Exams are here!

Text: International Student Ambassador Iftekhar Chowdhury

The Finnish education system is considered to be the best in the world for many reasons. This praise stems from the main aim of the system: bridge the gap between different pupils by making them more responsible for their own education and provide them with the necessary skills to become an upstanding individual of the society. It is a holistic approach towards education and life. It made Finland became a beacon for better education in the world arena. Finnish University education is a reflection of these principles. One important part in any educational experience are exams or tests or Tentti (“test” in Finnish). Unfortunately, one has to take exams at University level to better align ourselves with the world education system.

Exams are stressful at times (Yes, Even in Finland). Examination process is not uniform around the world and can be extra stressful for people who are not familiar with them. Let me be your guide and I will try to explain it as briefly as I can.

How do they do conduct exams at Finnish Universities and how does a student go about it?

Typical examination in the university is based on essay type questions. Essay answers are logical, consist of whole sentences and paragraphs, and are fluent in language and style. However, question patterns differ by course and faculty. A student if enrolled for a course which is conducted in Finnish language, can ask the faculty to sit for a book exam. The book exam is basically designed for in-depth independent learning. One amazing fact about examination is that a student can sit for the exam a total of three times in one academic year. Moreover, this strategy has made the students sincerer to their own profession as a student. Many international students face trouble to adjust to the new education system and the opportunity to sit for the examination multiple times helps the student to integrate into the system.

Registration for the examination is done using Weboodi. The course instructor will announce the dates of the examinations. If the first exam falls within the study period then the students do not need to register for the exam and usually the exam day is the last day of the scheduled class day. The next two examinations can take place either during the general examination or dates assigned by the instructor. For those examinations, one must need to register using Weboodi. The course code can be used to search the registration page. Registration is not binding; a student can decide not to show up after the registration. Registration ends one week before the exam date after that a student can contact directly to the course instructor and register for the course.

Examination takes place end of each period and general examination is organized by the department once per month. The routine for general examination can be found in flamma or department website. General examinations are four hours long like most of the other examinations in the University of Helsinki. Exams can be taken in Finnish, Swedish or English, and the questions are prepared in these languages if needed or specifically requested when a student registers for an exam. A student can leave the examination room at the earliest 30 min. after the examination has started and must begin the examination at the latest 30 min. after the examination has started. Unlike the quarter pass start of classes, examination starts exactly at the right time. If an exam states 8.00am it will start at 8.00am and not 8.15am.

Cheating in exams is a big NO-NO!

Finally, when attending an examination, a student is required to carry a student card or any form of identity card for verification. Mobile phones or any other form of electrical equipment should be kept inside the bag and not near the possession of the student. A student can use a calculator if either mentioned in the question paper or by the permission of the invigilator. Coats and bags must be left in the cloakroom or at the side of the examination room. A student cannot take anything other than your writing utensils to your seat. Any literature or other material unless specifically authorized is not allowed to during the examination. Using notes or source material when not specifically allowed as well as any other form of cheating in examinations results in a grade of fail and lose the right to take the course or examination for which you had registered and in which the cheating was established. The matter will be handled administratively in accordance with the guidelines approved by the Board of the Open University.

The University of Helsinki promotes originality and integrity at every step and resulting in one of world’s leading multidisciplinary universities specializing the area of research. This is reflected in the philosophy: “All teachers are researchers and all researchers teach.” Exams are student’s worst enemies so believe that you can and you’re already halfway there. Just be strong and study hard. Remember, there are no short cuts for success! All the best!

Text: International Student Ambassador Iftekhar Chowdhury