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Part III - Examinations

Seminar Paper
The ‘Seminar paper’ will be divided into two sections.  Students answer two questions, one from each section.  Section A will consist of a wide range of questions, using the Department and Bullard seminars as thematic guides.  Questions for section B will be based broadly on aspects of the Easter field trip and the associated Easter Term seminars.  Students are advised to read around a substantial range of seminar topics.  

Option Papers
The majority of options will have a 90-minute examination during the main exam period. The exact format of these exams will be made known at the start of the year. Exam formats may include written answers, calculations or the description and discussion of specimens, thin-sections, etc.

Some courses will also run assessed practicals related to their course.  The division of marks between theory and practical will be made known at the start of the year.  The format of these may be a timed exercise at the end of the Lent or beginning of the Easter term, or assessed exercises taken during the course.  They may involve specimen description and discussion, calculation, map exercises, writing short reports, or computer based exercises but the exact format of these assessments will be made known at the start of each course.

General Points

  • All examination questions and projects will be marked by the separate Part III Board of Examiners.
  • Each student will have a viva with an External Examiner as for Part II on the project and on any aspect of the course.
  • As for Part II, practical class notebooks and records of field work should be handed in to Reception before the last day of the practical papers.

EXAM STRUCTURE 

Each candidate must enter a Research Project, the Seminar paper and six option papers

Exam component Duration (hours) Marks Number of exams Total marks Notes
Seminar paper 3 6% 1 6% Two answers; one from each section.
Section A:  Topics covering a wide range of issues in the Earth Sciences.
Section B:  Topics based broadly on the Easter field trip and seminars
Options papers* 1.5 9% each 6 54% Six papers from a choice of 15, one for each option course.  Some courses have associated assessed practicals
Research project record - 40% 1 40% Maximum 7,500 words
Viva 0.5 1 No formal mark. Used primarily to assess student engagement
TOTAL 100%

Notice about materials which may be taken into practical examinations:

Candidates are reminded that no written or printed materials may be taken into the examinations. For appropriate practical examinations mineralogical and palaeontological reference material will be made available; e.g., Deer, Howie & Zussman, Palaeontological Monographs. Candidates are allowed to take in their own copy of DHZ to the practical examination in Petrology.

Candidates are advised to bring writing and drawing instruments, lens, calculator (see Section 10 below for specifications), as appropriate.

The examination requirements and any practical work associated with each paper shall be announced by the Head of the Department of Earth Sciences not later than the beginning of the Michaelmas Term. The Examiners shall be provided by the Head of the Department of Earth Sciences with assessments of any assessed practicals; in assigning marks for the examination the Examiners shall take account of these assessments.

The report of a research project shall be on a subject which may be either proposed by the candidate and approved by the Head of the Department of Earth Sciences, or chosen by the candidate from a list of approved subjects announced by the Head of the Department by the beginning of the Lent Term in the academic year immediately preceding the examination. Each candidate shall either obtain the approval of the Head of the Department for the subject proposed or notify the Head of the Department of the subject chosen from the list not later than the division of the Lent Term immediately preceding the examination. The report shall be submitted to the Examiners not later than the first day (Tuesday) of Full Lent Term.

The records of classwork and fieldwork shall be submitted to the Examiners through the Head of the Department of Earth Sciences not later than the last day of the written examinations and shall bear the signatures of the teachers under whose direction the work was performed. The types of classwork and fieldwork shall be announced by the Head of the Department not later than the beginning of the Michaelmas Term.

 

Past Tripos papers