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Examination Guidance

Links to the University Examination pages where you will find information on:

All Student timetable

Rules for guidance of candidates

Graduate examinations

Faith provision in University exams

Undergraduate Examinations

Exams Sites

Practical instructions

Tripos, disregard terms, conducts ect

Examination access arrangements


CUSU has useful information on examination arrangements and guidance which you may find of use.

Event Permissions

From the Monday of the full week prioe to the start of Easter full term to the last date of undergraduae tripos exams in June, to preserve College as a quiet place for study and rest, only a restricted number of small and quiet events may be granted Domus Bursar's permission.  Further details can be found in Regulation G12 in the White Book.

Mobile Phone Numbers

Please make sure your contact details are kept up to date in CamSIS so that you can be contacted in the event of an emergency, this is particularly important during Easter Term.

Additional study spaces are coordinated by the Librarian, so please see this Library webpage for further information:

Additional Study Spaces

Illness in advance of the exams:

The most important thing is to let your Tutor, the Nurse or Chaplain/Pastoral Tutor know if your preparation or performance might be affected by illness (including mental health) or other severe mitigating circumstances (for example, bereavement), they may advise you to obtain medical evidence to support your case.  College may submit a 'warning' to the University, these are not disclosed to examiners; they will only be acted on if, when you receive your results, you think they were affected by the circumstances described.

Illness on the day of the exams:

If you are ill on the day of the exam it is vital that you report to the Nurse or the Tutorial Office at least 30 minutes before the start of your exam.  You should try to remain calm and remember that College staff are used to dealing with difficulties in exam time, and will ascertain how to proceed.  Any arrangements will depend on the nature and severity of your condition, but every effort will be made to enable you to take or complete your exams.  

Illness in the exam: If you are ill during an exam, you must alert an Invigilator, and must not leave the exam hall without informing an Invigilator that you are ill.  The Invigilator may be able to arrange for you to continue the examination when you feel better.

What to do if things go wrong

You must inform your Tutor as soon as possible about any circumstances that affected your performance and s/he will be able to advise you on what happens next.  The University Applications Committee has produced Guidance about the process that takes place when a candidate has experienced extenuating circumstances.  Your Tutor will keep you updated on the status of any application made on your behalf.

You may also find it helpful to speak to the Chaplain/Pastoral Tutor about any mitigating circumstances, such as bereavement; especially if the pressure of examinations has not given you time to grieve.


Under Tripos, you will gain a Cambridge Honours BA degree by achieving Honours in a Part II of one of the available Tripos within a maximum number of terms since matriculation; and to achieve that, you will normally need to have achieved Honours in a Part I Tripos, as well as satisfying the nine-term residence requirement.  There are no re-sits; and it is important, therefore, that students should be clear about what happens when:

  • "illness or other grave cause" renders a student unfit to study during the year, or prevents them from sitting exams successfully at the end of the year;
  • something goes badly wrong in the "conduct of  examinations" (major disruption to exam arrangements, mistakes in the exam paper, suspected mis-marking)

Bad news first: in all but the most extreme of cases, Tripos has no compensating mechanism for even serious examination underperformance, as long as the student still achieves Honours.   Therefore, a first class student who gets a II.ii, even in Finals, due to a bad bout of hay fever has no way to change that result.  On the other hand, the College will be able to write a strong reference stating the true academic caliber of that student, using evidence from previous years' Tripos results, Camcors reports and from Academic Reviews, and from the DoS's personal acquaintance with the student.  This is one important reason why you, your supervisors, and your DoS should take those processes seriously.

On the other hand, Tripos has a variety of mechanisms to deal with likely or actual failures to achieve honours through illness or other grave cause all of which are determined by the University's Committee on Applications, in response to a submission by the College on a student's behalf.  For further information and advice, please contact your Tutor.

Illegible Scripts

Please be aware that you may be called back to the College if your written exam script is illegible and needs to be transcribed.  The University expects a 24 hour turn around if this is the case, so if your handwritting is a cause of concern, please keep this in mind if you are planning any holidays straight after your exams.

Following the University Examination results at the end of Easter Term, awards are made to Sidney Undergraduate Students for Academic Excellence in their University Examinations; these are based on students’ merit rankings by average marks across all papers. The awards take three forms:


College Tripos Prizes are awarded to those undergraduates ranked in the top 10 percentile of the merit ranking for their cohort.  Some of the prizes awarded are named after a recent benefactor, whose generosity made the award possible: often, this is an alumn who read that subject, or has a special passion or family connection with it.


Scholarships awarded to those undergraduates who are in the top 25 percentile of the merit ranking. The Scholarships are named after some of the very first benefactors and other key historical figures in the early history of Sidney. Scholars are formally admitted to their title by the Master at a ceremony early in the following Michaelmas Term, when they also receive their official Scholarship Certificate.


Exhibitions are awarded to those undergraduates ranked within the 26-35 percentile ranking, or to continuing students who achieve a percentile improvement of 25% (e.g., from 75th to 50th percentile in the merit ranking).