You sit down in the crowded hall, awkwardly shuffling your body into the uncomfortable plastic chair - one of dozens that have been stuffed into the crowded space. Your palms are sweaty, there is a slight ringing in your left ear. You are unable to ascertain whether these symptoms are due to the lack of sleep or the medically inadvisable amounts of highly caffeinated beverages you forced into your beleaguered body last night in one final, vain attempt to prepare for this exam. Your body thrums with a nervous anxiety. You can sense that your brain has entered fight or flight mode, your primitive limbic system perceiving your fear of the impending exam as an actual physical threat. You know that you left it too late to study for the exam, for weeks you knew that you were watching time fritter away that you could've spent more wisely - should've spent more wisely to avoid, yet another, floundering and futile attempt to learn an entire semester's worth of material in the final night before the exam.
However, a small smile plays across your lips, as you adjust yourself in your seat, and feel something rustle beneath your t-shirt - your secret weapon. Studying for all previous exams had comprehensively been proven to be a waste of time - the results reflected that, and as such, you knew you had but one option remaining. You peer down your top, to check, for almost the 70th time today, that your secret cargo is secure. The ace up your sleeve - the pages of notes you have secreted in various parts of your body to sneak into the exam hall. An invigilator passes by, thwacking down the dreaded exam paper in front of you. You look at its title; '2nd Year - Sport Rehabilitation and Athletic Therapy Exam - IT Carlow' and feel your body relaxing. Perhaps, perhaps this time, things will be different and you might, through your own ingenuity and daring attempts to best the system, earn yourself a high-grade in the exam.
Then you turn over the paper and see that, somehow, the marking scheme for the entire test is attached to the exam paper and you realise that you have gaffer-taped 47 pages of notes to your body for absolutely no reason. The exam has been compromised.
Such was the situation that arose in IT Carlow - regarding the exam paper debacle, not about somebody sneaking notes into an exam, that was purely an illustrative vignette. Second-year students in IT Carlow's Sport Rehabilitation and Athletic Therapy course were forced to resit an exam after the marking scheme for the exam in question was attached to the exam papers handed out to each student.
The mistake was quickly realised and, rather than having to reschedule the exam for a different day, it was simply postponed 30 minutes while a second exam paper was sourced.
A statement issued to Joe.ie by a spokesperson for IT Carlow said of the incident that,
"As the exam paper was being distributed, a photocopy of a marking scheme for that paper was mistakenly attached to some of the papers. The exam paper was immediately withdrawn.
“As per the Institute’s quality assurance process and higher education regulations, two different papers are prepared in advance for each exam in case of any issue and are approved in advance by the external examiner.
“There was a 30-minute break while the second paper was brought to the exam hall. It is unfortunate but I heard it was all done very calmly with minimal fuss.”
However, a student who was taking the exam described how the confusion caused distress for some students, with two students refusing to sit the replacement paper due to the resultant confusion.