Changes to Exam Discussion Rules

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Puddles the Monkey
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Hi everyone,

The Student Room is here to help and support everyone in our community – especially during the busy exam season.

That’s why – later on today – we are updating our guidelines around exam discussion. These changes will kick in at 6pm today: Tuesday 20 May.

So, what’s changing then?

It’s really simple: once your exam has finished, you can come onto TSR and talk about the detail of it straight away. Previously, we had a rule in place that prevented you from discussing the specifics of certain exams until a set amount of time had passed. We think TSR can be much more helpful than that, and so that rule has now gone.

Are there any exceptions? Yes, there are a few, and we’ve kept these so we can do our best to help ensure exams are a level-playing field for everyone. The exceptions are:

Oral and practical exams
These are taken by different students at different times, so we ask that you don't request or give out specific details about these exams while they're going on.

ICT exams
Again, some ICT exams are sat over a period of days or weeks. Please don't discuss the detail of these while these exams are happening.

STEP exams
Are you taking a STEP exam? If so, please wait for 24 hours after the end of the exam before discussing specific questions.

Marking schemes
Are you taking an Edexcel or IB exam? If so, please wait until the morning after your exam before posting a detailed marking scheme.

We know how important it is to be able to discuss the exams you’ve taken once you’ve finished them, and we reckon these new guidelines are a great way to help you with that.

Good luck with the rest of your exams!
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Slowbro93
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Hi everyone,

The Student Room is here to help and support everyone in our community – especially during the busy exam season.

That’s why – later on today – we are updating our guidelines around exam discussion. These changes will kick in at 6pm today: Tuesday 20 May.

So, what’s changing then?

It’s really simple: once your exam has finished, you can come onto TSR and talk about the detail of it straight away. Previously, we had a rule in place that prevented you from discussing the specifics of certain exams until a set amount of time had passed. We think TSR can be much more helpful than that, and so that rule has now gone.

Are there any exceptions? Yes, there are a few, and we’ve kept these so we can do our best to help ensure exams are a level-playing field for everyone. The exceptions are:

Oral and practical exams
These are taken by different students at different times, so we ask that you don't request or give out specific details about these exams while they're going on.

ICT exams
Again, some ICT exams are sat over a period of days or weeks. Please don't discuss the detail of these while these exams are happening.

STEP exams
Are you taking a STEP exam? If so, please wait for 24 hours after the end of the exam before discussing specific questions.

Marking schemes
Are you taking an Edexcel or IB exam? If so, please wait until the morning after your exam before posting a detailed marking scheme.

We know how important it is to be able to discuss the exams you’ve taken once you’ve finished them, and we reckon these new guidelines are a great way to help you with that.

Good luck with the rest of your exams!
Can I just ask briefly, how will this keep an equal playing field? Saying an exam is hard, okay fair enough. However, if you have one student saying "did you get "x" as the answer" and everyone quotes them saying "yes I did! :woo:" then the chances of this being correct is fairly certain (I'm talking about this from a maths PoV)

Personally, I could see this causing more issues then solutions and unless Edexcel have a unique paper per timezone then the same issue will arise. In addition, I'm aware that modding can be difficult during this period however I do feel like this is literally saying "the way to solve the problem is to essentially remove the rule" and create a really big grey area.

Just my two cents
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Hudl
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)

Marking schemes
Are you taking an Edexcel or IB exam? If so, please wait until the morning after your exam before posting a detailed marking scheme.

How has the edexcel rules changed from before, this is what it has always been!
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Navo D.
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(Original post by Slowbro93)
Can I just ask briefly, how will this keep an equal playing field? Saying an exam is hard, okay fair enough. However, if you have one student saying "did you get "x" as the answer" and everyone quotes them saying "yes I did! :woo:" then the chances of this being correct is fairly certain (I'm talking about this from a maths PoV)

Personally, I could see this causing more issues then solutions and unless Edexcel have a unique paper per timezone then the same issue will arise. In addition, I'm aware that modding can be difficult during this period however I do feel like this is literally saying "the way to solve the problem is to essentially remove the rule" and create a really big grey area.

