Issue 8, Semester 1
By Elizabeth Georgiou
The day that will be etched into the MLS history books. The day when faith was lost.
A day of broken promises and broken dreams.
The day of the Property Interim Exam.
Was it really this dramatic?
During that dreaded hour, it definitely felt like it! Clicking submit with one second to spare gave me the adrenaline rush I didn’t need on a Monday afternoon. Though I should say thank you to MLS, because without that buzz, I wouldn’t have felt the need to run out my frustration on the treadmill afterward.
For the benefit of future Property students, I will raise here some student concerns regarding the Property Interim Exam. But if you are still recovering physically and emotionally from this experience I urge you, for your own sake, not to read on.
To understand what was required of us in the Property Interim Exam a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document was released on the LMS early in the semester. The FAQs provided a clear and detailed description of the type of questions to expect on the exam and how to take the exam online. We were told the FAQs would ease our worry and provide all the information we needed. We were assured there would be no more than five possible options. But alas, why provide five options when you can provide eight! As one embattled second year stated, ‘It was like turning up for a 100m sprint and realising you had to run 800m.’
Eight possible choices would not have been that bad if there was at least a way to mark these choices, to keep track of incorrect choices and the possible contenders. After doing five questions, it became clear why a whole hour was provided for 20 multiple choice questions. The choices needed to be read over multiple times before you were confident with your answer.
As seasoned LSAT takers, multiple choice questions are not something JD students shy away from. Nor do we shy away from online exams. However, the obvious flaws apparent in the Property Interim Test suggest that the format should be reassessed in the future.
Many students encountered technical issues, with duplicate answers appearing on their exam. This would not have been a problem had the test been undertaken on campus, rather than online. Eight choices would also not have been a problem, had the test been undertaken on campus, where choices could be eliminated by annotating the exam page.
However, an online format is clearly more appealing to students. It enables flexibility and the ability to balance other commitments and responsibilities. If the interim test continues to be undertaken online, the problems encountered by students in 2018 need to be addressed in future.
Despite the unfolding drama following the Property Interim Exam, the way the Property Law teaching team handled the situation was attentive and fair. In the interests of the students who encountered technical issues, the two questions that raised issues were not marked and all students were given an extra two marks. Other concerns raised by students were also addressed by lecturers, and were taken into account as considerations for future interim assessments. Lecturers also repeatedly offered the opportunity to view your exam and discuss incorrect answers. This response was as students would hope for in these situations.
Despite the Property Interim Exam whirlwind, I can safely say that the storm of discontent has died down to a small breeze of MLS chatter. However, in the interests of future Property Law students, I hope that problems encountered in the 2018 Property Interim Exam are addressed to ensure fairness and clarity.