Cherwell

Music finalists raise concerns over ‘illegible’ exam paper

The Music Faculty has come under fire after printing an “unacceptable” mistake in a finals exam paper.

Cherwell understands that musical scores provided to candidates during the FHS Analysis exam were incorrectly photocopied, meaning they were almost illegible.

The Faculty only apologised for the mistake after several students raised concerns.

In a letter to the Music Faculty, one finalist wrote: “What happened during the exam, and the way the faculty is responding to this… is frankly unacceptable.”

The FHS Analysis exam is a three-hour unseen paper. Candidates are expected to analyse an unknown musical score provided by the Faculty during the exam. They are not allowed to listen to the piece, and their essays rely entirely on their examination of the printed score.

During the exam on 24th May, many candidates were allegedly given musical scores that had been incorrectly photocopied. The text of the score was “extremely small” and “extremely difficult to read”.

The candidates who had received these “illegible” scores continued with the exam, attempting to annotate the score and write their essays. The error was eventually realised, and after 30 minutes a larger-print score was issued to these students.

One student said that the misprint and half-hour delay made it “impossible to find time to finish.”

Concerns have been raised by finalists as to whether the Faculty can fairly evaluate all students, given only some were affected by the misprint.

Chair of Examiners Daniel Grimley was present during the exam. Six days later, Grimley sent an email to all Music finalists apologising for the problems. He explained that he was “fully aware of the situation” and had overseen “contingency plans we put in place” during the exam.

The University’s exam regulations say that evidence of a “serious problem in the original examination process” is required in order for the Proctors Office to authorise paper re-evaluation.

Grimley said in his email that the issue will be brought to the attention of the Examination Board and discussed with the Proctors Office.

The Music Faculty and the University have been contacted for comment.