Just the word ‘exam’ is enough to strike fear into most students. But at Trinity College Dublin yesterday morning students were truly left in a panic.
The students were due to start at 9am in Goldsmith Hall for a foundation scholarship exam. However, come 9.20 they had only just been seated and settled.
Students were warned the hall was overbooked
There were over 240 seats available in the exam hall and just 180 students, yet students were notified the venue was overbooked.
According to the Irish University Times, a security guard told pupils waiting for their exams there were not enough seats for everyone. Student Celia Hughes told The University Times the guard informed them seats would be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Panic ensued as students feared they would be unable to sit their exam.
“Everyone waiting immediately rushed towards the still-closed doors, half panicking about possibly not being able to sit the exam, and half laughing at how ridiculous the situation was,” the second-year engineering student said.
"Everyone in the room was in panic mode": disordered start disrupts Schols exam https://t.co/zw1UkAHZ6b
— The University Times (@universitytimes) January 9, 2018
No seating arrangements are common
An anonymous invigilator from the exam told The University Times all students were eventually seated and seats were not first-come, first-served.
The invigilator claimed it is common practice in foundation scholarship exams to omit a seating plan from the arrangements due to a history of poor attendance.
Finally able to begin, the engineering examinees found only two pages in their exam papers, not the five required. Hughes told The University Times this “sent the invigilators and students into a panic again” which naturally caused further disruption to other students.
The engineering students were allotted an extra 20 minutes of exam time to compensate for the confusion; however, there was still panic in the air.
The invigilator told The University Times the chaos was caused by many small issues that “snowballed”.
“I’ve invigilated exams in much worse venues, where people had to wear gloves and coats, or sit on the floor”, said the invigilator.
The delays and disruption affected around 180 students. Hughes said the “panicked frenzy” felt in the exam hall was “definitely among the worst ways to begin an exam”.