Dear University of Warwick,
Just as Prishal Radia requested in June 2020 for past papers, will you please provide past papers for the A101 or any medicine module for the past 2012 - 2018/9 where possible?
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1. mailto:[email address]
Dear University of Warwick,
Apologies - to clarify, I am requesting for past papers for the medicine course (A100 and/or A101) for 2012-2018/9.
Thank you so much.
Thank you for your email dated 18 August 2020 requesting information from
the University of Warwick under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Please find below your request and our response.
Just as Prishal Radia requested in June 2020 for past papers, will you
please provide past papers for the A101 or any medicine module for the
past 2012 - 2018/9 where possible?
Apologies - to clarify, I am requesting for past papers for the medicine
course (A100 and/or A101) for 2012-2018/9.
The University declines to disclose any past exam papers for its medicine
courses since it considers that the exemption under section 43(2) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies. Section 43(2) states that
“information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would,
or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person
(including the public authority holding it)”. The University considers
that the release of the requested information would be likely to prejudice
the commercial interests of the University, which includes Warwick Medical
School, its NHS partner institutions and those of Medical Schools Council.
No past exam papers are available externally as questions are reused in
subsequent examinations and the release of these papers would put WMS’
whole examinations process in jeopardy. The information requested covers
thousands of examination questions, all of which undergo a significant
process before they form part of an examination paper. Specialised skills
are required to construct the MBChB exam papers, which involves numerous
hours devoted to ensuring the reliability and validity of the questions,
therefore disclosure poses a huge risk to the University, as the questions
would be readily available in the public domain. Examination items are
recycled for use in subsequent years in order to build metrics and improve
item performance. If such information is released into the public domain,
it greatly affects the robustness of medical examinations and poses great
risk to WMS’ examinations bank. Furthermore, given that numerous academic
and clinical staff contribute to the question writing process as an
addition to their other responsibilities, there is no resource capacity to
build a bank of 1200 new high-quality examination questions every year.
This poses a significant risk to the institution in terms of robustness of
assessment and can create cause for concern by the General Medical Council
in terms of quality of assessment items and the graduates produced by the
Additionally, the final year MBChB examination questions are a composite
of nationally approved questions released by the Medical Schools Council
Assessment Alliance and the release of such sensitive information would be
in violation of the agreement WMS has in place with the organisation to
prevent disclosure of these assessment items as they are used by all UK
medical Schools at some point in their examinations.
The MBChB programme is rigorous and challenging, and it is important that
the examination process is capable of identifying those who are best
equipped to practice Medicine and face the challenges of the medical
profession therefore the importance of the examination process cannot be
underestimated and disclosure of past exam papers would jeopardise the
integrity of WMS’ examination process.
The exemption at section 43(2) is a qualified exemption, which means that
the University must consider whether the public interest in maintaining
the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The University
considers there is no overriding public interest in the circumstances that
would warrant prejudicing the University’s commercial interests.
Disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act is effectively disclosure
to the general public at large, not solely the person who has made the
request and therefore a number of current and future students could gain
access to examination questions, which may be reused, as the University
does not have capacity to build new material. This could call into
question the performance of candidates and their suitability to graduate
into the medical profession, because they had access to recycled
examination data and not because of their ability, which poses a risk to
the public at large, as the University will have failed in its ability to
measure competence accurately and produce high quality doctors. The
University therefore of the opinion that the public interest lies in
favour of withholding the requested information.
If you are dissatisfied with the way in which your request has been
handled you can request an internal review within one month of our
response and, in the first instance, you are advised to follow the
procedure outlined here:
If you remain dissatisfied with how your request has been handled, you
have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Walter Lane, Wilmslow, and
Cheshire, SK9 5AF (0303 123 1113) (https://ico.org.uk/) There is no
charge for making an appeal.
Ian Rowley | Director of Reputation and Culture Change
University House | University of Warwick | Coventry | CV4 8UW
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