Laurie Taylor column

July 5, 2002

Any more extenuating circumstances?

We have a note from Julian Rix pointing out that during his finals he was still suffering from the after-effects of a corn.

How might that affect his performance?

He claims he was unable to walk quickly and was therefore at a disadvantage when required to go to the front to obtain extra sheets of paper. We have a medical note from Mr Rix's chiropodist, who writes: "I recently treated Julian Rix for a corn."

Pretty watertight. All agreed? Good. An upper second for Mr Rix. Any more? No? Then let's move on to extenuating, extenuating circumstances. This category refers to candidates without a medical note who have written a letter claiming that there were extenuating circumstances that made it impossible for them to provide one. Any names?

Janet Waterhouse. Her letter says that she was suffering from pre-traumatic stress disorder on the morning of the methodology paper but did not have time before the exam to see her doctor.

What about afterwards?

She addresses that point. "As I was suffering from pre-traumatic rather than post-traumatic stress disorder, there were obviously no noticeable symptoms after the examination had been completed."

Sounds reasonable. All agreed? Good. A lower second. Let's move on to extenuating, extenuating, extenuating circumstances. This category encompasses candidates who failed to send us either a letter or a doctor's note. I believe we have one candidate.

Yes, Julie Somers was concussed by a piece of masonry that fell from the exam hall roof during her semiology paper.

Any corroboration?

The invigilator forwarded this lump of plaster. It is what you might call concrete evidence.

Really, Dr Quintock, Spare us the humour. This is an examination board not a Whitehall farce. Try to remember where you are.

I'll do my level best.

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