Although the weather is warm and dry, birds are singing, and flowers blooming, many students are crammed inside Manchester's libraries and coffee shops. The end of each term offers students a chance to demonstrate knowledge and persistence in the form of exams and papers. For the BASM programme, term one features four exams over a two-week period. In term two, students are allowed to pick three out of four classes, of which one can even be from other programmes. This means the deadlines and course requirements can vary between students. Below, I detail my experiences in both terms with exams, and include what I enjoyed about second term classes.
Term one has four required modules. Each one has a presentation and paper, which accounts for a portion of the overall mark. Each module also has a final exam that counts for 60 – 70% of the overall grade. The first term exam period is two weeks and is after Christmas break. The timetable for exams is not released until the end of the first term. For our cohort, there was two exams the first week and two the second week. This gave ample time to study and review. When students sit for exams, they are allocated three hours to complete the exam and it is hand written. Then, results are released four or five weeks after the exam.
Understandably, many students get nervous when taking exams. For the second term, students can pick their modules. Before picking a module, it is possible to see if the course will have an exam or paper as the primary mark. For me, I feel more comfortable writing papers than taking an exam. Also, the exam period in second term is four weeks long. So, I elected to take modules that required papers instead of exams. The two weeks before the paper deadlines was quite busy, but this was followed by four weeks off. For me, this looked like a good use of time.
Lastly, the classes offered second term are really engaging. Every student is required to take a research module. The content helped me understand what it would take to create high quality research. I found this useful for both future analysts and PhD students. I also took a class on strategy making. In this class, students work in groups to develop a mock strategy and recommendation for a large company. I also took two classes with the programme director. The first was about identifying the specific obstacles in an organisation that hinders growth. The second one was about why organisation's fail to remain competitive when their industry changes. Both classes were very useful and influence my understanding of what businesses do in order to compete.
Overall, my experiences both terms have been rewarding and satisfying. Although exam periods and deadlines are stressful, I have found more than enough time to relax and recoup. For me, exams have been a motivation to plan adventures and enjoy Manchester.