Student victimised by new exam schedule

Op-ed: Student victimised by new exam schedule

The RUG has decided to stick to the new exam times for the next several years. Law student Jaap Scholtens argues this decision is incomprehensible.
By Jaap Scholtens
10 February om 13:38 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 11 February 2020
om 9:45 uur.
February 10 at 13:38 PM.
Last modified on February 11, 2020
at 9:45 AM.

The office of the university, aided by various parties, has written a perfectly fine evaluation report on the implementation of the new exam schedule. The university will be administering four exams a day instead of three.

This new schedule solves the capacity dilemma for the exam periods this year. The argument that it’s needed because of a lack of capacity becomes void when, next year, the number of seats in the Aletta Jacobs hall increases from 1,200 to 1,792. That would solve the issue of capacity for the next few years.

Focus

The new exam times will have mainly negative effects. First of all, the exams start earlier and last longer. This is detrimental to the students’ focus. It also makes them feel unsafe when exams end late at night, especially when the streetlights around the hall aren’t working, like they did last exam period.

The main problem is when one exam ends and the next one starts. Students who are finishing up, especially students who need extra time, are negatively affected by the students who are waiting outside in the hall for their exam.

These students make noise. Even more annoying are the examiners who are already setting up for the next exam, while students with extra time are still working on theirs.

Noise

Because there is less time between exams, examiners, especially those who oversee large written exams, have much less time to prepare their exams on site. Students who need extra time to finish don’t get much out of this time due to other students leaving, the noise coming through whenever someone opens the door, and stressed-out examiners working on the next exam.

The report also doesn’t focus on safety issues. Because of the shorter times between exams, there are many more people in the hall than is allowed. The stairs are crowded, there’s no room to move around, and the lines in front of the ladies’ room are impossible.

This is not just annoying, but a safety risk as well. A crowd like this would be trapped in case of an incident or fire. The air quality is also affected by the large number of people. The air treatment system in the Aletta Jacobs hall can’t keep up, which leads to higher temperatures and bad air quality. This can especially lead to problems during the summer, which I don’t think would help with people’s focus.

Reconsider

The argument that it would be too difficult to switch back to the old schedule after the summer and that it would therefore be best to stick with this new one for the next few years is nonsense. The new schedule might be a necessary evil this year, but since there will be no capacity issues over the next few years, sticking to it victimises an entire generation of students.

Dear board of directors, for the sake of the students and the examiners, reconsider this decision. If not for them, at least do it for the numbers, statistics, evaluations, and reviews that universities hold in such high esteem these days. It’s inevitable that this new schedule will lead to worse results.

Jaap Scholtens is a student of law and history

Nederlands

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