French finalists were dealt yet another blow last Thursday when the Chairman of Examiners and the Proctors issued a letter stating that the listening examination for this year was to be discounted. Students across the University are enraged that greater weight will be placed on the oral examination, claiming that this disadvantages candidates who are poorer at speaking than listening. There is further anger that their revision and teaching time over the past three years has been wasted on a part of the subject which will no longer have a bearing on their overall degree. The decision was taken after a flood of complaints from both students and dons criticised “shambolic” execution of the new style of listening exam, which took place in 0th week and was brought to wider public attention by Cherwell in 1st week. Students feared that muffled sound quality, poor video footage and tiny television screens could have reduced their overall marks by a whole class and some emerged from the exam room distressed at having answered less than 20% of the paper. However, the Junior Proctor, Ian Archer still claims, “the Examiners made every effort to ensure that this new-style examination ran smoothly.” A French finalist at Lady Margaret Hall expressed her disappointment at the “slap-dash attitude” of the French department in dealing with the shortcomings of the exam. She added that the Language Faculty “would struggle to organise a piss-up in a brewery.” A French don urged students to concentrate on preparing for the rest of the examinations rather than dwelling on the failings of the listening exam. It would seem though that the mood among language finalists is one of indignation and many already feel that they have been put through a “traumatising ordeal.”
ARCHIVE: 3rd Week TT 2003