Just my two cents

As far as I know Edexcel has instructed examination centres with specific timings to start that paper such that no 2 centres will have candidates done with the paper while others are yet to give it. For example, I sit my GCE Edexcel exams at 12:30pm (GMT +4:30 with DST); so neither am I done before any other centre in other parts of the world, not are they done before I enter the exam hall. For centres GMT +6:30 and ahead, edexcel has issued separate "R" papers. Furthermore a lot of international students opt for the IAL examinations by edexcel, not the GCE ones. Do correct me if I'm wrong!
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Idle
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(Original post by Slowbro93)
Can I just ask briefly, how will this keep an equal playing field? Saying an exam is hard, okay fair enough. However, if you have one student saying "did you get "x" as the answer" and everyone quotes them saying "yes I did! :woo:" then the chances of this being correct is fairly certain (I'm talking about this from a maths PoV)

Personally, I could see this causing more issues then solutions and unless Edexcel have a unique paper per timezone then the same issue will arise. In addition, I'm aware that modding can be difficult during this period however I do feel like this is literally saying "the way to solve the problem is to essentially remove the rule" and create a really big grey area.

Just my two cents
My personal opinion on this, is that frankly it is the exam boards problem. It would be great if it could be actively policed etc but it really is becoming unfair to put the burden on a group of volunteers who have no connection to any exam board who often have exams themselves to police a policy that is unworkable. Other sites such as FB and Twitter don't do anything to stop it, the internet is a real thing and exam boards don't seem to get this.
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mr tim
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(Original post by AhmedDavid)
How has the edexcel rules changed from before, this is what it has always been!
I think the morning papers can be discussed at 12am, and the afternoon papers at 4:30 or something, not the next morning like here. Think it's all at a later time.
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mccrae01
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I think the change is that basic discussion is allowed, we just cant post unofficial mark scheme threads.

Pleased about this , spent ages yesterday telling new members they couldnt discuss an exam so thats a relief that I dont have to do that any more...
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Old_Simon
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Taking part in an Edexcel exam does not involve any kind of legal obligation or undertaking not to disclose the contents of any kind.
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Slowbro93
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(Original post by Idle)
My personal opinion on this, is that frankly it is the exam boards problem. It would be great if it could be actively policed etc but it really is becoming unfair to put the burden on a group of volunteers who have no connection to any exam board who often have exams themselves to police a policy that is unworkable. Other sites such as FB and Twitter don't do anything to stop it, the internet is a real thing and exam boards don't seem to get this.
Okay I get that, but if TSR are going down this route what's the point on saying a limit to exam answers? Surely if you're allowing discussion you may as well put up solutions? (even without questions if it wants to be kept "formal")

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Potally_Tissed
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(Original post by Slowbro93)
Okay I get that, but if TSR are going down this route what's the point on saying a limit to exam answers? Surely if you're allowing discussion you may as well put up solutions? (even without questions if it wants to be kept "formal")

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Discussion is fine but we're drawing the line at handing people all of the answers on a plate
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Slowbro93
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(Original post by Potally_Tissed)
Discussion is fine but we're drawing the line at handing people all of the answers on a plate
So basically, if a student really wants to cheat they have to scroll through a set of posts and make their own mark scheme for a paper they will sit later?
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EierVonSatan
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(Original post by Potally_Tissed)
Discussion is fine but we're drawing the line at handing people all of the answers on a plate
So for clarity's sake, posting a scanned copy of the question paper (or parts of) would now be fine?
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Potally_Tissed
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(Original post by EierVonSatan)
So for clarity's sake, posting a scanned copy of the question paper (or parts of) would now be fine?
Edit: I have been corrected. Apparently posting the paper is not allowed :getmecoat:

(Original post by Slowbro93)
So basically, if a student really wants to cheat they have to scroll through a set of posts and make their own mark scheme for a paper they will sit later?
Yes, assuming they have the opportunity, which if Edexcel do indeed enforce it such that you don't have one person done with an exam before someone else takes the same exam, they won't.
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Old_Simon
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(Original post by Potally_Tissed)
That would probably be in breach of copyright anyway, but that aside, yes. Questions are fine, mark schemes are not.



