Undergraduate Course

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Chemistry Part IB 2020

Information for Candidates


Practical Requirement

The Examiners require evidence of satisfactory practical work as laid down in the Examinations Regulations and the Undergraduate Course Handbook.

The deadline for getting practical work marked is 5 pm on Friday of 4th Week Trinity Term. Any candidate who does not complete the required amount of practical work, after allowance has been made for any special circumstances (see 9. below), will not be eligible for Honours and will not be permitted to progress to Part II.

Examination Timetable

The Examination Timetable will be updated when the dates are confirmed.

Candidates are requested to attend at the EXAMINATION SCHOOLS, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BG.

The Examination

1. Timetable:

*A reading period of 10 minutes beforehand will be allowed for the Part IB Option Paper.

Please check the Student Gateway in the university’s website at the following link: http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/exams/timetables/ for the only official timetable.

2. Seating arrangements: You will be seated in the Examination Schools for the duration of the Part IB examinations. The room(s) to be used will be clearly advertised in the marquee where you assemble. If your examination is not to be held in the Examination Schools you will be notified in good time.

3. Start of the Examination: You will be allowed into the examination a few minutes early so that you may find your place before the examination is due to begin. Please arrive at the Examination Schools in good time. You should not touch the question paper on your desk until an Invigilator announces the start of the examination.

All of the papers are 3 hours long. 
The Option paper has an additional reading period of 10 minutes at the start, during which candidates may if they wish annotate their question papers.

Please arrive at the Examination Schools in good time.

4. Invigilation: There will be at least one Examiner present throughout each written examination, to whom questions concerning the question paper may be addressed.

5. Anonymity of scripts: Please make sure you put your Candidate Number on all of your script booklets. You should not add your name or College. Should you have any doubts about your candidate number at the beginning of the examination please put up your hand when asked and the invigilators will find it for you. Your identity will not normally be known to the Examiners when they mark your scripts. For practical reasons anonymity may not be complete for all candidates because circumstances, e.g. searching for a candidate who is late, may make it necessary to identify a candidate. The Chairman will have a key to the numbers used but, apart from the need to use this occasionally in special circumstances, it will not be referred to until the marking is complete. The other Examiners will not have the key when they mark the papers.

6. Further matters regarding the written examinations:
(a) Calculators: You are advised to bring a calculator, with a spare battery if that is appropriate, to all papers. The rules governing the use of calculators in examinations are laid down in the Undergraduate Course Handbook and also at the bottom of this page.
(b) Group theory character tables: A set will be placed on each desk, except for the organic papers. These include character tables, direct product tables and descent of symmetry tables, but do not include any of the formulas or examples in the online version. 

(c) Mark allocations: Numbers in brackets at the right hand side of the printed question papers indicate the marks that Examiners expect to assign to each part of a question. 

(d) On leaving, no candidate may remove from the examination room any paper except the question paper. That includes any rough work or jottings (which should be clearly marked as such). 

(e) Booklets. Answer each question in a separate booklet.

7. Oral examination (viva): Candidates will be called for oral (viva voce) examination only if they are not considered automatically eligible for Honours on the basis of their marks on the written papers. Allowance will have been made for (i) a distinction in a Supplementary Subject, and (ii) any submissions to the Proctors that have been forwarded to the Chair concerning medical or other problems that may have interfered with the candidate’s preparation for, or performance in the examination.

The oral examination will provide a number of candidates, selected in consultation with the External Examiners, with the opportunity to raise themselves from a Fail to Pass outcome or from Pass to Honours. Candidates will not make their position worse by their performance in the oral examination. Those required to attend for oral examination will be notified by email, and by telephone via their College, on the afternoon of Monday 29th June 2020. The oral examinations will take place in the Department of Chemistry on the morning of Tuesday 30th June. A candidate who does not attend an oral examination if summoned will automatically fail the Part IB examination.

8. Communication of results: Results will be available from the Exam Schools online as soon as possible after the final Exam Board meeting. We expect this to be some time during the day on 1st July 2020. Further information (e.g. ranking) will be sent to your College Tutor.

9. Medical problems and other emergencies: If illness or other circumstances interfere with your preparation for the examinations, hinder you during the examinations, or prevent you from attending any part of the examinations, you should make the circumstances known to the Examination and Assessment Section, through your college (normally the Senior Tutor will deal with such matters), with medical certificates or other appropriate documents.

A sub-set of the examiners will meet to discuss and band all such applications on a scale of 1–3. The Exam Board will take the recommendation of this group into account at the final meeting.

If you are prevented from attending any examination, inform your College as soon as possible. Should you fail to attend any of the written papers you are entered for, and cannot satisfy the Proctors that you had good cause for your absence, you will be deemed to have withdrawn from the whole examination. You should not approach any Examiner directly, for any reason connected with the examination (except to query details of a paper while it is being sat in the Examination Schools). You should instead make your representations to the Proctors through your College.

Nick Green, Chairman of Examiners
Chemistry Part IB 2020


Calculators for Written Examinations in Chemistry

A candidate may bring a pocket calculator into any Examination, except the Prelims Mathematics for Chemistry paper, provided the calculator meets the conditions set out as follows:

• The calculator must not require connection to any external power supply
• It must not be capable of communicating with any other device 

• It must not make a noise that could irritate or distract other candidates 

• It must not be capable of displaying functions graphically 

• It must not be capable of storing and displaying text, other than the names of standard functions such as 'sin' or 'cosh' 

• It must not be able to store programs or user-defined formulae 

• It must not be able to perform symbolic algebra, symbolic integration or differentiation 

• Within the above, the calculator may be capable of evaluating elementary mathematical functions such as sin(x), log(x), exp(x), xy and it may contain constants such as π.

These guidelines follow the regulations but, supersede on detail, the 'Use of calculators in Examinations' in the University Examination Regulations.

The intention of the rules is to prevent the possibility of a candidate obtaining an advantage by having a powerful calculating aid (or of reading stored information as a substitute for knowing it). It is appreciated that candidates may already own calculators that are excluded by these rules. In such case the candidate is responsible for obtaining a more basic calculator that is within the rules, and for becoming familiar with it in advance of the Examination.