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Chair of the Faculty of Mathematics

May 2016
To Students of Part IA of the Mathematical Tripos

Advice on Short Questions
At its meeting of 18/11/10, the Faculty Board of Mathematics requested that the Chair of the
Faculty Board write to students and Director of Studies about Section I short questions.
The Faculty's Schedules state:
Section I contains questions that are intended to be accessible to any student who has
studied the material conscientiously. They should not contain any significant ‘problem’
element. Section II questions are intended to be more challenging.
The Faculty Board has emphasised to Examiners that short questions should be accessible to
any student who has studied the material conscientiously, and should not contain any significant
‘problem’ element. The Faculty Board hopes that students will take note of this when considering
their examination strategies and that Director of Studies will take note when advising students.

Advice on the Examination Rubric
The undergraduate Mathematical Tripos involves over 600 students each taking four papers.
Examiners have to deal with about 20,000 attempts at questions. Every script goes through at
least two sorting procedures and at least three checking procedures.
Every page of every script is marked by an examiner and checked by another person. The
“rubric” given on the front of each examination paper includes a number of instructions that are
designed to eliminate mistakes from this process. If you get any of these instructions wrong, the
examiners will not penalise you; but you will have thrown a small spanner in the system and
introduced a very small possibility that some of your work will not receive the appropriate credit.
There are no restrictions on what you may write with, but you should avoid red and green, which
are used for marking and checking.
You should be aware of the rubric regarding the number of questions you may attempt. As
indicated in the Schedules:
Candidates may attempt all the questions in Section I and at most five questions from
Section II, of which no more than three may be on the same lecture course.
More details can be found in the introduction to the Schedules booklet: see
www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad/schedules
Please note that every year the examiners observe that candidates waste time by attempting
more questions than allowed.
The rubric also instructs candidates to write legibly. Examiners will make every effort to read poor
handwriting, and almost always succeed, but if an answer, or part of an answer, is completely
indecipherable then it will not be awarded the relevant marks. Exceptions will be made, where
appropriate, for candidates with disabilities or diagnosed specific learning difficulties.
The instructions in the rubric are listed at the end of this document, together with comments and
an explanation of the purpose.
If you have any questions about the exams you should consult your director of studies or contact
feedback@maths.cam.ac.uk.
Centre for Mathematical Sciences
Wilberforce Road
Cambridge CB3 0WA, UK
Tel :
+44 (0)1223 337968
Fax:
+44 (0)1223 765590
E-mail: undergrad-office@maths.cam.ac.uk

Candidates may attempt all four questions from Section I and at most five questions from Section II.ac.cam. You need to write in the designated boxes on each GOLD cover sheet: (a) your examination number. your work can still be identified). The examination paper is divided into two sections. UK Tel : +44 (0)1223 337968 Fax: +44 (0)1223 765590 E-mail: undergrad-office@maths. B. You must also complete a green master cover sheet listing all the questions you have attempted. it acts as an additional check on the information you give on the gold cover sheets and also shows if a bundle has been mislaid. Answers sent to the wrong examiner can cause delays in the (already tight) marking timetable.The Examination Rubric Before you begin read these instructions carefully. You then need to circle the number of any question attempted. Include in the same bundle all questions from Section I and II with the same code letter. Remember to attach a GOLD cover sheet to each bundle comprised of questions with the same code letter. Complete answers are preferred to fragments. At the end of the examination: Tie up your answers in separate bundles. Each question in Section II carries twice the number of marks of each question in Section I. C. Every cover sheet must bear your examination number and desk number. 7A was set by examiner A and will by marked by examiner A. Write legibly. otherwise you place yourself at a grave disadvantage. say. marked A. e. Comments on the Examination Rubric and its purpose As well as just writing on one side of the paper. Failing to fill this sheet in correctly could result in marks being lost or incorrectly credited. Write on one side of the paper only and begin each answer on a separate sheet. This is because different bundles are sent to different examiners: a question labelled. D. This information helps ensure that credit for your work is assigned to you (although there are failsafes so that even if you enter. In Section II. no more than three questions on each course may be attempted. please write on the side with the hole in the top left corner. Attach a completed gold cover sheet to each bundle. The comments on how to tie up your cover sheets are to ensure that no work is overlooked.uk . say. 7079B. Centre for Mathematical Sciences Wilberforce Road Cambridge CB3 0WA. The GREEN master cover sheet is part of this fail-safe mechanism. your candidate number incorrectly. E and F according to the code letter affixed to each question.g. (b) your desk number.

cross out.g. these are printed on the back of the GREEN sheet. or place a small dot within. the GREEN master cover sheet and the GOLD cover sheet. the circle. the paper number and all the questions you have attempted. Centre for Mathematical Sciences Wilberforce Road Cambridge CB3 0WA.cam. or circle the circle. Attached are copies of the rubric. as here: Please do not tick. e.ac. strike a line through. your desk number. The coversheet is designed to be machine readable so you need to fully fill in the appropriate circles. UK Tel : +44 (0)1223 337968 Fax: +44 (0)1223 765590 E-mail: undergrad-office@maths.Information from the GREEN cover sheet is checked against your marks awarded and has proven beneficial to candidates in the past.uk . You need to list on the GREEN master cover sheet your examination number. Please note that it is helpful (although this is not part of the rubric) to tie up the questions you have attempted in NUMERICAL ORDER.

no more than three questions on each course may be attempted. 2016 Part IA 9:00 am to 12:00 pm PAPER 1 Before you begin read these instructions carefully. At the end of the examination: Tie up your answers in separate bundles. You must also complete a green master cover sheet listing all the questions you have attempted. . Each question in Section II carries twice the number of marks of each question in Section I. In Section II. STATIONERY REQUIREMENTS Gold cover sheets Green master cover sheet SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS None You may not start to read the questions printed on the subsequent pages until instructed to do so by the Invigilator. Attach a completed gold cover sheet to each bundle. Write on one side of the paper only and begin each answer on a separate sheet. E and F according to the code letter affixed to each question. 26 May. D. Complete answers are preferred to fragments.MATHEMATICAL TRIPOS Thursday. C. Write legibly. Candidates may attempt all four questions from Section I and at most five questions from Section II. marked A. The examination paper is divided into two sections. Include in the same bundle all questions from Section I and II with the same code letter. B. otherwise you place yourself at a grave disadvantage. Every cover sheet must bear your examination number and desk number.