2nd letter - University of Oxford Final Honour School of Physics

Document Sample
2nd letter - University of Oxford Final Honour School of Physics Powered By Docstoc
					                                                       University of Oxford
                       Final Honour School of Physics and Philosophy 2008

To: All Candidates and Senior Physics and Philosophy Tutors
From: Giles Barr, Chairman of PP Finals Examiners
Date: April 25, 2008

                         SECOND NOTICE

This second notice contains additional information about the examinations this term. It
should include all the information which was in the first notice which was issued at the
end of last term.

1. Preparation for the Examination
In order to ensure objectivity in marking, all scripts and records of marks make use of
candidate numbers. The names and college affiliations of candidates are not known to
any examiner except the Chairman. You should have been told what your number is. You
will need to use it throughout the examination, so please memorize it or keep a note of it
with you during the examination period. It will not be printed on your desk with your name,
nor will the Invigilators have access to it. However, if you cannot remember your number
at the start of an exam, please contact an Invigilator immediately. The Examination
Schools will be able to provide you with the number, but this can cause delay to you
starting the examination. Please be careful to write your number, correctly, on every
answer book you submit.

According to Examination Regulations, you must wear “sub-fusc” academic dress during
every exam session unless the Proctors have given you special dispensation. Sub-fusc
clothing for women consists of a dark skirt or trousers, a white blouse or shirt, black tie,
black stockings and shoes, the option of a dark coat, a gown, and a regulation cap or
mortar board. For men it consists of a dark suit, white shirt, white bow tie, dark socks and
black shoes, gown, and a mortar board.

It is essential that you prepare yourself for the examinations by knowing the rubrics
covering matters like the number of questions to be answered, coverage of topics,
distribution of answers over sections of the paper and so on. These are printed at the
beginning of the papers, but you need to protect yourself against any surprises. Consult
your tutors if you are uncertain about the organization of specific exam papers. Mistakes
in exam papers are very rare, but they do happen. Usually the setter of the paper is
present at the beginning of the exam; if not, the Invigilator will know how to contact the
setters. Thus if you believe there is a mistake in a question, raise your query immediately.
It is better to risk embarrassment if the question is correct than to waste time on one
which contains an error.

If you know in advance that you will be unable to sit exams at the Examination Schools
due to an illness or some other compelling reason please ensure that your Senior Tutor
makes arrangements with the Proctors for the exams to be held in your college.
2. Seating Arrangements
The Physics and Philosophy Examinations will be held in the Examination Schools,
except for the A2P paper taken by second year students which will be held in Ewart
House in Summertown. When you arrive there for each session, check the notice board
in the entrance hall for your room assignment. You must be on time. Candidates who
arrive more than half an hour late for any paper are liable to disqualification.
In each room indicator boards will show where the desks for your subject are placed.
There will be a label on each desk showing the session, paper and the name of a
candidate. Within each subject you will be seated in alphabetical order. The location of
your desk undoubtedly will change from one session to another. It can often take some
time to find your desk when a series of small papers are being sat in one session.

3. What you may bring into the Examination Room
No food or drink may be brought into the examination room. Water is available in the
hallway outside the room.
No books, papers or other aids may be brought in or used, with the following exceptions:
    a) If English is not your native language, you may request (in advance, through your
       College) that the Proctors grant you permission to use a bilingual dictionary in the
       examination room. The Proctors’ letter of permission will tell you how to proceed.
       Only candidates with such a letter are allowed to use dictionaries.
    b) You may make use of a calculator (not a computer) for any Physics paper, subject
       to the conditions laid down in Examination Decrees and Regulations (pp. 37, 38).
       These conditions are also found in Appendix B of the Undergraduate Physics

4. The BT paper organisation (3rd years).
The layout of the BT paper follows the same format as last year. It can be found here:
The paper comprises of three sections: Section A corresponds to the Classical
Mechanics short option, Section B corresponds to the Covariant Electromagnetism short
option and Section C corresponds to the Advanced Quantum Mechanics short option.
Most students have done Classical Mechanics and Covariant Electromagnetism, but
students who have done the B4 paper are doing Advanced Quantum Mechanics in lieu of
Covariant Electromagnetism (because it overlaps with the B4 course).

