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Exams and What Examiners Are Looking For

Paper 1: Online – 6 hr window (open book)

Three-hour exam taken within a six-hour window with a single, defined start time for students and automatic monitoring the time a candidate uses to complete the assessment. Note: (i) While the times of paper download and answer upload will be monitored, we will allow generous leeway for "late" returns that stretch beyond 3 hr (and any extra time allowed by the examinations board. (ii) Paper 1 will keep to a long-used format of 4 essay questions generally covering individual lecture topics. (iii) All returns may be subject to Turnitin scanning.

Paper 2: Online – 6 hr window (open book)

Three-hour exam taken within a six-hour window with a single, defined start time for students and automatic monitoring the time a candidate uses to complete the assessment. Note: (i) While the times of paper download and answer upload will be monitored, we will allow generous leeway for "late" returns that stretch beyond 3 hr (and any extra time allowed by the examinations board. We will ask for an explanation in writing for long delays (>30 min) (ii) Paper 2 will include 2 essay questions about integrative topics and an equally weighted section of shorter questions covering experimental approaches. (iii) All returns may be subject to Turnitin scanning.

 

Past Examination Papers

Copies of other previous examination papers may be consulted in the libraries in the Departments of Plant Sciences, Genetics, Biochemistry and Zoology. Electronic copies of the papers can be accessed at Cell and Developmental Biology Moodle site. Please bear in mind that the paper format changed and the new format covers 2020 exam papers. Older papers are the old format.

 

What the Examiners are looking for

The short answer is that the examiners are looking for evidence of a good, intellectually critical understanding of the course material. Ways in which you can convince them that you have acquired this include the following:

Some detailed factual information is a minimal requirement, but it has most impact if it is integrated strongly into an overall context, and presented in a way that builds up an intellectually coherent view of the topic.

Cell and Developmental Biology is an experimental subject. You therefore get credit for basing any models or assertions you present on the experimental logic that allows them to be made, as far as is possible, using the knowledge acquired from lectures and recommended reading.

You shouldn't need reminding of this any more, BUT:

Write legibly. Make sure you understand the question asked, and answer it, not the question you would like to have been asked. Organise your time so that you do justice to all the areas of knowledge you write about. In data analysis or problem questions, explain your logic - even if you don't get the right answer, you will get some credit for using the right logic.

 

Other Information

For advice from the Faculty of Biology about Examination Skills click here (Cambridge only).