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Exams at Medicine and Health Sciences are being set to weekends and late in the evening, but the Faculty does not believe it can be done better, writes Morten Jørgensen. He calls instead for a model, where students do not have to cancel wedding parties and birthdays, because their faculty has them doing their exams on a Sunday
As more study programmes at the University of Copenhagen make use of the examination rooms at Peter Bangs Vej 36 more and more exams are being placed at odd times of the day. The medicine and health programmes have been hit hard and we are not the only ones.
The location at Peter Bangs Vej is, all things considered, a good one. There is a computer strapped to the table with the programmes installed that you need during the examination. There is even a digital pen at each work station where you can draw figures and illustrations on the associated digital paper to be copied into your Word document.
After finishing the exam, you give it in electronically and get a copy sent to your UCPH e-mail. The times of five duplicates on carbon paper, the mess, and the wrist cramps from writing are over. Thank God for that. But if the University of Copenhagen wants to do its exams in digital, they should have the capacity to do it. I have been on the study board for medicine for the last four years, and have only seen the capacity problems go from bad to worse.
The planning for examinations takes place like this: The different study programme boards send in their optimal exam schedule for all the written examinations to be held at Peter Bangs Vej to the examinations office. At this office, they merge the different programmes’ exam schedules and send out a final, comprehensive, exam schedule, which cannot be edited, back to the different study boards.
The combination of too many study programmes, too many exams, and too few working days, means that the final exam plan by necessity includes weekday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays.
Does the university think it fair to ask students to sit their exams 16:00 to 22:00, or even 23.00 for the students who get extended time? How about Saturday and Sunday from 14:00 to 20:00?
Is it fair to ask students take their exams a week after the semester should be over? Can students be just as focused on a Sunday evening at 21.00 as on a Tuesday morning at 9:00?
My answer is a definite ‘No’.
I asked some fellow students, whether it actually was this bad. If they were not ready when the time came, and if they didn’t really care what day of the week it was.
I got a pretty clear answer. The students say they are being unfairly treated in the large factory that is the University of Copenhagen.
Josephine unfortunately had to miss her mother’s 60th birthday. Another Josephine could sadly not make it to her sister’s wedding. Sofie could not get to her uncle’s ceremony. Camilla did not think it was fair that she had to do a Saturday exam for the third time in a row.
Sebastian had to cancel his vacation because he in good time had not checked whether the end of the semester actually was after the last week of the semester. I have to do my fourth consecutive Saturday exam 21 January until 19.00, the same time unfortunately as when my mum has booked a location to celebrate her 50th birthday in Odense.
These are just a few examples from us, the many hundreds of students for have to do evening and weekend exams every semester.
When I ask the management of the Faculty of Health and Medicince they claim to have no responsibility and I am quickly told that we do not have the capacity. We cannot afford more examination rooms, they say.
So is this is the actual, permanent, solution where students just have to accept a university that disposes of our time completely?
Or should we work out a more sustainable solution, so Josephine can get to her sister’s wedding, where 22:00 is the time when you brush your teeth, and not the time to be at an examination?
I vote for the latter. And I put forward a diplomatic proposal: More rooms for examinations.