on the cover sheet, approved calculators are allowed. Students will be asked to self-police the use of calculators.
•     Examiners will use Turnitin to review scripts for plagiarism.
•     Students must review the University and Faculty Board plagiarism and academic misconduct policies and ensure they understand the rules. Ignorance is not a defence.

•     The main Easter Exam period will run from 24th  May to 2nd  July. The exam period has been expanded by the University to enable assessment of all courses.
•     The exam timetable will be released by the start of Easter Term.
•     Most exams will start between 11:00 and 13:30.
•     Exams could be scheduled on consecutive days, due to the constraints on the timetable.
•     Exams will be scheduled to run on a Friday which means some will run into
Saturday. Where a student has submitted the self-declaration form relating to religious observance, this will, where possible, be considered in the drafting of the timetable. However,
where it willl not be possible to make the appropriate adjustments, the Exams Office will liaise with the student’s college to discuss alternative arrangements.

School of the Biological Sciences

5th March 2021
Blind Grade numbers (BGNs) are now available for students to view in their CamSIS self-service within the ‘view exam timetable’ page. Details for circulation to students as to how to access the BGN can also be found here. BGNs will no longer be available to view in Moodle.

Exam script specifics
•     Students MUST follow the specific rubric for each exam.
•     Examiners will inform students of the rubric, coversheet and upload format in Easter Term.
•     The exams will be in the same format and substance as last year (see Moodle/Past Exam Papers/Exam2020)
•     There is 1,500 word-limit on essays in Papers 1, 2 and Paper 4 Question 2. The rubric will confirm the word limit.
•     Students are expected to type their exams.
•     Drawn figures or calculations can be scanned (or photographed) and uploaded to Moodle with the scripts.
•     For scanning hand-drawn diagrams and combining them into a single pdf, the expectation is that you will use a free, rapid scan-to-pdf app for your mobile phone, such as AdobeScan, CamScanner, etc A video for AdobeScan operation is here: .
•     UIS has set up a Moodle resource page for the 2020 exams with information about such apps and a test assignment page to practise uploading files, which is available here:

•     Students with extenuating personal circumstances should contact their college tutor and follow the University guidance:
•     Students with approved adjustments to the examinations will be accommodated as far as possible in the online format after consultation with UIS, the college, EAMC, and the DRC.
•     If a student experiences a major, unforeseen technical issue, they should notify their college tutor at the conclusion of the exam.
•     Out of hours technical support to address problems with uploading will be available through UIS. Students having problems submitting their examination scripts should
•     The 'impact statement' associated with assessed work relates specifically to unforeseen impacts of the pandemic on access to physical resources (such as libraries and labs). This would not be relevant for students whose research projects were designed from the start as dry-lab projects, for example.
•     The  University’s normal procedures for handling illness, unexpected impairment, etc.will be followed.