TCD exam students left in limbo for hour after seating error

Students frustrated by ‘teething problems’ which led to tests being delayed

 One Trinity College student said  they were informed 20 minutes before their exams were due to begin at 5pm that the hall had to be evacuated. File photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

One Trinity College student said they were informed 20 minutes before their exams were due to begin at 5pm that the hall had to be evacuated. File photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 

More than 1,000 Trinity College students have been affected by an administrative error that left exams delayed by more than an hour in the RDS in Dublin.

According to one student, they were informed 20 minutes before their exams were due to begin at 5pm that the hall had to be evacuated.

Trinity Student Union President Shane De Rís said the union would be working with the college to ensure no students had been disadvantaged by the error.

“The seating plan did not match the seat numbers that were listed outside the exam hall so it had to be resolved,” said Mr De Rís.

“Unfortunately this human error occurred and it’s the first time something like this has happened in the history of exams at the college as far as I’m aware,” he said.

A Trinity student who did not wish to be named said she had sat an exam at 9am on Thursday morning and was due to sit another at 5pm. She said students did not get to start their exam until 6.30pm – an hour and a half after the scheduled start.

“When students came into the examinations hall in the RDS they were told the identification of students was not done correctly and there would be a delay. The mistake meant the wrong student exam numbers were put on desks so examiners didn’t know which papers to put on which desk,” said the student.

“It took a good hour and a half to sort out. I was already up early for an exam at 9am and was ready to sit my exam at 5pm. We had to wait until 6.30pm and people were understandably stressed. I felt under pressure when I finally got to sit down and do the exam and I’m worried it will affect my grade.”

She added that exams were not meant to take place after 8pm and that many students were scheduled to do exams at 9am on Friday morning.

Increased workload

She said changes to the semester system in Trinity means students have to do assignments before Christmas and then do examinations which has increased their workload significantly compared with previous years.

The college broke almost 400 years of tradition by introducing Christmas exams and an earlier start to the academic year for its students for the 2018/2019 academic term.

“There seems to be teething problems with the Christmas examinations as this looks like an administrative problem that could have been avoided but caused a lot of undue stress and anxiety for students,” the student said.

“Some students who got to see the wrong paper they were handed could have told other students what was on the paper when we were all sent outside so that could give an unfair advantage to some.”

The student said many were worried their marks would be impacted due to the stress of the delay and called for an investigation into the error.

A spokeswoman for Trinity College Dublin said it “regrets the inconvenience caused to students in relation to the delayed start of an examination yesterday.” Trinity’s Academic Registry is reviewing the matter in order to ensure that all future examinations run smoothly, the spokeswoman added.