Put it in verse to lift exam curse

As the exam season gets under way, pity the invigilator, endlessly dreaming up ways to relieve the boredom. But now the dreaded three-hour stints could be transformed into poetic interludes.

Invigilators could save their sanity by trying their hand at writing verse for a poetry competition, called Under Exam Conditions, launched this week.

The idea was conceived at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds University, where director of learning Tim Leadbeater tried it with his staff last year. It was so successful he gained sponsorship from booksellers Blackwell's and the Royal Literary Fund to go nationwide.

Invigilators welcomed the competition. "The most exciting thing is when a student puts their hand up for more paper," said Stephen Adams. "And if someone needs to leave the room to go to the bathroom there's practically a scrum."

Emma Roberts confessed to counting the number of baseball caps and beanies when she was not doing pelvic floor exercises. Then, said John Earley, there was the thrill of an illegal mobile phone going off. Janice Graham said her invigilating career highlight was supervising an exam in a maternity hospital.

The three best poems will win book vouchers of £35, £25 and £15. The poem, in limerick form, must have been inspired while invigilating on the theme of something in the room or outside the window.

Entries should be emailed by June 30 to k_scott@tasc.ac.uk . For full details see www.tasc.ac.uk

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Elly Walton illustration (16 July 2015)

Whether in jest or not, sexist language shows an insensitivity to gender issues at odds with academic values, argues Dorothy Bishop

  • Two men looking surprised in an office

Report says projects fail when scholars obsessed with “shiny things” ignore business needs

  • Tony Little, Eton College headmaster, 2007

Tony Little points to ‘increasing gap’ between teaching standards at sixth form and university

Sir Keith Burnett considers the challenges of introducing a teaching excellence framework