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There will be four papers in total of three hours each. Each of these four papers consists of a question from each of the eight courses, which carry equal total exam credit. Candidates may attempt a maximum of six questions on each paper and have free choice of these. Each question will consist of a Part (i) and a Part (ii). Part (i) will be designed to be very straightforward and to take about half as long to answer as Part (ii). In a given question, Part (i) and Part (ii) may or may not be directly related and will be given separate quality marks. The examiners may, at their discretion, further examine a candidate viva voce.

The IoA Teaching Committee have recommended to the NST Part II Examiners that, in addition to a numerical mark, extra credit should be available for the completeness and quality of each answer. An alpha quality mark signifies an answer of high quality which is substantially complete. A beta quality mark usually signifies at least half marks. It must be understood that Examiners have discretion in the implementation of these recommendations.

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Special Exam Arrangements & Mitigation

Any student who believes there are circumstances that require special treatment by the examiners should contact their Tutor as soon as they realise there is a problem, whether this is before, during or after the exams. Your tutor will be able to discuss with you a number of existing mechanisms of support for the examination period. Click here for full details.


All marks will be released to Part II Astrophysics students after the final examiners' meeting in the summer.

The Part II Prize

The Institute of Astronomy Prize is awarded annually to that candidate for Astrophysics in Part II of the Natural Sciences Tripos who has, in the judgement of the Examiners, shown the greatest distinction in that examination, provided that his or her work is of sufficient merit.

The value of the Part II Prize for the academic year 2023/24 is £500.

Progression to Part III

A student with a II.1 at part II may proceed automatically to part III. A student who fails to get a II.1 may request consideration as a special case.


Examinations are a University matter and covered by strict regulations. Whether you have a complaint or not, you should not, under any circumstances, seek to discuss your examination result with your examiners. The University has a standard procedure for dealing with complaints about examination results.

The various steps in the procedure are time-limited and you should therefore immediately discuss the matter with your College Tutor, who will advise you further. You should note that any investigation by the University will usually confine itself to seeing that the examiners acted correctly (for example that all the marks you received were entered into the mark book) and not try to second-guess the examiners by remarking your papers.