Maintain the 24-hour timeframe for King's College London Chemistry Department Exams

Maintain the 24-hour timeframe for King's College London Chemistry Department Exams

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Misha Bazarov started this petition to Kings College London and

The current students of the Department of Chemistry of King's College London (KCL) demand that all of the examinations during the COVID-19 pandemic are maintained at the 24-hour window frame.

On the 17th December 2020, the KCL Chemistry Department staff have communicated that all May exams will be an open book and online. For 1st & 2nd year students, exams will be 2hr with 1 extra hour for scanning & upload. For 3rd year students, the exams will be 3 hr with 1 extra hour for scanning & upload.

Last academic year, May exams were all open book and online, with 24 hours to upload the completed exam. The students at the KCL Chemistry Department, believe this change to the time allocated to complete the exam to be unfair, unjust and to be putting us at a disadvantage. 

Please find a short summary of our concerns:

  1. The situation has not gotten better since May 2020. Continued lockdown in London means that whilst students continue to struggle with an increasing amount of pressure (the natural increase of workload and difficulty moving into the next University stage), they also face many mental health issues linked to prime minister's stay-at-home order. This implies that although we may have been expected to get used to the 'new reality', it is, in fact, affecting us and our wellbeing more with every single day. This suggests that since the situation has not improved, but only worsened, there is no justification to disadvantage us by worsening the conditions of (i.e. the time frame given to complete) May examinations.
  2. The adjusted new format of the examinations and the lack of previously seen past papers (of that format) would mean that we will take extra time to understand the questions, which would put us at a disadvantage with the shortened length of the examinations, which is why we believe it should remain at 24 hours. 
  3. Many students have not and will not have any face-to-face teaching this year (excluding the first laboratory project), unfortunately reducing education quality. This suggests that the situation this academic year is, in fact, worse than in March 2020, as we only had a few weeks of online teaching at that point. We have not gotten used to the 'new norm' and the conditions of our examinations should be the same as they were in May 2020 (i.e. 24 hours long). 
  4. Many students struggled to uphold their standard of academic excellence because of ongoing issues of studying at home (e.g. widespread issues, such as the lack of a dedicated workspace, unstable wifi connection and noisy environments throughout the house). In March 2020, these issues were temporary; however, they are now permanent, and the longer exam duration is required to prevent our performance from being negatively affected by circumstances associated with COVID-19.
  5. Many other courses are offering 24-hour examinations (Please follow this link to see the 24-hour examinations in the timetable)
  6. International students and students living in different parts of the world would be disadvantaged if the exams are released at a certain time because of the differences in time zones. To prevent this, or the added stress of doing the exam at a different time to everyone else, we believe that the examinations should remain at 24 hours. 
  7. Students who reside outside of London, especially international students, have struggled immensely during this period. The constant delay in communication from King's College London results in extreme uncertainty and anxiety across students. A vast number of issues, such as booking the trip to London, booking accommodation, and constantly keeping up with governmental guidelines from both home countries and the United Kingdom, have been experienced by the students. This, alongside unfamiliar online classes and overall new teaching style, has made the first term incredibly challenging. This point illustrates that unfortunately there has been no improvement in the situation and, therefore, the conditions of the exams should not be worsened for us.

We appreciate all the immensely hard work that our department is doing by also adjusting to the different way of life, both in terms of academics and teaching, but also balancing this with their personal lives. We simply ask for your understanding and help to make this tough period in all of our lives more manageable and less stressful.

Thank you,

KCL Chemistry Department Students

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