Yes, assuming they have the opportunity, which if Edexcel do indeed enforce it such that you don't have one person done with an exam before someone else takes the same exam, they won't.
Well if Edexcel exams do not take place in different time zones then why can't full mark schemes be disclosed ?
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Potally_Tissed
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(Original post by Old_Simon)
Well if Edexcel exams do not take place in different time zones then why can't full mark schemes be disclosed ?
It's a precaution in case this doesn't turn out to be the case all of the time in practice.
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by Old_Simon)
Well if Edexcel exams do not take place in different time zones then why can't full mark schemes be disclosed ?
Edexcel introduced different exams (international A-levels) in 2013, making this the first year that students would sit different exams. It's my understanding that international students have the option of sitting either the international A-level, or the regular A-level - so some international students will have a different exam, some will have the same. The difference between IAL and AL is the same as the difference between GCSE and IGCSE! So we don't allow mark schemes for those few students who're sitting the same exam, and for whom the guidance given by Pearson isn't strictly adhered to.
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usycool1
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Interesting :beard:

(Original post by Navo D.)
As far as I know Edexcel has instructed examination centres with specific timings to start that paper such that no 2 centres will have candidates done with the paper while others are yet to give it. For example, I sit my GCE Edexcel exams at 12:30pm (GMT +4:30 with DST); so neither am I done before any other centre in other parts of the world, not are they done before I enter the exam hall.
I don't think that's true. :no:

(Original post by Old_Simon)
Taking part in an Edexcel exam does not involve any kind of legal obligation or undertaking not to disclose the contents of any kind.
Yeah, but it wouldn't exactly be bright to reveal details of an exam that you have done which others are still yet to do

(Original post by Idle)
My personal opinion on this, is that frankly it is the exam boards problem. It would be great if it could be actively policed etc but it really is becoming unfair to put the burden on a group of volunteers who have no connection to any exam board who often have exams themselves to police a policy that is unworkable. Other sites such as FB and Twitter don't do anything to stop it, the internet is a real thing and exam boards don't seem to get this.
I agree that the exam boards really ought to do something about it. :yep: At the same time though, I do think that it is a bit of a shame that we're giving in to this sort of thing...in some ways, it kind of makes me think that allowing (almost) free discussion in this way is saying that trying to gain an unfair advantage in exams through this site is OK.

At the same time, I also think that maybe it'll all actually be a bit harder to moderate now. When I was living the high life as a mod (:cool: ), one of the hardest things for me to moderate was practical exam discussion. The main reason why was that the rules for practical exam discussion weren't as strict as the now old Edexcel exam discussion rules, so it was sometimes very hard to make a judgement on posts that were borderline. I don't know, but because the rules now seem to be very similar for the practical exam rules, this may become just as hard to moderate :sadnod:

(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Previously, we had a rule in place that prevented you from discussing the specifics of certain exams until a set amount of time had passed. We think TSR can be much more helpful than that, and so that rule has now gone.
I'm probably being not thinking clearly, so am missing the obvious ()... but how will removing the rule make TSR more helpful?
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by usycool1)
I'm probably being not thinking clearly, so am missing the obvious ()... but how will removing the rule make TSR more helpful?
Well imagine if you came out of an exam, and then you were muzzled for 12 hours to stop you or any of your friends from talking about the exam with each other...that would be pretty upsetting, no?
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Old_Simon
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Edexcel themselves do not publish the most recent paper so that schools can use it for the next mock.
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Navo D.
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(Original post by usycool1)
I don't think that's true. :no:
http://www.jcq.org.uk/Download/exams...marked-version

Look under 2.1 International centres have different starting times just for this purpose! I can confirm that they start later the further you go to the +GMT side. For +6.5 and further regions Edexcel issues a separate 'R' paper, because otherwise afternoon exams for them would be extremely late!
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