SCOTLAND’S oldest university has been left red faced after accidentally releasing an exam paper before the exam.
A St Andrews student sat down to an exam on May 14 and found stapled to the back of the paper another exam not due to be taken until May 16.
University chiefs have admitted the blunder and claim it is the first of its kind in more than 30 years.
St Andrews responded to the mistake with the social anthropology exam by letting everyone on the course have the paper on ‘West Indies and the Black Atlantic’.
The bungle is all the more embarrassing coming just days after the university, the oldest in Scotland, was ranked the best north of the border and third in the UK behind Oxford and Cambridge.
A University spokesman said: “One student sitting an exam received a paper that had another exam paper mistakenly stapled to the back of it.
“The School discovered the error, immediately notified the exams office, and after consideration took the decision to release the paper to all students on that module in the interests of fairness.
“This approach is regarded as best and legitimate practice in the circumstances.
“It is not unusual to release exam questions to students prior to some exams – this already happens in other Social Anthropology modules.”
He added: “This single incident was however an error, which the University regrets and which staff sought to mitigate in the fairest way possible.
“It is the first such error on record in a period of over 30 years.”
Among the university’s most notable alumni are Prince William and Kate who met while studying at the prestigious Fife institution.
The mistake has surfaced the same week it was ranked the the third best university in the UK, behind only Oxford and Cambridge.
But it is not the first time a Scottish examiners have been left looking silly.
In 2014 the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) came under the spotlight for misspelling the name of the then leader of the Scottish Labour Party Johann Lamont.
In a Modern Studies Intermediate 2 paper about women in politics her first name was spelt “Joann”.
Meanwhile students have been known to go to great lengths to catch a glimpse of papers ahead on the exam.
Earlier this year a 17-year-old student from Münster in German used freedom of information legislation in an attempt to see the questions ahead of his exams.