Shorter, two-hour exams are here to stay

The board of directors has decided that for the rest of the academic year, exams at the Aletta Jacobs hall may not exceed two hours. Three-hour exams can only be scheduled at night and potentially on Saturday mornings. 

Most exams had been reduced to two hours because of the Covid pandemic, because there wouldn’t have been enough time between exams to disinfect the tables otherwise, especially when students were given extra time for things such as dyslexia.

The UG would like to prevent having to rush to change exam times in the event of another outbreak of Covid. ‘Educationally speaking, there’s no need for exams to last three hours’, says Rutger Klein Nagelvoort, director of education at the UG. ‘As long as the learning goals are being tested.’ 

Implement changes

Earlier, faculty boards said they were satisfied with the changes. Now that the measure, which was originally meant to be temporary, will continue to be implemented, some exams will have to be changed, since they’re scheduled for time periods previously unaffected by the measure.

‘We’ll have to figure out how to deal with that’, says arts faculty vice dean Roel Jonkers. Many exams at his faculty last three hours. ‘I’m sure some lecturers will want to stick to that, because it’s essential to the nature of their exams.’ But the board says this is only allowed if there’s no other way.

At the medical faculty, the rule will be ‘fairly easy to implement’, says director of education Rob van Ouwerkerk, because the faculty already uses alternative forms of testing sometimes. It almost looked like things were going to go wrong at the bachelor of medicine, he says, but the issue was resolved.

Start earlier

Van Ouwerkerk also says it might be a good idea if the last block of exams started earlier. Right now, students who need that extra thirty minutes aren’t finished until 10.15 p.m. ‘They run the risk of missing the last bus.’

But that won’t be happening, says Klein Nagelvoort, as it would shorten the periods between exams.

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