There is a written examination on the APL course material at the end of the academic year, and exam marks contribute 80% of the final course grade. The exam paper follows a similar format each year, with exactly one sitting and no resit paper. In some cases there may be an alternative exam paper for short-term visiting students — contact the lecturer for more information.

2016/17 APL Examination
Date: Friday 26 May 2017
Time: 1430–1630
Place: St. Leonard’s Land Games Hall
Please use the entrance in Viewcraig Gardens

Exam Format · Marks and Grades · Exam Dates
Results · Special Circumstances · Past Papers

Exam format

The APL exam lasts two hours and has three questions, each made up of several short sections. You should answer exactly two of the three questions. The marks available for each question and sub-question are shown on the exam paper.

This is a “closed book” exam: you cannot take any books, notes, or other reference material into the examination hall. If you wish to take a dictionary into the exam then please contact the ITO to arrange for special permission.

I recommended you write your exam answers in blue or black ink, with diagrams in pencil. However, markers will always work to do their best with whatever is submitted.

Marks and grades

All courses at Edinburgh use a standard scheme where work is marked out of 100 and assigned a grade from A to H. Undergraduate courses use the Extended Common Marking Scheme CMS1. The pass mark for each course is 40, and an A grade requires a score of 70 or higher. For postgraduate students, the award of MSc generally require a mark of at least 50.

The Edinburgh scheme is distinctive in reserving the highest mark bands for genuinely exceptional performance. A mark of 70—79 is already excellent, indicating a comprehensive understanding of the subject; marks above 80 or 90 are awarded for truly outstanding work, going beyond the level usually expected, that shows notable originality, creativity, or depth of analysis.

Links: Extended Common Marking Scheme; Detailed Grade Descriptors

Exam date

The APL exam takes place at the end of the academic year, some time in 1–26 May. The exact date and time are set centrally by the University during Semester 2, taking into account all course registrations by all students to avoid direct clashes. The Student Administration Service will publish these dates on 6 March 2017; when this happens you can find details in the searchable exam timetable under course code INFR11101.

Students who are visiting Edinburgh for just a single semester may be able to sit a separate exam paper before they leave. If this applies to you then please contact the lecturer to find out more about this.

Links: Exam information; Exam timetables.


Exam scripts are assessed anonymously following a set scheme and marking criteria approved by the School’s external examiner, a senior academic from outside Edinburgh. These results are then considered at a Board of Examiners meeting which assigns grades following the University Common Marking Scheme.

All results are shown to students individually through EUCLID; they are not made public. This usually happens within a week of the relevant Board of Examiners meeting.

Special Circumstances

If your examination performance on the day is seriously affected by circumstances outside your control, then tell your Personal Tutor about this as soon as possible. They can, if appropriate, help you prepare and submit a Special Circumstances case to be taken into account by the Board of Examiners. This can only be done before the Board meeting, so please don’t wait until after the results are out — that’s too late.

Past papers

The University Library publishes copies of past exam papers in all subjects. Some of these are only available from within the local network: if you connect from outside Edinburgh then you may need to log in with your EASE username and password.

Link: Exam Papers Online

APL exam papers by year
Image of exam cover page
APL exam paper for 2010/2011
APL exam paper for 2009/2010
APL exam paper for 2008/2009
APL exam paper for 2007/2008