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Context

In my country, there are specialised "coaching centres" for IGCSE and IAL students. The same classes are usually held on multiple different timings. This we call "slot".

For instance:

My English Language class has two slots. Slot 1 is 3:30—5:00 PM. And slot 2 is 6:30—8:00 PM.

It's much like "shift". Only that is used to refer to work timings, not class timings.

Check out: during her slot.


This is what I'm writing:

Can we sit the monthly tests in whichever slot we wish to? Or it has to be the one I do my classes on?

What preposition to put before "slot" in this context?

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Slot is likely to be understood in this context, but a few other terms you might hear in specific academic contexts:

  1. "Period" - in a high school, for example, everyone runs by the same rigid schedule, so you might ask your friend: "What class do you have next period?"
  2. "Section" - the same class taught at two different times (typically at a university) are usually referred to as different "sections" of the class. "You've got Jones for English too? Which section?"
  3. "Hour" - Even if classes don't start exactly at the top of the hour, you might still refer to different class slots throughout the day as "hours": "What hour tomorrow is your paper due?"

For your example sentence, you would use in. I might word it as:

Can we take the monthly tests in whichever slot we wish to? Or does it have to be the same hour I normally attend class?

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  • Thanks a bunch! The idea of using "hour" instead is much more convenient. – Soha Farhin Pine Apr 11 '18 at 15:40
  • "Sit a test" is standard in British English. And in case you didn't notice, IGCSE and IAL are exams organised by British boards like Edexcel and Cambridge. – Soha Farhin Pine Apr 11 '18 at 15:48
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Just for background: It's common in US English to talk about "time slots", so this terminology would be unlikely to be confusing to native speakers. However, when talking about time slots for classes in school, we usually refer to them as "periods".

Anyway, the short answer to your question is: "in", or to give no preposition at all. "My history class is in slot 1." "My history class is slot 1."

In US English we say you "take" a test, not "sit" a test.

So a native US English speaker would say, "Can we take the monthly tests in whichever slot we wish to? Or does it have to be the one I take my classes in?" Or more likely, "... Or does it have to be the same slot as my regular class time?"

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  • "Sit a test" is standard in British English. And in case you didn't notice, IGCSE and IAL are exams organised by British boards like Edexcel and Cambridge. – Soha Farhin Pine Apr 11 '18 at 15:15
  • @SohaFarhinPine I was going to say something about "maybe 'sit a test' is the idiom in some other English dialect" but then dropped that as wordy and speculative. Thanks for the addition. I had no idea what IGCSE and IAL are, so that was no help. – Jay Apr 11 '18 at 15:25
  • quora.com/… – Soha Farhin Pine Apr 11 '18 at 15:27
  • Haven't heard of "O-levels" and "A-levels"? – Soha Farhin Pine Apr 11 '18 at 15:28
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    @SohaFarhinPine "O-levels and A-levels" No, those terms mean nothing to me. Are they levels of British tests? I'm an American. Do you know the difference between a PSAT and a SAT? – Jay Apr 11 '18 at 15:40
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The word slot in this context is new to me.

Because a slot usually refers to a small space into which a tongue fits to make a joint (as in a mortise and tenon joint), the inclination is to say in a slot.

But because your slot really refers to a shift and we speak about on a shift or during a shift, it's hard to know which preposition best suits your purpose.

I would go with in whichever slot.

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