Give exam timetables MUCH earlier

Anonymous submitted on

Friday 2nd December 2022


Exams are, for most students, one of the most stressful parts of the term. For sucessful results, one should have a solid revision plan right up until the exams. However, not knowing the exact dates of exams until ~2 weeks before the exams makes it extrememly difficult to plan revision - and this is even more crucial during the exam season (not before). Knowing whether you have 1 day or 5 days between exams is crucial to know in advance as it significantly changes your study focus for the day/ week.

As Semester 1 is drawing to a close, I am making my revision plans for the next two months - but I don't know when my exams are! 

I understand that there is a general exam timetable published already, however last term, one of my exams was moved several times on this timetable (without any notification!), creating uncertainty, confusion, and unsurprisingly, stress.

I also understand there is a lot of organising rooms and invigilators etc for in-person exams; but the stress of timetabling shouldn't be projected onto the students who are here to learn. 

I propose that the Universty gives exam dates at least 4 weeks in advance. It is a lot to ask students to revise so intensely over what should be a festive family period; adding unnecessary stress is the last thing students need. Students want to succeed and do their very best, and should not have their knowledge clouded by poor mental health because of unsatisfactory organisation of timetabling. 


Here, you can view the complete set of official responses from the sabbatical officers regarding this submission.

Students' Union replied on

Wednesday 25th Jan 2023 10:14am


I have received the following response from the Exams and Assessment team, which explains the process behind creating each students exam timetable. I hope that this answers your query. If you want to discuss your concerns further, please email me at 



Thank you for your request regarding the publication and timeline involved in timetabling the examinations.


I thought it might help to provide a bit of background on what happens during the exam scheduling process.


We began scheduling examination in October (this year it was Monday 17th) shortly after the end of the open period for students to change their optional modules has finished.


When scheduling, in addition to avoiding clashes, every effort is made to produce a schedule that meets the following order of priorities:


First priority:              candidates shall have no more than 3 consecutive examinations followed by a break. ‘Consecutive’ means morning/afternoon/morning or afternoon/morning/afternoon.

Second priority:          examinations to be taken by undergraduate finalists or taught postgraduate students will be timetabled as early as possible in the examination period, unless told otherwise and cohort size over 100

Third priority:             examination papers combinations which must be either concurrent or sequential will be timetabled accordingly.

Fourth priority:           examinations which, for whatever reason, need to be scheduled on specific dates/times (scheduling requests).


Once we had achieved this, we issued a draft to Faculties to review on 4th November and asked for any reasonable adjustments to be made by 18th November.


The ‘generic’ timetable (i.e. without room details) was then published to students on the exams website on Friday 25th November – a SUSSED post announcing this t was posted that week as well.


We fully recognise that your experience as a student will be affected by subsequent changes once the assessment timetable has been published online. Every effort is made to minimise changes to this once the review period is over and changes are only made where it is unavoidable (late changes to courses causing clashes or requests from Faculties that were not known during the review period) or to limit challenges on students.. We therefore hope that we can provide you with a generic examination timetable that is robust enough to enable you to plan and structure your revision for the assessment period.


The period between the release of the generic timetable and the release of individual student timetables that include room and seat information, is used to apply any requests for additional assessment requirements to students’ assessments (the deadline for students to submit these being 18th November) and allocate rooms and seats accordingly.


Individual timetables were made available to students on 22 December, just over 3 weeks ahead of the assessment period started.


We want to assure you that we understand your feedback and have agreed that for future exam periods, any changes made to the generic published timetabled will be communicated to all students taking these assessments so they can build this into their revision plans ahead of the release of individual timetables. We hope that this will go some way to addressing your concerns.


For next semester, your generic semester 2 assessment timetable will be published no later than 31st March 2023, with your individual timetable being made available online no later than Friday 28th April 2023.


These dates will be published on our website shortly after the assessment period for semester 2 has finished (Exam Timetables | Student and Academic Administration | University of Southampton)

Students' Union replied on

Friday 16th Dec 2022 8:58am


Thank you for your question.

I will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible with a response from the Timetabling team. 

Happy Holidays,



  • Forwarded to Vice President Education and Democracy

    Friday 9th Dec 2022 9:37am


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