Are exam essays marked more leniently than coursework essays?Watch
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With an exam essay, we look very much more for solid basics. Firstly, has the essay answered the question? It's surprisingly easy to get that entirely wrong. If you've revised a topic in detail but it doesn't come up in the paper, there's a terrible temptation to shoehorn your knowledge into a question which might be vaguely related. I had one example this year. If it had been a question about the topic the student wrote about, it would have scored very highly. Sadly it was a shoehorn job and it just about scraped a pass, simply because the actual question was just touched on. This does happen with coursework, but it's easier to avoid as you have more time to think about it.
Secondly, how well has the answer addressed the question? For example, if the question asks for named examples to illustrate your answer, then you need to get as many correct ones in there as possible. In a coursework essay, you'd probably use fewer and explain them more fully, but in an exam you don't have the luxury of time. Another example would be a question which asks you to "discuss". The temptation in the limited time of an exam is to brain-dump lists of facts, but to answer the question, you need to put together an argument or present different perspectives based on them. The facts would get marks, but the missing discussion would result in a much greater deduction - possibly a fail.
Some people can reference in an essay - I stand in awe of them as I never could. Unless your subject specifically demands it (e.g. Law generally requires sources), then in many/most marking schemes, referencing isn't expected for exams where it would be mandatory for coursework. If people do use correct references in an exam where I am, then they will get extra marks. However if others don't use references, they won't have marks deducted.
Coursework tests your abilities to research and use the information you find. Exam essays are testing what you can remember and how well you can use it under pressure. Personally, I was always great at coursework and pretty average at exams, because my memory is a bit rubbish. Other people have the opposite skillset. Having combined assessment techniques gives as many people as possible, a fighting chance of a decent overall mark for a unit.
It's possible that a 60% coursework essay would be marked more highly if turned in exactly in the same format for the same question in an exam. However, the likelihood of being able to turn in a coursework-length and quality essay in the limited time of a 1-3 hour exam, is going to be minimal for most people. Exam marking schemes will take this into account.
There is no such thing as an in between. If you submitted an exam question as a cw essay you'd barely get a pass purely on the referencing.
As for how a cw essay would translate, it obviously depends on the quality of that essay. But I'd reckon a 60 would get a first.
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The fundamental criterion in an exam essay is can you show understanding of the question in your answer using examples and evidence.
Coursework essays have broader criteria, and understanding is still very important but we will also look for much more extensive research, a well defined structure, good writing style etc.