Why are university exams still written on paper in the UK? At least in my uni

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beast132
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#1
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#1
Why are uni exams still mostly hand written? I don't understand how its possible, it's going to be 2015 soon.

It would be super easy to conduct the examinations on desktops / laptops with software dedicated for examination, with access to internet and other than necessary applications disabled.

This is not only just old-fashioned, but this is absolutely ******ED.

Are exams still hand written in your uni, or have they moved to a computerised system?
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sliceofcake
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#2
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#2
Handwritten in mine, except for those with learning disabilities, exceptional circumstances etc. I would probably get a higher grade if it was on computers. I always end up writing my conclusion and then adding on an extra paragraph for a point I'd just remembered, it'd be nice to re-order and make it flow nicer. It's probably a hell of a lot cheaper to give me a bit of paper than to give me a laptop though.
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Dez
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#3
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#3
I doubt any uni would have enough computers to move every single exam onto a digital format, not with the numbers that go on simultaneously in order to cram them all into a week or fortnight. Besides, having a computer can be more hindrance than help depending on the subject, it's much harder to type out mathematical equations, for example, than it is to hand-write them.
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username1221160
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#4
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#4
Around half of our exams are on computer. The software is clumsy to use and often crashes. The computer network has a habit of crashing during exams.

The old fashioned pen and paper method is tried, tested and reliable.
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cole-slaw
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#5
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#5
Because writing - especially if you need to rapidly and efficiently use symbols, graphs and diagrams - is infinitely quicker and easier than trying to type it?


Perhaps soon we will invent a hybrid system with a flat A3 sized tablet, where the exam questions will appear and you can then type the text in the gaps but also add in symbols and diagrams by hand on a touchscreen with a stylus, or generate a graph with a couple of touches.


Please note that I invented this idea and expect 50% royalties.
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Helloworld_95
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#6
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#6
Because typing is noisy and hand written is a lot easier for subjects which don't require solely lines of text.
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bittr n swt
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#7
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#7
I prefer hand written as I've been doing it all my life
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kpwxx
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#8
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#8
That wouldn't work (yet) logistically. There are not enough computers in one place to conduct that number of exams, and if they got that many they'd have to make an extra building just to house them which would be pretty much wasted the rest of the year. It's not economically viable right now. Once adequate computers become cheap and portable enough, as well as quiet, reliable and efficient enough, to do so maybe they will.

Plus as many have said about it would only apply for purely essay based subjects. Maths would be hopeless on a computer, each exam would take hours and hours to type up.

xxx
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beast132
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Dez)
I doubt any uni would have enough computers to move every single exam onto a digital format, not with the numbers that go on simultaneously in order to cram them all into a week or fortnight. Besides, having a computer can be more hindrance than help depending on the subject, it's much harder to type out mathematical equations, for example, than it is to hand-write them.
Yeah I get the point for specific subjects, e.g. maths, but for subjects like marketing where you have to just write essay answers for your exam.

Not only would it be easier for the students to type, but for the professors to read!

I'm a good example myself of a person who can't write redible text at a decent speed. If I want to write so, that someone else can read it, I need to slowly design each letter which is a massive waste of time. In this sense, computerising the systems would make it more equal for everyone.

Currently the exams are testing your writing skills on top of the actual subject you are supposed to know, which shouldn't be the purpose. If everyone had the chance to type their answers, the student could spend their time thinking about the content instead.
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Folion
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#10
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#10
(Original post by beast132)
Yeah I get the point for specific subjects, e.g. maths, but for subjects like marketing where you have to just write essay answers for your exam.

Not only would it be easier for the students to type, but for the professors to read!

I'm a good example myself of a person who can't write redible text at a decent speed. If I want to write so, that someone else can read it, I need to slowly design each letter which is a massive waste of time. In this sense, computerising the systems would make it more equal for everyone.

Currently the exams are testing your writing skills on top of the actual subject you are supposed to know, which shouldn't be the purpose. If everyone had the chance to type their answers, the student could spend their time thinking about the content instead.
But you're always going to get people who are the opposite to you and write legibly much faster than they can type so whichever system is in place will be disadvantaging someone. Plus using electronic devices can be fraught with extra problems like what if it crashes during the exam, what if your exam script gets accidently wiped or hacked? The low tech handwritten method is much simpler imho.
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cole-slaw
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#11
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#11
(Original post by beast132)
Yeah I get the point for specific subjects, e.g. maths, but for subjects like marketing where you have to just write essay answers for your exam.

