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Prerequisites for exams and re-examinations

Prerequisites for exams and re-examinations

There are some exams which students can only take if they comply with certain prerequisites or criteria. These prerequisites are not part of the exam itself.

When students need to fulfil certain prerequisites in order to take an exam, their teacher must confirm that the prerequisites have been fulfilled before the exam in question starts

Here are some examples of these prerequisites:

  • Submission of a syllabus
  • Submission of a synopsis or a case
  • Submission of a collection of assignments
  • Submission of a media product
  • Making an oral presentation in class
  • Participating in the teaching

Students who fail to provide evidence of compliance with such prerequisites cannot take the exam in question, and this will be regarded as a failed attempt to pass it. This applies to both ordinary exams and re-examinations. The students can then register for the re-examination.

How is compliance with prerequisites assessed?

These prerequisites are not included in the exam assessment process, but students have to comply with them before taking the exam in question. So the teacher must decide whether students have complied with the prerequisites as described in the academic regulations. The teacher should not assess the quality of the student’s work in complying with the prerequisites, because no criteria have been defined for this kind of assessment. The teacher only has to decide whether students have complied with the formal requirements stated in the prerequisites. For instance, teachers can refuse to accept that students have complied with the prerequisites if students submit an insufficient number of pages, or if they submit a report instead of an analysis. Students have failed to comply with the formal requirements in both cases. But on the other hand, the students may still gain approval of an analysis (even if it is a poor analysis) as long as it lives up to the formal requirements applying to an analysis.

Example: Master’s degree programme in German language, literature and culture (2017), course title: Contemporary Literature in German

Ordinary exams and re-examinations:

Students can only take the ordinary exam and re-examination if they submit and gain approval of a collection of assignments preparing them for the Master’s thesis and containing the following:

  • A draft of the topic field and problem statement for the Master’s thesis
  • A delimitation of central analytical material for the Master’s thesis
  • A selected bibliography with comments on central texts for the Master’s thesis
  • A draft outline of the Master’s thesis

The collection of assignments preparing students for the Master’s thesis must total 6-10 standard pages in length and is subject to the written approval of the thesis supervisor. The collection of assignments and the supervisor’s written approval must be submitted as appendices to the exam assignment. The collection of assignments is a prerequisite for taking the exam, but is not included in the assessment.

The exam consists of a take-home assignment on a topic of the student’s choice.

Explanation of the example:

In this example a collection of assignments preparing the students for the Master’s thesis is a prerequisite for both the ordinary exam and the re-examination. The formal requirements involved in this prerequisite are defined very clearly, and include a problem statement, a selected bibliography and a draft outline.    

When teachers decide whether or not students have complied with the prerequisites, they should not assess the quality of the material that has been submitted and must not withhold their approval on the basis of this quality. Teachers must only decide whether the problem statement that has been submitted complies with the formal requirements for problem statements. If students submit something which cannot be defined as a problem statement, or if they submit an unselected bibliography instead of a selected one, for instance, the teacher may decide that the material submitted does not comply with the formal requirements and may therefore withhold their approval.

Can re-examinations contain prerequisites?

Yes, re-examinations can contain prerequisites – just like ordinary exams. But participation in the teaching cannot be a prerequisite for re-examinations. If an ordinary exam contains a prerequisite (apart from participation in the teaching), the corresponding re-examination will contain the same prerequisite. This is standard practice at the Faculty of Arts. The aim is to give the students the same conditions for both the ordinary exam and the re-examination in terms of the course workload and the assessment.

Example: Bachelor’s degree programme in aesthetics and culture (2018), course title: Cultural Communication

Ordinary exam:

Participation in the teaching is a prerequisite for taking the exam, cf. the general rules of the academic regulations, including the preparation of a communication project in groups of 3-5 students. Length: max. 5 pages for written products. Duration: max. 20 minutes for audiovisual products. Students who present an exhibition or performance are responsible for providing video or photographic documentation of the event.

The exam is an individual oral exam.

Re-examination:

The prerequisite for taking this exam is that students must produce a communication project either individually or in groups of 3-5 students. Length: max. 5 pages for written products. Duration: max. 20 minutes for audiovisual products. Students who present an exhibition or performance are responsible for providing video or photographic documentation of the event.

The exam is an individual oral exam.

In many cases, it will be an advantage to submit the communication project in the form of an appendix in connection with the re-examination (see the final expanded element on the website).

When is a re-examination necessary?

Courses must have an alternative form of re-examination if students have passed the ordinary exam by participating in the teaching, or if participation in the teaching has been a prerequisite for the ordinary exam. In all other cases, courses at the Faculty of Arts have only one form of examination.

When an alternative form of re-examination is required, the aim is that the students should be able to reuse elements from the ordinary exam for the re-examination. So a good re-examination (instead of participating in the teaching) could involve the submission of a portfolio, because this type of exam can reflect the various elements involved in participating in the teaching

Example: Bachelor’s degree programme in aesthetics and culture (2018), course title: Cross-Medial Laboratory

Ordinary exam:

The exam involves participating in the teaching (cf. the general rules of the academic regulations), including the submission of a collection of assignments/products for approval by the teacher. The collection of assignments/products consists of a number of assignments/products defined by the teacher which are submitted to the teacher on an ongoing basis.

This includes taking part in a production project during the course corresponding to at least two weeks of full-time work. The project must result in at least one production intended for an internal target group. The project and the processes it involves must be documented along the way in a logbook or diary, which forms the basis for the student’s contribution to the final analysis and evaluation seminar involving presentations by the project participants.

Re-examination:

The exam involves a portfolio consisting of the collection of assignments used in the ordinary exam and 3-4 standard pages containing the student’s reflections on the issues defined by the teacher at the start of the semester. The course teacher may allow the students to take part in external production projects instead of taking part in the course’s own production project.

Different types of re-examination

Re-examinations can involve all forms of examination with the exception of participation in the teaching. At the Faculty of Arts, the re-examination normally involves the same type of exam as the ordinary exam.