University of St Andrews

Has anyone worked out an easy way to knowing what you will gain overall in a module?

For example if you have 2 essays worth 40% of the mark and an exam worth 60% then is there an easy way to work out overall grades?

Say you get 100% in the essays, then that means you have 40% going into the exam. However you still need to get a high percentage in the exam to maintain that high grade; simply because the exam overrules the essay.
If you get A* in essays but an A in exam, you could drop down to an overall A as the exam percent is higher.
University of St Andrews
Hmm thanks for the answer but I think this is further confounded by the infamous St Andrews 20 point scale....

Say you get 15 for essay 1 and 15.5 for essay 2 and these are worth 40% of the total grade, what do you need to get in the exam to get an overall 16 say?
Hopefull
Has anyone worked out an easy way to knowing what you will gain overall in a module?

For example if you have 2 essays worth 40% of the mark and an exam worth 60% then is there an easy way to work out overall grades?

In a word, no.

Theoretically, if you know your percentages on the continuous assessment, and know what grade you want at the end, you can work out what percentage you need overall, then work out the percentage you need in the exam, then convert that to a mark out of 20.
That's not really of much practical help, though. You could probably ask a lecturer for the module to advise you on the matter.
Yes, the marking system is rather strange. Is there any usefulness to it?
The Highlander
Yes, the marking system is rather strange. Is there any usefulness to it?

It is so that those who deserve a first get a second and those who deserve a second get a first
Hopefull
It is so that those who deserve a first get a second and those who deserve a second get a first

o_O I'm not exactly sure why they use the 20-point scale, but it does mean you can give people a mark without laying their percentage on a plate for them to see. If there's been a particularly hard exam, this stops people from getting too cocky for getting a higher percentage than their performance would typically correspond to, and it works the other way: if you get a hard exam, the 20-point grading scheme pulls your mark back to where it should be relatively.

As your degree classification is worked out from your performance in honours modules, 'normalising' your grades as you go is better than overviewing each student's university career at the end of 4-5 years.

Those are my thoughts, anyway...
To be honest I think any attempts to work out exactly what you need on an exam are futile with this system, for the reasons the previous poster mentioned.
I'll give you an example:

A second year philosophy module of mine consisted of one essay and one exam, each supposedly worth 50%. If there were a foolproof way to literally calculate an overall module mark, there could surely be no easier calculation than this. My essay was a 16, so if I got 100% on the exam the maximum mark I'd have been looking at would have been an 18. I got an 18.2 overall.

This suggests that the 20 point scale is used as a reflection of the standardised quality of your work, rather than the literal mark on your exam paper.
Similarly, in honours my exam/essay ratio is supposedly 60/40. Yet the overall mark I've been given at least twice has clearly been calculated 50/50 (for example a 15.5 overall mark on an exam and an average of 17.5 in coursework resulting in an overall mark of 16.5).

Frankly, I have no idea exactly how they work it out. As a result, even if I already have a first for my coursework, for my exam I don't feel confident unless I'm sure I'm producing work that is at least 16.5 quality.

Whilst in some ways I think that this system is utterly ludicrous, it does at least encourage you to do the best you possibly can in an exam in order to get the result you want.
Hopefull
Has anyone worked out an easy way to knowing what you will gain overall in a module?

For example if you have 2 essays worth 40% of the mark and an exam worth 60% then is there an easy way to work out overall grades?

if you go to mms it will show your running score out of 20 for each module. (st andrews website, current students, link right beside webct)
shellyholmes
if you go to mms it will show your running score out of 20 for each module. (st andrews website, current students, link right beside webct)

It doesn't show me In fact, my list of modules is completely empty! That's not right
Bella_trixxx
It doesn't show me In fact, my list of modules is completely empty! That's not right

It is OK I have the same problems, I think it depends purely on the department and module coordinators registering you on MMS for that module....
I got a total of 85% in my maths IT course, (I managed to sleep through the final exam which was worth a further 10% or so).

For that I got an 18.

I think it varies from module to module and depending on the average scores for the year etc.
I think the problem is that nobody yet has been able to answer this;

Your course has three assessments , 2 essays and 1 exam. The essays are worth 40% of the total mark and the exam 60%.

If you get say 15 in one essay and 16 in the other what does that equate to? Obviously you can add them up and divide by two thus giving you your running average of 15.5. Where I struggle is working out how well I will need to to in the exam to equal this mark or indeed better it?
Hopefull
I think the problem is that nobody yet has been able to answer this;

Your course has three assessments , 2 essays and 1 exam. The essays are worth 40% of the total mark and the exam 60%.

If you get say 15 in one essay and 16 in the other what does that equate to? Obviously you can add them up and divide by two thus giving you your running average of 15.5. Where I struggle is working out how well I will need to to in the exam to equal this mark or indeed better it?

There's no way we know of accurately pinning down how well you need to do: the 20-point grading scheme is fairly secretive, and there's no completely reliable algorithmic process that churns out a number telling you how well you need to do to obtain a certain grade at the end of it all.

In terms of the essays [and ok, I don't know anything about essays], I'd look at those and see if you can work out why they were given the grades they were - i.e., what things made the marker percieve them as good. I'm not suggesting you replicate your essays in the exam, or force them to be something they don't want to be, but looking over your past work and trying to tune into it is probably more constructive than sitting with a calculator playing with estimations.
Hopefull
I think the problem is that nobody yet has been able to answer this;

Your course has three assessments , 2 essays and 1 exam. The essays are worth 40% of the total mark and the exam 60%.

If you get say 15 in one essay and 16 in the other what does that equate to? Obviously you can add them up and divide by two thus giving you your running average of 15.5. Where I struggle is working out how well I will need to to in the exam to equal this mark or indeed better it?

Once again I wholeheartedly agree with imperceptibleninga...

As a fourth year arts student who has little experience of exams other than the essay based 40/60 scenario you describe, if I go into an exam with an average of 15.5 on my coursework and want to either maintain or better that mark in my exam, I know I need to write three essays that are likely to average out at a 15.5 standard. If I scored any less on the exam then the 60% weighting would mean my coursework score would be dragged down.

What is a 15.5 standard piece of work? It’s entirely a judgment call, on both your behalf and the markers’. This is why essays in honours arts exams are double marked. I ran out of time in an exam last year and knew that my last essay was atrocious. My exam feedback, however, revealed that whilst one of the markers indeed gave it a 12, the other gave it 15.5.

As imperceptibleninga explained, for an essay based subject you simply need to learn what qualities are required to produce a certain standard of essay. This is no easy task, especially as these qualities tend to vary between different subjects and departments. You need to work out what each department are looking for and apply that to your essays.

This can still never guarantee a certain mark, however, for the reason described above. This is further compounded by the problems I raised in my other post - even if you could somehow be sure that you’d achieved averages of 15.5 on your exam, your overall grade can technically still be affected by other factors.