Examination farce at KCL

Poor music freshers from King’s College London (KCL) are being forced to retake an exam by their department, it appears, after their professor made a shambles in writing his portion of the question paper.

Roughly 50, utterly outraged, instrument-huggers sat the two-hour ‘Issues and Topics in Music 3’ exam on May 6, which was divided into two questions, corresponding with two halves of the module. The first question, crafted by Professor Matthew Head, however, asked students to identify a score that was not included on the 25-piece study list they were told to revise from.

They were told, in an email sent by the Music Department’s Chief of Exams Fredrick Moehn three days later that they must attend a special “one hour replacement examination,” scheduled for May 16, in order to retake the first question.

He said that since the erroneous section was worth 50 per cent of the exam, and 20 per cent of the module, and 0.25 per cent of the entire degree put together, that it was at the utmost necessity they be inconvenienced to such an unacceptable extent. He noted: “all parties consulted felt it is essential that you have the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge on the pieces studied.” In other words: “we done cocked up – and you’ll have to make up the slack. Lol soz.”

Mr Moehn confirmed in a follow-up email that Professor Head “knew he had covered the piece in class and made an honest mistake in choosing it for the score identification,” to which a cynic may suggest Mr Prof knew exactly what he was doing.

Students have since, surprisingly, expressed their anger in being given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge on the pieces studied.

One “let down” fresher, who took time out from his persistent huff to speak with me, said he felt his department were “uncaring and unempathetic.” He added: “It is unsatisfactory that the professor who set the question has still not personally apologised.”

The students are being made to resit the first half of the exam, though students also feel the second half may have also been compromised, as the distress caused by attempting to answer the first half would have left them unable to answer the second half to the best of their abilities. Furthermore, the timing of the “replacement exam” may conflict with arrangements the freshers have made with professors at the Royal Academy of Music to prepare for the end-of-year recitals, starting three days later.

A KCL spokesperson said: “The Chair of the Music Programme Board has written to all students taking the module to apologise and to explain that the replacement examination was agreed following consultation with the External Examiners.”

She added: “To minimise disruption to students, the replacement examination has been scheduled during the current examination period. Students unable to take the replacement paper on 16th May should contact the department to discuss alternate arrangements.”

lion facepalm


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