Second year medical exams have been surrounded by controversy again this year, after complaints that unhelpful phrasing, obscure content and inclusion of material not on the syllabus made them even more difficult. The exams, known as 1st BM Part 2, take place after the end of Hilary, and candidates are due to receive their results this week. The controversial questions, which appeared in the multiple choice section of the paper, asked the student to identify the incorrect or least likely answer rather than the correct one. One second year medic, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “This made it incredibly easy to misread almost every question.’ Another pointed out that ‘the point of the examination [is] to test our core medical knowledge, not our grammar!” A further objection was at the alleged inclusion of ‘extension’ material in the multiple choice sections. These are only meant to test a tightly-specified syllabus of ‘core’ knowledge, and typically carry a pass mark of 80% for each question. Yet students claim that a significant amount of extension material was included in the examinations.One question in particular, covering the mechanisms of diuretic drugs, asked for information that candidates claim was specifically excluded from the syllabus.The University Press Office responded to the allegations, saying that if students were concerned, “There is a procedure for them to raise these concerns with the Proctors through their colleges. None of the First BM Part 2 candidates has done so.”However at least two students, including Richard Rosch, a Magdalen second year, have instead contacted the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre directly. The senior clerical officer, Ashley Morely, said that their complaints “may be reviewed during the post examination meeting.”Last year students were unhappy about the content on the multiple choice sections, especially in the general pathology and microbiology paper. “Some of the questions [in this paper] were unbelievably obscure,” said one third year. “I remember everyone was very angry.” A summary of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) report for that year admits “general unhappiness” about the issue. The examiners defended their position, claiming that while some of the “distracter answers” may have been off-syllabus, this was not the case for any correct answers. However the examiners’ report for the 2007 papers shows that they lowered the pass mark for a large number of questions in the pathology paper, judging that it was too high for eight out of the sixteen questions.
Asset managers and asset owners have called for UK and EU negotiators to protect the interests of savers and investors as they flesh out the detail of a Brexit agreement.UK prime minister Theresa May last night announced the draft withdrawal agreement following what she described as a “long, detailed and impassioned debate” between cabinet ministers.She also acknowledged there would be “difficult days ahead” – and this morning several ministers resigned in protest at the agreement, including Brexit minister Dominic Raab, Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara and work and pensions minister Esther McVey.However, Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, the trade body for UK asset managers, said the agreement was “a significant breakthrough”. “European savers and the industries that serve them can take some comfort from the announcements today, which mitigate some of the worst feared cliff-edge effects of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and provides a clearer road ahead,” he said. Theresa May addresses reporters on 14 November“Although there are still important political hurdles to clear in the coming weeks, and firms will continue to keep their contingency plans under review, the details published today will give firms more clarity on the shape of the future relationship between the EU and the UK. There is still much to be negotiated but today’s announcement take us closer to a new relationship with the EU.“All efforts must now be focused on securing a final agreement that protects the interests of European savers and investors and which allows the asset management industry to flourish.”Speaking at an event in London today, Azad Zangana, senior European economist and strategist at Schroders, said the draft agreement marked “the end of the very beginning of Brexit” and that, if all went well, a cliff-edge “no deal” situation would be avoided.However, he warned that this was still one of several possible outcomes from a transition period, in addition to a hard, soft, or “limbo” Brexit. Pension fund trade body’s tentative welcomeNigel Peaple, director of policy and research at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), said: “Brexit negotiations have created a great deal of uncertainty and, provided the deal gets through parliament, we believe that it could help to provide economic stability which remains a key issue for our member schemes.“It’s imperative that any deal agreed takes into account the interests of the pension industry, as well as savers, in order to help those entering their retirement years do so in a comfortable manner.”The association has previously called for the government to maintain a free trade agreement for goods to support businesses and therefore pension funds.In the political agreement published jointly by the UK and EU, the negotiators stated that they had agreed to “comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition as described below”.The agreement also stated there would be “zero tariffs, no fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all goods sectors”.‘Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ Michel Barnier presents the draft agreement to the European CommissionIn a statement today, the European Union’s negotiators reiterated their mantra that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.“The EU and UK negotiators will continue their work on the political declaration on the framework for the future relationship based on the outline published today,” the statement said.The European Council – made up of the government leaders of EU member states – will need to ratify the agreement, as will the UK parliament.Additional reporting by Susanna Rust
Press Association If the two London clubs finish the season level on points, goal difference and goals scored, a play-off will be necessary to decide third place and the automatic Champions League qualification spot. That scenario could happen if the Gunners win 2-1 at Newcastle and Chelsea draw 0-0 at home to Everton, or any scoreline where Chelsea draw and Arsenal score two more goals than them and win by the odd goal. Premier League chiefs will draw up contingency plans this week for a possible play-off between Arsenal and Chelsea but Wembley Stadium is unlikely to be pencilled in as the venue. The problem for the Premier League would be where and when to play such a match and officials will start planning for such an event, while hoping the results on Sunday do not present them with the headache. The league carried out similar contingency planning back in 1996 when Manchester United and Newcastle had very similar points and goals totals going into the last few matches of the season, and even booked Wembley and printed some tickets for a possible title play-off. In the event, United went on to win the title by four points. This time, the demands on Wembley means fitting in a play-off may prove impossible – the Champions League final and Football League play-off finals are already booked there, plus England’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland on May 29. A more likely venue would be West Ham’s stadium but there are possible fixture clashes as Chelsea have an end-of-season tour to the USA to play two friendlies against Manchester City next week. However, it could be that the Premier League insist that a play-off takes priority. There are also England friendlies to consider – as well as the Republic of Ireland match England then travel to Rio de Janeiro to play Brazil on June 2. Neither Chelsea nor Arsenal would want the season to stretch into June but the play-off regulation is part of Premier League rules. They state: “If at the end of the season… the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board.”