Despite fatigue, disrupted travel and end-of-year plans, UCT students are doing their best to tackle their November exams.
A total of 1 226 students took up the opportunity to defer their full set of exams till January 2017. To date an additional 3 000 students have applied to defer some, but not all of their exams.
Although they have been given these options, the majority of students will be writing all of their exams this year due to the difficulties presented by having to organise travel and accommodation for the second exam block. Others were required to write this year due to the stipulations of their funding.
“I have friends whose scholarship programmes, their bursary programmes, told them they have to write during this block,” explains Sandile Mthombeni.
Given the financial strain that would come along with returning for this second block, deferral is not really an option for many students, he says.
Other students are just too pressed for time to take on all of their exams this year.
Sam Zimmerman is confident enough with his 2016 academic performance to go ahead and write all of his exams now, with the exception of mathematics. He says that there simply isn't sufficient time for him to ensure that he gets the results he needs to pass the course.
Back to the books
For many students, settling down and studying after such a prolonged period of unrest has been incredibly difficult.
“I feel like if we haven't been at school for like two months, how do you find it right to burden someone with two exams on the same day?” says Geraldine Katunga.
Scheduling conflicts like this are another reason students have opted to defer.
However, the motivation to study after a long vacation period, and with less support from fellow students, will make deferred exams all the more difficult, says Gareth Peters.
The presence of security outside exam venues has other students feeling uneasy.
“It's a bit weird, especially with the military guys here. It's like, okay, am I coming to campus and something's going to happen? Or am I safe at campus?” explains Nikhat Hassan.
But despite the difficulties faced, the first week of exams has proceeded successfully.
“I hope that everyone who has been affected can actually still write, you know? And still be able to perform to their best,” says Mthombeni.
Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Videos Saadiq Berhardien.
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