Foundation Scholarship (Schols) exams will continue to be held in the week before the commencement of Hilary Term, despite the introduction of an official exam period in the week preceding Christmas holidays.
This will leave many Senior Fresh undergraduate students with four weeks between their Christmas exams and Schols, according to information provided by Senior Tutor Aidan Seery.
Prior to 2009, the exams were held during Hilary Term, under which system students sitting Schols were eligible for exemption from annual examinations. In 2018, winter exams will take place during the week of December 10, while Schols exams will commence 7 January, 2019.
College is hopeful that the introduction of term assessments shortly before Schols will not adversely impact candidates. “The idea of Schols is to identify those exceptional students who have a deep, enduring understanding of their field of study,” Seery commented to Trinity News. “This does not come about through ‘cramming’…so the question of ‘revision time’ should not be as crucial as one might think.”
Although the reduced interval between Schols and term assessments resembles the model prior to 2009, there is no plans to reimplement an exemption system. “Schols is designed to measure something different from module learning,” Seery noted. “This was one of the reasons that they were decoupled from usual assessment in 2008.” Seery stated that he does not think that this will change with the new academic structure.
Speaking to Trinity News, Education Officer of Trinity’s Student Union (TCDSU) Alice MacPherson said: “While Schols demands academic excellence, and academic excellence is not typically associated with cramming, this is not the reality of how many students study. I have major concerns about the stress the short time between end of semester assessment and Schols will put on students.”
“Given that the Schols exams this year experienced some serious organisational issues, it is vital that college ensures that there is sufficient administrative and pastoral support for candidates in the new Academic Year Structure,” Macpherson noted.