DEL newsletter Summer 2022

Take-Home Exams

Exams have already begun for some people, but for those who are yet to begin their exams, here are some of the key points to remember:

  • The exam paper will be released at 10am on the morning of your exam.
  • You will find your exam paper in the ‘Take Home Exams’ tab on the left-hand menu of the module page on Blackboard.
  • For all DEL exams, across all Parts, there is a word limit of 2000 words for the paper overall. You are advised to balance the word count between your two answers. That means you should aim to write approximately 1000 words per essay, but one answer may be a little longer than the other.
  • Please use 12pt font size, Arial and 1.5 line spacing, and write your 5-digit anonymous candidate number, module code and the number(s) of the question(s) answered on the top of each piece of work that you submit.
  • We advise you to treat these assessments as exams. You will not have the time to research, draft, and revise as you do when you are writing an essay. You should reference printed materials as you normally would in an exam, giving the author’s name, the title of the text, and – if possible – the year of publication in your answer. You do not need to provide a bibliography or footnotes. You are free to use copies of primary texts, your own notes, and other revision resources as you see fit.
  • You are advised to work on each exam paper for only 2 to 3 hours overall. You may organise this as you wish and take a break if you choose; we will not monitor this in any way.
  • You have 23 hours – until 9am the following morning – to submit your exam answers.
  • As with assessed essays, it is not a good idea to submit your exam answers close to the deadline as Turnitin will be busy. We advise you to upload your answers as soon as you’ve finished so you can move on.
  • Make sure you keep the email receipt for your upload. You can also take a screenshot of the page confirming your upload.
  • There will not be special arrangements for students who usually get extra time or rest breaks in exams, as there will be sufficient time available to you within the 23 hours.
  • Submission points and question papers will only appear at the exam start time and will disappear after 23 hours.
  • Late submissions will not be possible. Once the 23 hours is up, the submission point will disappear, and you will have missed the exam if you do not submit in time. If you encounter a submission problem, please email a copy of your work to immediately, and before the 9am deadline. Any exam answers sent to this email address after the deadline will not be accepted and will receive a grade of zero.

You can view your personal exam timetable on your individual RISISweb portal: log in to RISIS and find your timetable under the ‘Programmes and Modules’ tab. If you have any trouble viewing your timetable, please contact

You will find full guidance on 2022 exams and assessments here:

There is further support for take-home exams here:

You will also find helpful information about what to expect in your exams, and what is and isn’t allowed, here:

Exceptional Circumstances affecting your ability to complete your exam(s)

If circumstances arise before the exam that make it impossible for you to take the exam on the set date (for example, if you are scheduled for medical treatment), you can ask to be ‘Deemed Not to Have Sat’ and if this is granted you can take the exam for the first time in the resit period (August/September 2022, exact dates tbc). In this situation you should submit an Exceptional Circumstances request as soon as possible (through RISIS: go to the ‘Actions’ tab), and definitely before the date of the exam.

If you are ill on the day of the exam, or if there are other adverse circumstances on the day that affect your ability to take the exam, you should not fill in an Exceptional Circumstances form at the time. Our strong advice is that you should attempt to do the exam if at all possible. There is a good chance that you will do well enough to get you through, and this will avoid having to do resits. If you are not able to take the exam, or if you attempt the exam but feel your performance has been significantly compromised by your circumstances, you should gather evidence of your illness or other form of incapacity (from your doctor/counsellor/COVID test provider, etc) in order to support a future Exceptional Circumstances request. You can talk to the Student Support Co-ordinator Rachel Weekes, via ‘Ask a Question’ on RISIS, to check what kind of evidence you will need for your particular circumstances. You should then wait until your exam results are released, after which you can weigh up whether you need to retake the exam. You should take advice from DEL Exams Officers, Prof. Andrew Mangham (Part 1 and Part 2) and Dr Nicola Abram (Part 3), about this. You have five working days from the date of the publication of results to submit a Post-Results Exceptional Circumstances (PREC) request, and a further five days to provide evidence to support your claim. Your request will not be allowed if there is no evidence to support it (but see note below on the collection of evidence). If your PREC request is granted you will be able to retake the exam as if for the first time in the resit period (August/September, dates tbc). PLEASE NOTE: If your PREC request is accepted, the mark you received for the Summer Term exam will be cancelled. If you do not then complete the retake in the resit period, your mark for that exam will be zero. The original mark cannot be reinstated. This could affect your progression into the next year of your degree, and/or your degree outcome. Please therefore consider very carefully and take advice from a member of staff before submitting a Post-Results Exceptional Circumstances request.

Evidence for Exceptional Circumstances

The University recognises that there continue to be situations related to Covid-19 where it may be impossible or very difficult to obtain evidence of Exceptional Circumstances, so the requirement for evidence has been relaxed in these instances.  If you are unable to provide evidence for your Exceptional Circumstances, you must clearly explain in your request why you are unable to provide evidence and describe the impact that your circumstances have had on your assessment(s).  If you do not provide sufficient explanation your request may be rejected.