Unlike the physics candidates who have to answer exactly two questions from each short
option they are taking, for the BT paper, you can answer any four of the eight questions
within your two sections (A+B) or (A+C for those taking B4). If you answer all four
questions from one section, please submit a blank answer book with your candidate
number for the other section to which you were eligible to answer, it will be useful as a
placeholder for our checking procedure.

5. Rules Related to Exam Sessions
Every question paper has a front page covering the questions. When you arrive, do not
turn the cover over until an Invigilator announces that you may. You must identify
each examination book in which you write answers with your examination number.
You must not write your name or college on the book. Read and observe the
instructions on the question paper. Every paper begins with instructions as to how many
questions must be answered.

During the session you may not leave your desk without the permission of an Invigilator.
Raise your hand if you need to attract attention, e.g. to collect another examination book,
to request drinking water, to go to the toilet, or to hand in your script and depart early.
Felt-tip pens may not be used. Pencils may be used only for diagrams, graphs and
calculations. Please write neatly. Not only does this greatly help the markers, but
remember that an illegible script may have to be typed later at your own expense – and it
is very expensive, because you have to pay for an invigilator as well as a typist.
If you are taken ill during a session you should seek the assistance of an Invigilator. If you
then decide to leave, you must hand in your script, and then report to the office of the
Clerk of the Examination schools in the entrance hall, where you will get help and advice.

Towards the end of the session an Invigilator will announce that no one may leave the
examination room until time is up. This is done to avoid confusion and to enable students
still writing to keep their concentration. At the end of the session you will be told to stop
writing. You must then remain seated at your desk until instructed by an Invigilator to
hand in your script. There will be marked boxes for scripts in specific number ranges.
Please do cooperate by putting your script on the right box.

6. Absence from an Exam Session
If you are absent ten minutes after the start of a session, the Invigilator will report the fact
to the Clerk of the Examination Schools, who will telephone your college. If you expect
not to be able to attend a session, for example because of sudden illness, you must tell
someone in your college (preferably the Senior Tutor) immediately, so that Invigilators
can be forewarned and advice can be given to you. Your college will then take the
necessary action. Please note that further details of conduct during and after exams is
found at the Examinations Schools website:

7. After the Examination
If the Examiners find any of your scripts illegible and require you to have them typed, your
college will be informed. You must not leave Oxford before the 4th of July without giving
your college an address where you may be reached immediately. Arrangements for
typing scripts will be made by your college.

8. The Marking Process
Your result is decided by an Examination Board of Examiners, two of whom (a physicist
and a philosopher) are external to the University. The Examiners are assisted by a
number of Assessors, who primarily mark specialist subject papers and theses.
Candidates are identified by their numbers throughout the marking and classification

Physics Marking: The procedures for marking physics scripts etc. are outlined in the
Undergraduate Physics Handbook.

Philosophy Marking: The criteria below are used in marking Philosophy scripts (with
extended essays in Part C) and theses.
100 to 70   First Class Script: Work displaying analytical and argumentational power, with good
            command of the facts and/or arguments relevant to the questions and evidence of ability to
            organise them with clarity, insight and efficiency. When these qualities are evident
            throughout, the mark should be 80 or above.
            Where these qualities are evident throughout and the script displays original thought of
            near publishable standard, the mark should be 90 or above.
69 to 60    Upper Second Class Script: Work displaying analytical power and argumentation of the
            quality associated with a First, but with less comprehensive and thorough command of
            evidence. Or work showing considerable thoroughness but less analytical skill or less
            clarity in organisation.
59 to 50    Lower Second Class Script: Competent work with no major defects, but giving an
            incomplete account of the question, or marred by inaccuracies. Or work which
           demonstrates lapses in (but does not lack) analytical and argumentational skills.
49 to 40   Third Class Script: Work that is generally weak, with muddled argumentation or little
           relevance, but containing some evidence of knowledge of facts and analytical skill. This
           class does qualify for an Honours degree.
39 to 30   Pass Degree Script: Very poor quality work, showing only slight evidence of having
29 to 0    Fail Script: Work of such a low standard that it cannot be given a Pass mark.
Missing or negligible answers attract heavy penalties. The maximum achievable mark is
to be lowered by the proportion of the paper missing. For example, in a paper requiring
three answers but a candidate has only written two, the maximum achievable mark is 67.
In a paper requiring four answers but a candidate has answered only two, the maximum
achievable mark is 50.
Each of your philosophy scripts will be marked by two Examiners or Assessors, who will
know your candidate number but not your name or college. This is a process known as
‘blind double marking’ – the second person to mark the script does not know the mark
already decided by the first reader, to ensure that you really do get two completely
independent initial assessments. An elaborate process then begins of eliminating any
differences between the two resulting marks which might have an effect on your eventual
class. Differences are eliminated partly by re-reading, partly by adjudication, when
required, from a third marker (who is always an Examiner, and may be the External

