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Economics Students Protest Over ‘Impossible’ Exam


It’s every student’s worst nightmare: opening a final year exam paper to find a bunch of questions you cannot for the life of you answer. Economics students at Sheffield University have experienced just that – and have made official complaints.

Economics Students Protest Over ‘Impossible’ Exam

The BBC has reported that final year students have organised a petition for submission to Sheffield University after students claimed to have been given an exam this January containing compulsory questions for which they had in no way been prepared.

The economics in cities exam was sat by over 100 final year students taking Single Honours BSc Economics and Economics as part of their Joint Honours degrees.

There was upheaval on Twitter regarding the exam, with some students calling it an “absolute disgrace,” and ‘”an exam from hell”.

 Main points of concern were the claim that one question demanded the application of mathematics, for which they were unprepared. The second section of the paper reportedly contained one question on a topic that had not been covered in any seminars or lectures. One student described the topic as “completely alien to us”.   

As students will be all too aware, final year exams play a huge role in final degree classifications. The Sheffield students have raised concerns that the exam could affect their final degree marks.

The University has reportedly listened to complaints so far, with the Head of the Economics Department Prof Simon Tebbutt commenting in an email to students, "You should also be aware that as well as being second-marked within the department and moderated by our external examiners, all module marks are compared across modules at each level to ensure comparability.

"If there are large discrepancies, adjustments are considered by the examination board."


By Jos Weale, Editor,