For full information on Exceptional Circumstances see:

Getting you through the Exams:

The perfect, light, fluffy and summery Coconut cake (very easy, very few ingredients)


  • 200g desiccated coconut
  • 100g sugar (whatever you have in the house, both white and brown sugar works for this!)
  • 125g butter
  • 4 eggs (separated into egg whites and egg yolks)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 100g chocolate chips (or chocolate broken/chopped into small pieces)


  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat.
  2. Combine the 4 egg yolks with the 100g of sugar in a bowl. Once the butter has cooled slightly (to avoid cooking the egg) add this to the yolk sugar mix.
  3. Add flour, coconut and chocolate chips to the wet mixture.
  4. Whisk egg whites with an electric whisk to until peaks form.
  5. Fold all of the egg whites carefully into the wet mixture. (I like to do this using a spatula)
  6. Bake 20 minutes at 180 Celsius or until golden.
  7. Decorate with flowers, extra desiccated coconut or even whipped cream.
  8. Enjoy!

Afternoons off:

Bugs Bottom, Caversham Heights

Bugs bottom is an idyllic space within Caversham with rolling hills and open fields. There is a plethora of walks you can do in this stunning location to get away from the stress of university. The space combines a small woodland area with open fields. Also because of the area is quite hilly, good for ambitious walkers, some really great views of the Reading can be seen. I find coming to this space like much needed a breath of fresh after having my head in the books all week.

Vintage Clothes Shopping

I really enjoy vintage and second-hand shopping in Reading. I can’t promise you that it’s the best place I’ve ever vintage shopped, but I will let you in on all of my favourite hotspots! Firstly, town has several second-hand shops that are always worth checking out, the first rule of vintage shopping is not to overlook the little guy. In the town centre there is a little hidden gem of a vintage shop in the Harris Arcade called ‘Georgina’s Vintage couture’. I have seen some really nice vintage knit jumpers here the few times I have stopped by! My second recommendation is ‘Fanny’s antiques’ which does not stock clothing but still has a lot of interesting antique furniture and bric-a-brac to look at. Lastly definitely do not pass up a chance to look at the Oxfam bookshop in town, I have gotten a lot of my favourite books here. Also don’t forget to check out the Oxfam music shop which is located down the road from the bookstore. The people who work here are very well informed about music and give great recommendations. I am always thoroughly impressed at the array of record they have available, and they are reasonably priced too!

Post-exams Days out: From Reading in 25 minutes


Henley-on-Thames is just a short bus ride away from Reading and I think that it is worth it! This little town is very cute and quaint, not to mention the Thames runs through here. I find that this is a different experience to walking along the Thames in Reading. One of the main draws here would be that this is where the Regatta takes place in summer. The excitement in the air during this event is contagious. The walks here differ from Reading in that it is more open, the Thames is much wider at this point and there are plenty of grassy spots to sit.


Another place I must recommend for walking is Tilehurst. You can take the purple 17 or royal blue 33 here from town, it’s very accessible. The main draw to Tilehurst for me would be the stables that are located in the area. A walk where you see horses is the best kind of walk you can have in my opinion! This area combines open fields with woodland and feels like a nice break from the town centre. Sometimes its necessary clear your headspace away from town and university. I have found that this is a nice distance away from all that noise that it feels like a little escape. This is farming land I believe, however there are walks accessible to the public in this area.

Reading to Oxford – a trip for the sightseers

Oxford is the perfect place for sightseeing! The city is littered with historic buildings to venture through and is the home of the ‘Westgate’ shopping centre. Head through the many university buildings to Radcliffe Square where you will find the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Taking the train from Reading to Oxford will take approximately 25 minutes and the city is pretty easy to navigate from there.

Reading to Windsor – a trip for the walkers

Fancy getting some steps in? Windsor is the home of ‘The Long Walk’ a very accurate name for the path from Windsor Castle to Snow Hill. The 2.64-mile walk takes under two hours and provides the most spectacular views, the path leading to the ‘Copper Horse’ (King George III Statue). The walk that takes you through the Deer Park is intertwined with historic value – legend says that Snow Hill is where Henry VIII sat whilst waiting to hear the news of Anne Boleyn’s execution. To embark on ‘The Long Walk’ take the train from Reading to Slough and then from Slough to Windsor Eton Central a journey that will take approximately 25 minutes, from there ‘The Long Walk’ is just a short walk. The trip is great if you’re on a budget!

Reading to London – a trip for the wanderers

From Reading catch the approximately 25-minute train to London Paddington where you won’t be far from Hyde Park and will be able to explore central London where you’ll be able to visit tourist attractions and museums.

Celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee: 5 Places to visit near Reading to Celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee

BUCKINGHAM PALACE: To get to the headquarters of the monarchy, take the train to London Paddington and then to London Victoria. Watch the change of the guard, explore Green and St James’ Park and walk the Diana Princess of Wales memorial walk

ELTHAM PALACE: though a long trip from Reading to London Paddington, then Paddington to Charing Cross and from there to Eltham, the palace is one of London’s best kept secrets!

WINDSOR CASTLE: catching a train from Reading to Slough and then Slough to Windsor Eton Central leads you straight to Windsor Castle, where you can book a tour.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE: to venture to this palace, first take the train to London Waterloo and from there a train to Hampton Court, the palace is only a short walk from the station.

KENSINGTON PALACE: take a trip to on the train to London Paddington and take a short walk to Kensington Gardens before exploring the palace with a tour guide.


Congratulations to everyone who will be graduating this summer. You have been brilliant!

About English Literature at Reading

The Department of English Literature at Reading has been an internationally recognised centre for research and teaching in English Studies for over a hundred years. Our teaching system, with its emphasis on seminars and tutorial work, encourages our students to discuss ideas with tutors and other students in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. All of our students have access to dedicated study advisors; our academic placement scheme and 'professional track' programme provide invaluable preparation for subsequent careers.
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