Overall Assessment
There is no classification after Part A in the course. However, marks for the Physics
papers will be made available to Colleges after the end of the Part A examination.
College tutors will advise candidates on the significance of these marks. Classification
occurs after both of Parts B and C. The degree classification for those taking the three-
year BA corresponds to that obtained at the end of Part B, and for those taking the four-
year MPhysPhil to that obtained at the end of Part C.

The overall assessment is based on the average performance in both Physics and
Philosophy. The classification conventions are found in a separate document
“Examination conventions for Trinity Term 2008” appended to this one. Note also that
these conventions are subject to adjustment of detail if deemed necessary by the
Examiners in the interests of equity.

The examiners will take into account any medical certificates which have been forwarded
from the Proctors, however, please note that the Proctors have instructed us as follows.
“Medical certificates are not provided with the expectation that Examiners may infer how a
candidate might have performed if unaffected. The Examiners have a duty to judge performance
and not undemonstrated capability, of which they can form no opinion as Examiners. If a
candidate has been working below his or her best capability or approaches the examination in
this condition, it is for the candidate to choose between going ahead with the possibility of
impaired performance or withdrawing until fully fit.”

9. Vivas
The Examiners this year have agreed not to hold vivas.

10. Publication of Results
The Examination Board expects to hand its Class and Pass Lists to the University late on
the afternoon of 4 July, or soon thereafter, and it takes a few days for them to be
processed before publication. The lists are published by posting them in the Examination
Schools. If you want to know your result quickly, you should read the list there. Within a
few days of publication of the results, the Examiners will report your overall classification
and marks to the Senior Tutor, and Senior Physics and Philosophy tutor’s of your college.

11. Problems
If you have queries about the examination or this memorandum, you should consult one
of your tutors or the Senior Tutor of your college. You are not allowed to communicate
with me or any other examiner except through the Proctors. You have the statutory right
to consult the Proctors directly on any serious issue concerning the examination. Their
address is: Proctors’ Office, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD (telephone: 270090).

12. Timetable
The timetables are at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/schools/oxonly/timetables/index.shtml (and go
to the “Select a course ...” field).

13. 4th year Philosophy Coursework
As some of you have noticed, there is a typographical error in the Physics and
Philosophy Handbook on p.13, where it is stated that

'For each unit, an essay topic may be chosen from any one of the questions in the 2006
Second Public Examination (i.e., Finals) paper on the subject in question, with the
following exceptions:
    (i)    Question 13 on papers 115 (Plato: Republic, in translation) and 116 (Aristotle:
           Nichomachean Ethics, in translation)
    (ii)   All questions in 119 (Formal Logic).'

Here '2006' should read '2007'.

It has been decided by the Chairman of Examiners of Physics and Philosophy that an
essay topic for a given subject may be chosen from any one of the questions set for that
subject in either the 2006 Second Public Examinations or the 2007 Second Public
Examinations, save for Question 13 in paper 115 and 116, and all questions in paper

You may only write on a topic for which there is no question set in either year, if you
applied for permission from the Faculty Chair (Dr Roger Crisp) in the usual way.

                                                                              GOOD LUCK!
                            FHS in Physics and Philosophy
                     Examination Conventions for Trinity Term 2008
        February 28th 2008, (this version subject to approval from University committees)

All candidates for Part B will receive a classification on the basis of marks taken in Parts A and B.
Part C candidates will be given a classification for performance in Parts A, B and C. The
classification of Part C candidates and of Part B candidates who are not going on to Part C will be
published unless the candidate requests otherwise on the exam entry form. The classifications of
Part B candidates who are going on to Part C are not published.

The procedure for combining the paper marks is as follows.

