Overview of Examinations

This page aims to give you an overview of the examinations you will sit as part of your undergraduate degree.  Links to where to go to find further information are given below but if you have any questions do speak to your college tutor.

There are two types of examinations: college examinations and University examinations. College examinations, called collections, are set by your college tutor and usually take place at the start of term.  Collections do not count towards your degree classification(s) but give you an opportunity to obtain feedback on your progress.

University, or public, examinations are set by the University. You will sit University examinations in each year of the undergraduate degree course: Prelims, Part A, Part B and, for students on the four year course, Part C.  For students on the three course, the University exams you sit in Part A and Part B will determine your degree classification.  Students on the four year course are awarded a doubly classified degree.  One classification is awarded for Parts A & B, and a separate classification is awarded for Part C. See the sections below for further information.

Prelims

You will sit the written papers for the preliminary examination at the end of Trinity term in your first year.  The marks for these written papers and, for mathematics students, the marks for the computational mathematics projects will be combined to give weighted averages.  The weighted averages, together with the marks for the individual papers, will be used to determine your classification for Prelims.  The possible classifications are distinction, pass, partial pass or fail.  

Your Prelims marks do not count towards your final degree classification(s), but the marks for the individual papers will appear on your degree transcript.  In addition, you need to obtain at least a pass for Prelims in order to proceed to Part A.

Further information about the format of papers, the formula for calculating the weighted averages and the criteria used for classification can be found in the Prelims exam conventions.

Part A

The Part A examinations take place at the end of Trinity term in your second year.  You will receive a mark for each of the papers you sit at Part A and these marks will appear on your transcript.  You will not receive a classification for Part A, instead the marks for your Part A papers are carried forward to Part B.  

Further information about the format and weighting of Part A papers can be found in the Part A exam conventions.

Part B

The written examinations for Part B take place in the second half of Trinity term in your third year.  If you opt to take any coursework options, you will also have submission deadlines in Michaelmas or Hilary term, depending on the option taken.  As at Part A, you will receive a mark for each of the papers you take at Part B and these marks appear on your transcript. 

The marks for your Part B papers will be combined with the marks for your Part A papers to give a weighted average for Parts A & B.  The Part B examination conventions explain how the weighed average is calculated.  The weighted average for Parts A & B, together with the individual paper marks, will be used to determine your classification for Parts A & B.  The rules for classification are set out in the examination convention and the possible classification are first, upper second, lower second, third, pass or fail. Please note that in order to proceed to Part C a student needs to obtain at least an upper second class for Parts A & B together.  

For students on the BA course the Parts A & B classification will be the overall classification for their degree and will appear on their transcript and degree certificate.  For students on the MMath course this is the first classification for their doubly-classified degree.

Part C

For students on the MMath course, the written examinations for Part C take place in the second half of Trinity term in your fourth year.  If you opt to take any coursework options, you will also have submission deadlines in Michaelmas or Hilary term, depending on the option taken.  You will receive a mark for each of the papers you take at Part C and, as before, these marks appear on your transcript. 

The marks for the papers taken at Part C are used to calculate a weighted average for Part C. This weighted average and the individual Part C paper marks are used to determine your Part C classification, following the classification criteria in the examination conventions. The possible classifications for Part C are first, upper second, lower second and third.

The Part C classification is the second classification for the doubly-classified degree. Students graduating with an MMath will have both their Parts A & B classification and their Part C classification on their degree certificate and transcript.

Students who do not obtain at least a third at Part C (i.e. have a weighted average less than 40) will not be awarded an MMath degree.  Instead they are eligible for a BA degree with the classification they achieved at Parts A & B.

Resits

Students who obtain either a fail or partial pass for their first attempt at Prelims may take the resit exams in September.  Additionally, students who obtain a pass or fail at Parts A & B or a fail at Part C  may resit Part B or Part C, respectively, on at most one subsequent occasion.  A student who resits Part B may not proceed to Part C.  Further information on resits can be found in the examination regulations or the examination conventions.