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Education Quality and Policy Office


General Board policy

The General Board do not allow candidates to offer combinations of papers which are not permitted in the regulations. There are three exceptions:

  • Incuria
    Where a genuine error has been made by a Director of Studies or Tutor; it should not be assumed that a plea of incuria will necessarily be approved
  • Illness
    Where an alternative assessment is proposed in the light of illness or disability; approval will also be required from the Examination Access and Mitigation Committee
  • Disadvantage
    Where denying the request would seriously disadvantage the candidate's preparation for the examination; e.g., if changes to Tripos Regulations have occurred while a candidate has intermitted

In all such cases the General Board would expect the Faculty Board concerned strongly to support the application.

In cases where the application is made on other grounds, e.g. because the student falls within a particular category of student, such as an Affiliated Student, or because of the student's preferences or prior experience, the Board are most unlikely to approve the request.

They adhere to the general principles that:

  • an opportunity which is available to one student should be available to all;
  • both the student and his/her advisers should have known which combinations of papers were permissible under the regulations;
  • the integrity of the structure of the Tripos is undermined by allowing too many individual exceptions to the prescribed routes through it.

Faculty Boards and comparable authorities which wish to maximise student choice should frame their Tripos Regulations accordingly.  Colleges are expected to ensure that their Tutors and Directors of Studies are aware of the regulations for examinations as well as upcoming changes to the structure of courses.  

Procedure for requesting dispensation

For all requests to allow illegal combinations, whether due to incuria, illness, disadvantage or disability, the procedures of the Examination Access and Mitigation Committee apply.