Not only would it be easier for the students to type, but for the professors to read!

I'm a good example myself of a person who can't write redible text at a decent speed. If I want to write so, that someone else can read it, I need to slowly design each letter which is a massive waste of time. In this sense, computerising the systems would make it more equal for everyone.

Currently the exams are testing your writing skills on top of the actual subject you are supposed to know, which shouldn't be the purpose. If everyone had the chance to type their answers, the student could spend their time thinking about the content instead.
Did they not teach you to read and write at school?

When I was at school it was like all they concentrated on for years.

I think most people can still probably write faster than they can type.
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rayquaza17
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#12
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#12
Would be very difficult to do maths all on a computer!


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Champagne Supernova
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#13
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#13
Think about how many people take an exam at the same time at school, let alone university. I did exams alongside hundreds in one hall alone - a computer or laptop for every single one of those students would be ludicrous. Vice-chancellors wouldn't be able to line their pockets with ridiculous salaries otherwise (or you know, maybe the university would should spend that on something more crucial).

Then there's the cost of powering that not to mention being slated for using that much unnecessary electricity. Not to mention the problems with such a system crashing or inexplicably wiped? It would also draw in cries from the public along the lines of kids losing a fundamental human feature in being able to actually write things.
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Inazuma
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#14
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#14
I can see how it would be easier, particualrly now I've switched to all-computerised this year.

However

- Logistically hard. Law students here are ~350 in number, often bundled with other subjects for exams. No way to laptop them all without a huge budget
- Writing is a skill important in RL and as such good to have something to force you to do it at some point.
- Writing is almost fail safe -replacement pens etc. on hand. But viruses, power failures, etc. would be enough to ruin one's exam in seconds with no easy fix.
- While people say they'd be quicker with laptops - they'd probably lower the time, and raise the need for good grammar / spelling if it was digital anyway.
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rachelc142
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#15
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#15
(Original post by beast132)
Why are uni exams still mostly hand written? I don't understand how its possible, it's going to be 2015 soon.

It would be super easy to conduct the examinations on desktops / laptops with software dedicated for examination, with access to internet and other than necessary applications disabled.

This is not only just old-fashioned, but this is absolutely ******ED.

Are exams still hand written in your uni, or have they moved to a computerised system?
I do see what your saying but the main difficulty with this would be subjects like maths and physics
you would need a completely optimised keyboard with every single symbol or mathematical script, because it would just be too much of a ballache to have to go into the symbols option on word every single time you wrote an equation
plus it is just so much easier to hand write maths workings
you can write at the same speed you think, generally speaking, but I would only be able to type words as fast as I think rather than equations
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lucaf
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#16
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#16
Well personally I can write faster than I can type, so I prefer paper exams
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the bear
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#17
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#17
I wrote all my Cambridge essays with a goose quill.
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Gwilym101
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#18
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#18
Computers can crash.

Drawing on them is a pain in the arse.

Most people can write faster than they can type.

The most important reason is: Computers can be hacked, sabotaged or otherwise messed with.

The only good thing about exams are that you can be almost certain it is the students own work, if you put a computer into the mix for anything other than the most basic exams, there are any number of ways a student could cheat.
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jameswhughes
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#19
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#19
(Original post by beast132)
Why are uni exams still mostly hand written? I don't understand how its possible, it's going to be 2015 soon.

It would be super easy to conduct the examinations on desktops / laptops with software dedicated for examination, with access to internet and other than necessary applications disabled.

This is not only just old-fashioned, but this is absolutely ******ED.

Are exams still hand written in your uni, or have they moved to a computerised system?
No it's not. Computers still have a long way to go before writing maths on a computer is faster and easier than with a pen and paper, and then there are all the other factors like the cost of the computers and setting up the software.
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Rakas21
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#20
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#20
Time and cost.

To print the exams and buy a few spare pencils is quick, cheap and easy.

To have to wait for your software or hardware technician when there's a problem is not only more expensive but time consuming.

Finally, the cost of electricity during that hour alone probably exceeds the marginal cost of a pencil and a printed exam.
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