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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Your Questions Answered

Full information on the format and timetable of MMLL exams are contained within the Exams Plan 2022 document, which was circulated earlier this year. Latest update: 23rd May, 2022.

Note that full guidance with what is included and excluded in the word count is contained within this document.

For style, we recommend following the use of the Long Essay Style Guide.

Please see below answers to various examination questions we received on exams last year. We will be updating this document as more questions arise this year. If you cannot see an answer to a question you have on this document please email


I'm doing an AV exam, or C1 and/or C2. Do I submit my first scheduled paper at the end of tranche 1 too?

No. For students taking AV and C1 and/or C2, you have the first two working days of tranche 1 to do your paper. You'll then do your first scheduled paper in tranche 2.

If you’re taking two scheduled papers, do you do one in Tranche 2 and one in Tranche 3? Tranche 3 is 5 days long, so I’m assuming the second would have to be done in Tranche 4? Similarly, if someone is doing three scheduled papers, do they then have 5 days to do one of their papers?

All tranches are three working days long. Please note that students are not to spend longer than they would in the case of in-person exams on their work. They are simply given a window of three working days within which to find this time. If you a Part II student doing two scheduled papers, you will use Tranche 1 for C1/C2, Tranche 2 for your first scheduled paper, and Tranche 3 for your second scheduled paper. If you had a third scheduled paper, that would go in Tranche 4.

I'm doing AV or C1 and/or C2 and I'm confused: do I need to submit these language papers on the 27th May, and then submit my first scheduled paper on the 30th?

No. Students taking the language papers AV or C1 and/or C2 will use the two working days in the language tranche - 26th and 27th May - to do all of these language papers. They'll then use the next tranche to submit their first scheduled paper. Some students doing these papers have been granted exceptional permission to use the first two working days of tranche 2 to do these papers, due to significant clashes with other exams in tranche 1.

Do you get to pick which paper you do when, or does each paper have its own tranche?

You can choose which scheduled paper you do in which tranche, but you are expected to use the first tranches unless you have been granted permission to skip a tranche.

I'm a Part IA student and have two language exams scheduled within the first tranche. Can I get permission to skip submitting a scheduled paper in this tranche?

The Chairs of MML Part IA and IB have granted permission to all Part IA and IB students to skip submission of a take-home assessment in tranche 1 if they have two language papers timetabled in those days (i.e. 26th-30th May). Similarly, all students taking both ITB1 and ITB2 are given permission to skip tranche 2, and all students taking both FRB1 and FRB2 are given permission to skip tranche 3.

How will deadlines work for those granted extra time and adjustments?

The University is stating that Take-Home exams have built-in extra time, as you are not expected to spend more time answering than you would in a timed examination, yet you are given several days to write your answers. However, in cases of illness, caring duties or other mitigations, we can be flexible (see next question). 

I have a clash with a paper I’m taking from another Tripos. What should I do? 

We understand that students borrowing papers may face deadline clashes.  If your paper has a fixed deadline that falls in an MMLL paper ‘tranche’, you may simply submit one of your MMLL papers for the following tranche deadline. For HML IA and IB students, if one History paper falls in the MMLL ‘language tranche’ (i.e. 26th-27th May), we would still expect you to complete your language papers for the same tranche (given that you have fewer language papers than MMLL students). If two or more History papers fall in the languages tranche, you may submit your language papers for the following tranche, but please inform your Director of Studies and if this is the case. For ‘borrowed’ TAL papers (from MML/HML), these are not set at specific times, so you simply treat a TAL paper as one of your scheduled papers, e.g. to be handed in for the second or third tranches, after the language paper tranche. If you have any clashes that can't be resolved this way please inform your Director of Studies AND e-mail 

Will there be an option to complete work at a later date if sick or suffering from health problems?

On a case-by-case basis, we will relax internal tranche deadlines for tranches 1, 2 and 3, for people who are suffering from health problems, up to a final deadline of 14th June. Beyond that date, an application would need to be made by your College in the usual way. 

I'm taking FR13, and language papers C1 and C2. FR13 is scheduled for the 26th May, and I'm meant to have the 26th May and 27th May to do the two language papers. Am I expected to complete all three papers within these two working days?

Due to the unique scheduling of FR13, students taking this combination of papers are permitted to use the first two working days of tranche 2 to submit their language exams. This means that these two papers should be submitted by 4pm on the 1st June, instead of 4pm on the 27th May.

