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Medicine students forced to resit exam after initial Christmas paper revealed to be 'compromised'

A high proportion of second-year medical students studying the ‘Cell Cell Communication’ module were found to have achieved A grades in the ‘compromised’ exam.

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SECOND YEAR MEDICAL students at University College Dublin (UCD) have been informed they must resit an exam they first sat before Christmas after it emerged the exam paper in question had been ‘compromised’.

It has emerged that images of a paper strikingly similar to the one taken before Christmas had been circulated among many students prior to the exam, the University Observer reports.

Students enrolled in the ‘Cell-Cell Communication’ module received an email on 22 January stating that the exam had been “compromised and thus rendered invalid”.

The email also informed students that they would have to sit “a new examination of the same format” this semester.

The students who took the initial exam did not receive a grade for the module along with the rest of their results on 24 January.

The results for the exam showed an unexpectedly high number of A and B grades, with several students claiming that 230 students of the approximate 300 enrolled in the module received an A grade.

18362621_10213506459922295_2075133186_o (1) A page from the 'leaked' multiple-choice exam

The exam was a 50-question multiple choice questionnaire.

Speaking anonymously, one student who sat the exam said: “there was an old exam that a student produced… that was going around between us and we saw that paper before we’d gone in.”

Another third year medicine student, meanwhile said: “this year, someone in the year below me asked my friend for the notes she had for Cell-Cell and since my friend knew I had the questions and answers from sitting the repeat she asked me for them. I gave them to her to pass on and I told her to encourage them to pass them to everyone in their year and they did.”

When asked for comment by the University Observer, module co-ordinator Dr John Baugh stated:

“I have never provided students with exam questions ahead of resit exams. I have allowed students to review, under supervision, the exam paper that they sat and failed so that they can identify topics they need assistance with.”

Students have never been allowed to copy questions or take exam papers from my office. Students taking this module are explicitly informed that the school does not release past multiple-choice papers.

The resit of the exam is scheduled for late February.

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Dylan O'Neill

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