School exam arragements and remote teaching arrangements from 23 March 2020

The COVID-19 situation represents an unusual circumstance for all students. The basic principle of no semester 2 exams for Pre-Hons students, and online exams for Honours students was decreed at University level. During the past week, the School has been working to develop arrangements to ensure students learn and can be assessed in as fair a way as possible.

Coursework and teaching

Remote teaching will take place from Monday 23 March. 

We ask that students:

  • Try to engage with the last two weeks of the teaching term online.
  • Complete all remaining coursework assignments and finish your project work to the highest standard you can. We have extended deadlines to take some account of all the problems we know you are facing.
  • Check your coursesʼ LEARN pages for other guidance, the Student Website (link below) and read carefully messages sent by the Director of Teaching, Dr Ross Galloway.

Special Circumstances

The Boards of Examiners will automatically be taking into account the disruption in all cases. Accordingly, please only submit Special Circumstances for matters that extend beyond the general COVID-19 disruption, e.g. personal illness, illness of a person close to you, any of the specific problems for which you would likely have submitted Special Circumstances in a 'normal' year, or if you have difficulties with the technical aspects of on-line assessment - for example poor internet performance inhibiting upload/download.

You should also please note that the University has relaxed the evidence required for Special Circumstances such that you need not provide third-party support for cases submitted (e.g. you do not need to obtain medical notes).


Honours Students

Our aim in offering the Honours exams is to give you, as far as possible, the opportunity to take the exams you were expecting at the end of many months/years of hard work. We think that to deny you that opportunity, and the possible chance to improve your grade average, would be unfair. At the same time we want to reassure you that you will not be disadvantaged by these exams, should there be any problems - technical, logistical or personal.

These exams will provide a minority of the marks that contribute towards your final degree, so the exam boards already have (or will have) a lot of information about your performance across the programme. We also of course have information of performance on comparable exams by previous cohorts, and the exam boards have a lot of power to make sure you are treated fairly and sympathetically in light of the current unusually difficult circumstances.

We will be asking you to do the expected honours exams, according to the published exam timetable, but remotely. Further technical details will be released in due course, but so you know what to expect: you will be allowed the normal exam time + 1 extra hour to photograph or scan your written solutions and upload them to Learn as a single pdf file. We will provide all of you with a trial run of this online process well in advance of the first exam, to identify and correct any issues.

If you have learning adjustments for extra time, that will be added on, and more complex learning profiles will be catered for on an individual basis.

We realise for some of you who have returned home across the world this may mean taking some exams at a somewhat unusual time of day - we apologise for this, but we need to release the exam at the same time everywhere to maintain academic standards. So the exams will commence according the the British Summer Time (GMT+1 hr) exam timetable you have already received.

Pre-honours Students

As already stated there will be no 1st or 2nd year exams in April & May this year. You should therefore focus simply on the remaining coursework.

Please see the following points with regards to resits and progression:

  • For Second-semester courses, where you are not getting the opportunity to sit exams, we will adopt your coursework mark as your mark for each course. Pre-hons students who have already passed their 1st-semester courses, and who pass 2nd-semester courses with their coursework marks, can therefore expect to progress with no further assessments.
  • For students who fail either coursework for 2nd-semester courses, or who already anticipate summer resits for failed 1st-semester courses, we will provide online assessments later in the summer. This is required to enable us to gather enough evidence to be confident you can progress and cope with the next level of your degree course.
  • Some students are expecting to take a 2nd Semester exam as a resit for a course failed last year - for example, Dynamics & Vector Calculus in 2nd year. In this situation we will use your coursework from this year (if you are retaking in attendance) or from last year (if you are retaking exam only), to assess your performance. A reassessment in the summer will only be required if you do not have a pass in the coursework from either year.
  • In the specific case of Practical Physics, which runs over both semesters, you will not be required to pass the Experimental Physics component in addition to passing the course overall (given the unavoidable early closure of our labs).

Student support

We hope you are all safe and well. We know that many of you have left Edinburgh to be back with family and loved ones, and hope this journey has gone ok. We want to reiterate to you that we have support here in the School and the University if there are people you would like to talk to: in particular please keep in touch with your Personal Tutor.  You are also welcome to direct questions or queries to kristel.torokoff [at] (Kristel Torokoff )(Senior Personal Tutor), ross.galloway [at] (Ross Galloway )(Director of Teaching), your lecturers, or James.Dunlop [at] (Jim Dunlop) (Head of School).