University Post
University of Copenhagen
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Forgot national holidays – law faculty had to move exam 5 weeks

Study programme mess — The Faculty of Law had forgotten to include the spring season’s national holidays and had put course instruction and exams in the same time slot. The solution – moving all the exams by up to 5 weeks – has set off a series of new problems: Exams are now on top of each other, and students fear that it will impact their grades.

“This is so ridiculous!!”, “I am so tired of this …” and “they are seriously the laughing stock”.

Some of the many responses from law students after 325 of them in January received an email informing them that their exams had been moved by up to five weeks. For several of the students, the changes now mean that their tests will be on top of each other.

“We have not been aware of this and, of course, it is a regrettable mistake. We will make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Head of Study Programme Tinne Troelsen Geiger and Associate Dean for Education Stine Jørgensen

The rescheduling has taken place to solve a problem: The administration had not been aware how the season’s national holidays would effect class schedules, which meant that teaching and examinations collided.

In a subsequent email to the students, Tinne Troelsen Geiger, Head of Studies, and Stine Jørgensen, Associate Dean, write: “We have not been aware of this and, of course, it is a regrettable mistake. We will make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

As a rule it is the student’s own responsibility to plan their exam schedules when they register for subjects.

Several students point out, however, that it is not possible for them to make their schedules if the Faculty of Law changes the exam dates after the deadline for enrollment – and several of them are now concerned that the new plan with coinciding exams will affect their grades.

“This will affect our exam results”

According to the Faculty of Law’s own rules, students must have their exam dates for the spring semester by 1st November at the latest.

Anne Buch is one of the students who has been affected. She starts on her 8th semester in February, and her exam in Entertainment Law has been moved from week 20 to week 25.

“Now I have two exams in the same week, and although the faculty promises that they will not be on the same day, two days in a row is also bad. They are two oral exams, which for me requires a completely different and more demanding preparation. In many cases, you should be able to memorise the whole curriculum. So this will impact my reading-up period. Ultimately, this will have a bad effect on the results, which is annoying when it is due to the faculty changing the whole premise of the exam,” she says, continuing:


This is sloppy, and the planning leaves a lot to be desired
Anne Buch, student

“I juggle a job and a two-year-old daughter in addition to my studies, so less stress here would be preferable. It is as if nobody thought about the exam schedule, when it suddenly comes as a surprise to the administration, that there are national holidays in the spring. Company Law was, for example, planned for the Danish national constitution day Grundlovsdag … This is sloppy, and the planning leaves a lot to be desired.”

Students left with unanswered questions

Student Line Specht has also had one of her exams moved. She does not understand how such an error could occur.

“I don’t understand their explanation that there are many national holidays in the spring. There is the same number every year. But okay, it’s their first use of the teaching in blocks method,” she says, referring to the fact that, in September 2017, the Faculty of Law passed from a semester to a block structure..

Another student who has had her exam moved is Sabrina Lechenmeyer. She is to start in her 8th semester, and her exam was, like Anne Buch’s, moved from week 20 to week 25. She will have an exam in the course ‘Criminal case process – practices and procedure’ in the same week as she has to do another, even bigger, exam.

“I feel it will hurt my readings when I now have to prepare for an oral exam in two subjects and be able to know both curriculums by heart,” she says, continuing.

“Unfortunately, I think this will mean that many students will end up submitting blank exams because they do not feel well prepared. It can be difficult to learn 1,125 pages by heart.”

Administration knew about errors in December

The administration has known about the coinciding teaching and examination periods since the end of December 2017. On 22nd December, student Line Specht sent an email to her study programme contact where she drew attention to the coinciding teaching and exam days. At this point, she did not realize that there were hundreds of other students in the same situation.

Unfortunately, I think this will mean that many students will end up submitting blank exams
Sabrina Lechenmeyer, student

“It was unfortunately not possible for us to report to our students at the point when we discovered the error, as the registration period was over and we were in the process of assigning all the students, to their different subjects based on their priorities. At this time, in other words, we did not know which students would get each subject and who would be affected. As the deadline for registration had expired, we could not report this to the students, so that they could choose again,” says Associate Dean Stine Jørgensen.

It was unfortunately not possible for us to report to our students at the point when we discovered the error.

Associate Dean for Education Stine Jørgensen

The reason the postponements are for such a long period for the exam dates is to make sure that students don’t get several exams close to each other:

“In week 25, there is only one other exam period that overlaps and which could have given rise to exactly coinciding exams. We will of course take good care of this overlap and make sure that students do not have to pass two examinations on the same day. Before we announce the final exam dates, we will carry out a final check to see if there are students who have subjects with coinciding exam days, after which we will move them around to avoid the coinciding exams,” says Stine Jørgensen.

Anne Buch and Sabrina Lechenmeyer agree that they have not experienced administration problems on this scale before. It is not the first time, however, that the Faculty of Law’s administration is the object of criticism. Complaints about the teaching, a positive accreditation that was only given on conditions, and long waiting times for the administration, have all been covered by the University Post.

In this connection, Associate Dean Stine Jørgensen said back in October 2016 that a number of processes had been put in motion to improve the service to students.

In the present case, Stine Jørgensen writes in an email to the University Post that the students from now on can expect to see the exam dates before they sign up for the course, i.e. 1st November  and 1st May. She says students that have questions about the changes can ask the study programme information desk.