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Most commonly asked questions about exams taking place at UiA - and the answers

All you need to know about exams that require your physical attendance at UiA. 

Photo from 2015, when up to  200 students a day had their exams at the multipurpose area at Spicheren. (Archived photo: Morten Rosenvinge/UiA)

Arkivbilde fra 2015, da opp mot 200 studenter daglig tok eksamen i flerbrukshallen på Spicheren. (Arkivfoto: Morten Rosenvinge/UiA)

UiA has received various questions with regards to exams that require the students’ physical attendance. The COVID infection rates are increasing, and many students wonder why the university has not decided to adjust the examination period so that all exams are to be taken from home.

In general, UiA has ensured that most exams are set up as home exams during the autumn semester.  However, this would have a strong negative effect on the academic quality of the exam for some course subjects.  For these subjects,  we have scheduled written exams with supervision.

“It is important for us to communicate openly and clearly why we have decided to set up the examination period in this way. UiA’s decision is based on a professional assessment about which exams require physical attendance and the consideration that the national and local guidelines allow exams with physical attendance. Moreover, during this pandemic, students have informed us that predictability regarding the examination form matters greatly. This last argument was one of the most important considerations in our decision-making process”, says Director of Academic Affairs, Greta Hilding. 

QA – exams requiring physical attendance in the Autumn 2021 semester  

What is the official examination period for the autumn 2021 semester? 

The examination period starts on Monday  22 November and ends on 17 December 2022. 

How many exams are scheduled with physical attendance at the university?  

As a general rule, examinations are set up as home exams during this semester. However, there are some exceptions. Ninety-eight written exams will take place on campus under supervision;  57 in Kristiansand and 41 in Grimstad. This is only a fraction of the total number of exams during this period.

All oral and practical skills tests are scheduled as exams requiring physical attendance. Written exams depending on equipment, or where the quality of the examination is substantially reduced in case of a home exam will also take place on campus under supervision. We have especially prioritised physical attendance exams for academic subjects within mathematics, anatomy and law.

Is it safe to participate in physical attendance exams? 

Yes, UiA has assessed that it is safe. There will be adequate distances between the students (at least one metre but often more), and there will rarely be more than 30 students in the same room. Disinfectants and masks are available in all rooms.

As an additional precaution from 1 December, the exam supervisors will wear masks during the entire exam.  

How are other universities handling this? 

There are several other universities in Norway that proceed with physical attendance exams.

OsloMet, UiO, UiB and NTNU follow the same procedure as UiA with mainly home exams and physical attendance exams when required based on solid reasons (VG article only available in Norwegian)

Is it an option to change the exam form from physical attendance to a home exam? 

No, in the present situation, this is not an option.  UiA follows the guidelines, rules and recommendations of the health authorities. We are also in continuous contact with the municipal health authorities of the university cities Grimstad and Kristiansand to make sure that what we plan is safe and that we receive any new information about any changes in the situation as soon as possible. At present, nothing indicates that new measures will impact the present examination planning at UiA. Naturally, as we have experienced, the situation might still change quickly.

Why does UiA not change all exam forms to home exams?

During this pandemic, student representatives have advised us that predictability is vital for the students. That is why predictability has been one of our main priorities so far. If we change to a situation with home exams only, several students will not be able to take their exams at all.  

Suppose we change the exam form while the examination period is already ongoing. In that case, it will not be possible to reschedule all exams before Christmas. It is disadvantageous for many students who count on an exam with physical attendance to change the exam form.   

Is UiA prepared for a situation in which physical attendance exams are not allowed anymore?  

We are ready to adjust quickly to new restrictive measures from the health authorities. Naturally, such a scenario where we are obliged to adjust the exam form on short notice would have consequences for our students and our employees.

What about students with COVID symptoms or a COVID infection on the day of the exam?

These students are not allowed to participate in the physical attendance exams. It is an illegal and punishable act to breach the isolation requirement when infected with COVID.

 During this semester, students can document any illness or symptoms of a COVID infection as a valid reason for absence without further documentation from their general practitioner. In case of (symptoms of) illness, you can participate in the postponed examination during the spring semester - without losing the option to try again. We understand that this is unfortunate for these students. Still, like the rest of society, we must follow the required guidelines during this pandemic.

We at UiA have taken these potential disadvantages into account and weighed them against the academic and practical disadvantages of changing to home exams.

Why is it not possible for students with a COVID infection to take their exams from home while the other students have the exam at the campus under supervision? 

The assessment of all students in a course programme must be based upon the same criteria and conditions. This means the same task and the same examination form. There are usually more supporting tools and resources available during a home exam than during a physical attendance exam under supervision.

Students with symptoms might avoid testing themselves so that they do not risk isolation on their examination day. This can lead to more infections. What does UiA think about this? 

The health authorities strongly recommend that anyone with symptoms possibly related to a COVID infection take a test.  We must trust that also students understand that they should not expose others to potential risk by ignoring this advice.

Dutiful students who take a test at any symptoms and follow all the rules risk the negative consequences of postponing their exams. At the same time, those who breach the rules on isolation, who show up physically for their exams and infect other students get away with any consequences. Is this fair?  

No. However, it is an illegal and punishable act to breach the isolation requirement when infected with COVID.  We at UiA have planned the examination period with as much predictability for our students as possible while ensuring the quality of the exams. We trust that we can take it as a given that our students will follow the law.