How will examiners treat answers that are outside the word-count limits?

For exercises (e.g. essays) that have a specified word count in the rubric, the word count has been provided for your own protection, i.e. to prevent over-work. You should stick to these word counts, but you should not stress about meeting the count with precision: examiners will allow a reasonable margin for spill-over. There are no specified penalties for exceeding the word count, but examiners will stop reading beyond a certain point where you have clearly and wilfully exceeded the count. 

How do the departments expect us to prepare for these exams in the coming weeks?

You will have revision supervisions for your papers as normal. Language classes, lectures and revision seminars, where these are offered in the Easter Term, will continue in person whenever possible. We encourage students to revise broadly in order to achieve the best learning outcome possible. 

The Faculty has also arranged workshops on general revision strategies to be held online at the start of Easter Term, and more information on those will be forthcoming. 

How will ‘hybrid’ papers (i.e. PG3, SP6, GR3, GR6, SL9, and SL13) written exam work since it is a combination of a language and literature?

These papers are considered “hybrid”, which means that the exam has been broken into two parts. For the language component, one part of exam will be completed in person without access to resources. For the cultural component (literature, film, etc.), the second part of the exam will be completed as a take-home assessment with access to resources. As is the case in other scheduled papers, referencing and bibliographies are now being assessed as part of the take-home component of the exam. 

When it is possible to write one 4,500-word essay for a scheduled paper or three 1500-word essays in Part II, does this include commentary sections in say CS1 and a data question in linguistics, or in this case must the format be an answer for the commentary / data section plus two 1500-word essay? 

Commentaries will normally not be available for the 4,500-word essay option. Nevertheless, students should refer to correspondence with paper convenors regarding format changes to their papers this year. 

I’m a Part IB student. Will I be able to answer with a single-essay option?

For second-year students, the single-essay option is not available in Tripos 2022. 

Will the longer single essay in Part II be a comparative answer, requiring students to refer to at least 3 texts they have studied?  i.e., in order for it to be in some way a fair comparison to those students who chose the 3 essays (or 2 essays and a commentary) option? 

Whilst Faculty norms tend to dictate comparative answers in scheduled papers, it will be necessary this year for students to refer to email correspondence from their paper convenors to clarify doubts regarding rubric changes.  

Especially for the single-essay option, can I use and refer to, or quote from, secondary sources that I would not normally have access to in a timed exam?

For any take-home essay you can consult any sources available to you, and you may of course quote from critics.  

I am confused about what is meant by simple exam-style referencing. Can you give a precise example?

This is a parenthetical reference to acknowledge that an idea is not your own. For example, “One critic refers to Döblin's novel as a ‘labyrinth’ (Schmidt, Berlin Alexanderplatz 148).” References in the body of the essay are now included as part of the marking criteria for scheduled papers, as are bibliographies, though what style you choose is up to you. 

Information on in-text references and bibliographies can be found on the following links:  

Will I be penalized if I provide proper referencing and footnotes like for a dissertation?

Proper referencing is now part of the assessment for scheduled papers in MMLL. It is not a requirement, however, to use a formatting style that makes use of footnotes, as a parenthetical style with a bibliography (see above) is more than sufficient. The updated marking criteria can be found at the following link:  

For scheduled papers will we be required to submit bibliographies and will our referencing be taken into account in our marks, as it is in coursework, and will these be included in the word count?

Clear and consistent referencing is now part of the assessment (see above). The referencing style you choose (MLA; MHRA; Chicago-Style; etc.) will not be taken into account, however, and you should feel free to opt for a style that works well for you.  

References within the body of the essay (as part of the parenthetical citation referred to above, and therefore not footnotes), do count as part of the final word tally, though you will not be penalised should you go over within reason. Footnotes and bibliographies, on the other hand, do not count as part of the final word tally.

I have a question about the Long Essays for Part IB as the plan sent to us states that "Long Essays will be submitted and examined as usual".  Could you please let us know whether this includes the same referencing regulations as would be expected usually, i.e.: specific page numbers must be included? 

Proper referencing and bibliographies have historically been part of the assessment for the long essay.

As a mitigation effort in Tripos 2022, only the higher of the two scores given for the Long Essay will be used to calculate the final mark for the paper in question. 

Can I quote from a translation of a main text, if I don’t have the original text available?

Quotation from the original text is preferred wherever possible, and may be easier in the take-home assessment format, but if only a translation is available, that will not be penalised. A simple footnote on first citation indicating ‘original text not available’ should be included. 

