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Department of Computer Science and Technology


Exams Advice for June 2022

Advice will be issued to Departments during Lent term 2022

All papers will be three-hour online examinations on Moodle with  additional time for uploading answers. The structure of the exam papers will be very similar to those used in previous years and is available online. Candidates who normally qualify for additional time in Examinations will continue to receive the same additional time. Check with your college if you are expecting extra time and have not yet received notification. 

All CST examinations will be open book, so you may refer to your course notes and other resources if you wish. You may NOT discuss your answers with anyone else during the examination. We will ask all students to abide by an Honour Code (see below). The Examiners may conduct online vivas with students after the exams have been completed.

Further information on how to prepare for open book exams 

Below is the advice for 2021 to give an overview of how online exams work. This information will be updated for 2022 as soon as arrangements are confirmed.

Preparation for the Tripos exams 2021

The exams will be run online on Moodle. Please make sure you have checked the revised exam timetable. Before the exams, download your Blind Candidate Number from your self-service page on CamSIS. Student Admin will send you the link to the Moodle page a few days prior to the exams. Try it out and familiarize yourself with the site.

(We will provide a separate FAQ page in response to queries if required.)

You should read the following guidance 

Moodle Exams Overview

Moodle Support Hub - specific guidance for students

and try the Handwritten Exams Practice Course

Form and Conduct instructions

Dates of the tripos exams 

Your exams start at 11:30 BST (GMT+1)

The paper lasts 3 hours. You are allowed 15 mins upload time plus a 10 minute grace period.

You should have received notification if you are allowed extra time for your examinations.

For each paper you answer 5 questions

Submit each question answer in a separate PDF. As the file name, use your
candidate number, paper and question number (e.g., 1234A-p1-q6.pdf). Also write
your candidate number, paper and question number at the start of each PDF.

You are allowed 10 minutes grace in case you have difficulties uploading after which the following penalties apply at the discretion of the examiners.

Up to 10 minutes grace period None

10 minutes grace period plus up to 10% of permitted writing + uploading time

10% of marks

10 minutes grace period plus 10-20% of permitted writing + uploading time

20% of marks

10 minutes grace period plus over 20% of permitted writing + uploading time


Significant breach managed via the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals as Academic Misconduct.


The current guidance regarding plagiarism still applies and is given here. However, for the open book examinations this year, it is permissible for you to quote from your own previous work directly without attribution. In addition, you may also use material from lecture notes without attribution.

Word Limit

For typed answers, there is a 4 page limit per question answer. The minimum font size is 12pt. Diagrams do not count towards this limit.  There is no limit on handwritten answer length. 

Computer Science Tripos Honour Code

  1. We take it as a principle that maintaining the integrity and fairness of examinations should be regarded as a collaboration between students and the Department.
  2. The students undertake that they will not help others in examinations and will not receive any help from others (students or non-students).
  3. Students will actively contribute to ensuring that all students adhere to the code.
  4. Students will keep to the conditions of the assessment and will accurately report those conditions where asked.
  5. The Department will not make any attempt at remote invigilation of online examinations.

Further information on honour codes

An honour code is a mutual agreement on academic integrity by students and faculty. For example, Stanford’s honour code is set out here.

Note the emphasis on mutuality: Stanford takes the principle of trust very seriously and does not invigilate (`proctor’) exams in any way. Indeed faculty are not allowed in the examination room.  Since, unlike Stanford, we do not have 100 years of tradition of an honour code to fall back on, we recognise that there may be people who have suspicions about integrity in online examinations. The examiners will therefore conduct vivas as necessary to ensure the integrity of the process.

Further help is available on the following student pages

Student pages on Assessment mitigation specifically for 2020-21

Course impact statement for students


Practice exam

There will be a practice exam on Friday 28th May beginning 11:30 BST. This is to give you a chance to practice uploading scripts to Moodle under exam conditions. You can use it as a mock exam. Your Director of Studies will advise you. Details and the link will be emailed to you on Wednesday 26 May.

General Advice

Try and make sure you have a quiet comfortable place to sit your exam

How to write and submit your exam answers

0. Make it easy for your examiners to award you the marks you deserve by prioritizing LEGIBILITY, so that they may actually read your brilliant ideas. Specifically:


1.1 - type, rather than handwrite if you can, any lengthy pieces of English prose, particularly if your handwriting is hard to read

1.2 - ensure that anything handwritten is high resolution, not pixellated and reasonably high contrast

1.3 - if you use a camera rather than a scanner, please ensure uniform illumination and avoid shadows

1.4 - produce one and only one pdf per exam question 

1.4.1   NOT one single pdf containing answers to multiple exam questions eg- 1234A-p1-q1 and 1234A-p1-q2 and 1234A-p1-q3 etc.

1.4.2   NOT multiple files for a single question eg- one for 1234A-p1-q1a, another for 1234A-p10q1b, another for pictures, another for equations etc.


2.1 - mix typed text and handwritten diagrams and equations in a single pdf

2.1.1 - put each such “external” image on its own A4 page, if embedding it in the text is time-consuming; but keep it in its logical place in the text (it is OK to have lots of white space)

2.2 - write the whole script longhand on paper, provided your handwriting is beautifully legible and you comply with 1.2 and 1.3

2.3 - use a tablet, or pen and paper as preferred, for writing figures and equations


3.1- produce pdf pages in any other format than A4

3.2 - write in a typeface smaller than 10 pt (or, equivalently, handwrite in tiny script)

3.3 - feel compelled to do anything typographically elaborate with LaTeX or ascii art; if it’s complicated, draw it freehand

3.4 - use pencil or other low-contrast writing implements; black ink preferred

Part IA Students only - Guidance for your Maths papers

Your Maths exams are run by the Natural Science Department and the code of conduct will be different this year from your Computer Science exams. The two Maths papers will be closed-book and calculators are not permitted. Please read the rubric below which will appear on the cover of your exam paper and follow the instructions carefully.


Before you begin read these instructions carefully:

The paper has two sections, A and B. Section A contains short questions and carries 20 marks in total. Section B contains ten questions, each carrying 20 marks. The approximate number of marks allocated to a part of a question is indicated in the right hand margin.

You may upload your answers to all of section A, and to no more than five questions from section B. Answers must be handwritten with a dark pen on paper, so as to scan clearly, and then scanned into PDF files as follows. Your section A solutions should be scanned and uploaded together into a single PDF file named A. For each of your five section B solutions you should upload one PDF file named after the question, (for example use filename 13Y for your response to question 13Y). So for the whole paper you may upload up to six PDF files.

You should upload your files within 40 minutes after the end of the three hour exam. Please ensure your scans are legible. If the process of scanning and uploading takes you longer than 40 minutes you should email your college tutor to explain why.

Please download the NSTIA Coversheet using the link on the exam paper and fill out the form to indicate which questions you have attempted and uploaded.

Calculators are not permitted in this examination. This is a closed-book examination, with no outside sources permitted, which must be done under self-imposed examination conditions.