In my program at the University of Bristol, I only have three courses a term. It seems like nothing, especially compared to five courses back home. The readings are a bit heavier and I have to engage a lot more in seminars — mostly due to smaller class sizes — but generally term time is not terribly stressful. A presentation here, a formative paper there, weekly discussions and you're done!
Except you're not.
In all of my classes here, the final assignment or exam of the class is the only one that matters. It's worth 100 per cent of my mark. In all my classes. All due within five days of each other.
I know for a lot of people on exchange, marks don't matter unless they're failing ones, but since a Master's degree isn't off the table for me, I can't afford to get below a 2:1 while here — side note, trying to figure out how grades work here was unnecessarily confusing.
Luckily for me, two of my courses are upper year Sociology courses and their final assignments are essays and only 3000 word essays at that! I can handle that without too much issue. I'm trying to get as much done before what my flatmate in English who has a similar schedule has lovingly dubbed “Hell Week.” We're trying not to complain too much, especially when we see our other flatmates’ workload.
One is in veterinary science and she has seven different exams, six written or electronic ones and a practical exam where she's playing some kind of merry-go-round with real animals. Overall, these exams are worth 90 per cent of her final mark. If she fails even one, her whole degree could be on the line.
Three of our other flatmates are in some form of engineering and have four exams worth 70 to 80 per cent of their final grade. One of their courses doesn't have a final exam, their entire grade being made up of course work.
The country and ascent might have changed, but apparently exam season is universal.