How does the Faculty intend to prevent candidates from simply writing their commentary about the machine’s translation with a few of their own innovations?

Use of machine translation or published translations will be checked for via Turnitin and treated as plagiarism. The intention of the commentary is precisely to allow for candidates to demonstrate that they are thinking actively about translation choices. 

Will there be higher expectations since we have days rather than hours to write, for example more reading, theories, complex examples etc?

We do not expect you to write work of a higher quality or quantity than you would have done in a timed examination. 

Will the marking criteria change, and if the criteria are to remain the same are they not expecting work of a higher quality? In practice, do you think that the examiners will unofficially change the criteria by which they mark, e.g. giving less weighting to vocabulary in translations/language commentaries?

The marking criteria for scheduled papers will not be changed again before exams in Easter 2022. Minor changes to the marking criteria were made in December 2021. 

For translation papers such as A2, B2, and C1, the marking criteria were changed (in  December 2020) to require translation commentaries as part of the exercise. These commentaries will be required for exams sat in Tripos 2022—whether they are sat in person (A2/B2) or completed online (C1). 

As A2 and B2 exams generally require students to translate two passages, we have added 30 minutes to each exam format (15 minutes per set of translator’s notes). 

As was the case in Tripos 2021, notes and translations will be marked holistically, and students will not be penalised should they make the same mistake twice (in the translation and in their translator’s note).  

For missing commentaries, the Faculty’s recommendation is that examiners should mark the translation as usual, but deduct 2 marks per missing commentary, up to a maximum of 10 marks. The paper should be marked as Unfinished (U). For papers where there are two passages with, say, 5 commentaries each passage, the maximum penalty would still be 10 marks (otherwise the deduction would become excessive). 

Please note that B3 papers will not require these commentaries unless health conditions force us to revert to an online examination.

Papers such as A1 and B1 have not been changed nor have marking criteria for other papers (such as SP6 or GR3, for instance), which may have translation elements. Please refer to emails from paper convenors regarding updates on rubrics for these exams.  

Can I use images in my exam essays?

You can use images, but generally examiners will not take them into account. However, images that form part of the main body of work (tables, graphs, etc.) will be considered by examiners. The Chairs of the MML exam boards have approved used of movie stills in exam scripts, if these are appropriate.

Can I hand write my essay?

Students should standard word-processing (such as Microsoft Word) for essays unless there is a specific requirement or option for the paper/language in question to answer using hand-writing (e.g. in the case of papers requiring extensive use of IPA or Cyrillic script). You should seek advice from the paper co-ordinator as to whether hand-writing is an option or is required. For hand-written answers, you will need to scan them legibly (e.g. using a mobile phone app). For a paper where a few exercises require hand-writing, these can be scanned, and inserted into a Word document where appropriate. 

With regard to grading, will the safety net for finalists be based entirely on part IB? if this is indeed the case, does this then mean that the results achieved in the YAP, oral and dissertation (for those that chose this option) which have all already been completed not affect this safety net?

There is no safety net for finalists in MMLL this year. Other mitigations have been put in place (optional oral exam; C1/C2 sat online with access to resources) to compensate for a disrupted year abroad, but a safety net will not be available. 

Are the weightings of our dissertation and papers changing at all, or are they staying the same? 

The weightings remain exactly the same as in the original schema for Parts IA and IB MML/HML. In Part II MML/HML, however, given the optional nature of the oral exam this year, C1 and C2 will be weighted as 70% of a paper each. 

Will papers we are borrowing from faculties who are classing students appear on our transcripts?

Other Faculties will pass their marks to MMLL, and then those marks will be treated in the same way as any mark for a paper within MMLL for your Tripos part. 

How and when will we receive results? Will marks be published, as classes normally are, and if so, will there be an opportunity to opt-out of this?

Results are published in June and July following the final exam boards. The anticipated dates are as follows: 

  • MML Part II, HML Part II, Linguistics Parts IIA and IIB: Saturday 25th June 

  • MML Parts IA and IB, Linguistics Part I: Wednesday 29th June 

  • HML Parts IA and IB: Monday 4th July  

Results will be published on CamSIS.

Note that the university has decided to discontinue open publication of class lists: 

How will candidates for Catalan/Portuguese be selected for next year without language assessment, as it is my understanding that not everyone is granted these papers? 

Where there is a paper cap in place, the students admitted onto the course are normally selected by lottery.