Candidates were reported to have alerted invigilators to the similarity between this year’s exam and the previous year’s paper, but were allegedly told that it was a “clerical error” and to continue the exam as normal.
Many finalists thought that the paper was identical to 2012’s paper, although some reported that there may have been slight differences in one question.
One finalist who took the exam described it as, “surprising” and “slightly unnerving”. He also expressed concerns that the exam was “possibly unfair”, as it potentially gave those who had sat the paper as a collection or revised from it a greater advantage.
However, he continued: “It remains to be seen as to whether it will have a real impact on results.”
Another PPE finalist, who did not sit this paper, but is about to begin his exams, echoed this, saying: “It does shake my faith in the PPE examiners a little.”
One tutor was less restrained in their response, describing the incident as a “serious error”. However, they told their students that the exam board would decide what to do, advising them not to worry and to concentrate on the rest of their finals instead.
The Sociological Theory paper involves the study of a “variety of theoretical perspectives on social life.” The course examines “how social structures are built up from individual action” and the “emergent properties of social life”.
Students are then required to use these perspectives to explore issues like gender inequality, changing social norms and how some groups manage problems of collective change.
The Sociological Theory paper is sat by around 20 students and is offered as an optional module as part of Human Sciences, PPE, and History and Politics.
The Sociology Faculty was unavailable for comment.