1.     The philosophy papers are awarded a mark out of 100 using the scheme given in Box 1 and
described in the Physics and Philosophy Handbook.

                    Box 1: Relationship between marks and classification
         The mark scale is divided by classes
           Class I     Class II.1    Class II.2 Class III    Pass        Fail
          100-70.0     69.9-60.0     59.9-50.0  49.9-40.0 39.9-30.0 Below 30.0

2.     The physics papers are awarded marks by the physics examiners as described in the
physics examination conventions. The raw mark out of 100 is obtained by adding the marks
obtained for each section of each question. The physics examiners then adjust the means of the
papers according to their difficulty and this adjustment is also applied to the marks of the physics
and philosophy candidates.

3.     The procedure for physics students is to decide the boundary classifications on the overall
mark, whereas for physics and philosophy, the individual paper marks are made to conform to the
scheme in Box 1 before being combined. For each individual physics paper, the physics
examiners will supply the physics and philosophy examiners with any correction to the physics
marks so that they conform to the scale in Box 1 (and not simply to a mean of 65 and unspecified
width as has been done in previous years).

4.     The papers are then weighted using the scheme shown in Box 2.The collective weight of
the physics A1, A3 (max mark 100) and A2P (max mark 67) papers is obtained by summing the
marks from the three papers and multiplying by 200/267 to obtain a single mark out of 200.

                                Box 2: The weights of papers
               Part A: (A1, A3, A2P) Collective weight 2 papers
               Part B: (B1-4, BT) Each of the two papers has weight 1
               Part C: (Major options, project) Each paper has weight 4/3

               Part B: Each of the three papers has weight 1
               Part C: Each paper has weight 4/3

               Candidates do a total of three papers in part C.

5.     The total mark U is the total weighted mark attained divided by the total mark possible
(700 for Part B and 1100 for part C). The Physics mark M is the sum of the weighted marks on
the physics papers divided by the maximum. The Philosophy mark P is the sum of the weighted
marks on the philosophy papers divided by the maximum. U, M and P are expressed as
percentages and are rounded to one decimal place. Formulae for U, M and P are given in box 3.

6.      The classification is determined in keeping with the stipulation that for the award of the
highest honours, it is not necessary to perform with excellence in each of physics and philosophy
separately (Examination Regulations 2007, p462) according to the scheme given in the Physics
and Philosophy Handbook, i.e. No candidate will be given a classification lower than that implied
by the value of U according to Box 1. A candidate who achieves U≥67 and either M≥70 or P≥70
will be awarded a first provided (for Part C) they choose a majority of papers in their stronger
subject. A candidate who is not awarded a first, but who achieves U≥57 and either M≥60 or P≥60
will be awarded a 2.1 provided (for Part C) they choose a majority of papers in their stronger

7.      The award of a Third, Pass or Fail will, in all cases, be by individual consideration.

Late submission of work: Candidates are asked to refer to the notice in the physics examination
conventions regarding the (severe) penalties for late submission of Physics coursework. Similar
procedures are described in a Notice for the late submission of Philosophy coursework.

                                     Box 3: Formulae
     For Part B:
     U = [(A1+A2P+A3)200/267 + B + BT + BA + BB + BC]/7
     M = [(A1+A2P+A3)200/267 + B + BT]/4
     P = [BA + BB + BC]/3

     For Part C:
     U = [(A1+A2P+A3)200/267 + B + BT + BA + BB + BC + (C1+C2+C3)4/3]/11
     M = [(A1+A2P+A3)200/267 + B + BT + (sum of physics C paper marks)4/3]/(4+4m/3)
     P = [BA + BB + BC + (sum of philosophy C paper marks)4/3]/(3+4p/3)

     where A1,A2P, A3, B and BT are the marks in the respective physics papers and BA, BB, BC
     the marks in the Part B philosophy papers, C1, C2, C3 are the marks in the Part C papers and
     m and p are the numbers of physics and philosophy papers taken in Part C.

Princeton Exchange scheme: Each individual candidate will ensure that the host institution retains
the examination papers and scripts for the approved courses undertaken together with the thesis
and that these are submitted under seal together with collated coursework and transcript of courses
and taken to the Chairman of Examiners, Honour School of Physics and Philosophy, c/o
Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford by noon on Friday of sixth week of Trinity Term.

Shared By: