Examinations and grading
A big part of any course or study programme is measuring how much you've actually learned. Find out more about examinations in this section, and what your rights are as a student.
An examination (called tentamen or "tenta" in Swedish) is a test you take at the end of a university course. This test can be written or oral. Your examination will be returned to you after your teacher has graded it.
An examination is when your teacher or an examiner tests your knowledge through an assignment or test. The teacher or examiner will grade your exam. You cannot appeal your grade; however, you can ask your teacher to re-consider the grade decision. You also have the right to change examiners if you've twice failed the same course or module.
An examination can take many different forms. The following is a list of some of the more common ones.
Written examination (Salstentamen)
A written exam with a time limit. The type of questions vary depending on the subject. They can be questions about pure facts, investigative tasks where you must reason through a question, or a problem that must be solved.
Take-home examination (Hemtentamen)
A written test that is completed at home. The questions in a take-home exam often require you to reflect on a specific question. You can use other resources in support of your answer.
Oral examination (Muntlig tentamen)
You meet with a teacher and discuss the subject being examined. The discussion usually lasts a few hours. The teacher asks questions that require facts as the answer, or asks that you reflect on a topic. An oral examination can be one-on-one or in a group.
Written assignment (Inlämningsuppgift)
A task that is to be completed individually or in a group.
Memorandum (Promemoria, PM)
You can be asked to write a PM (memorandum) about a topic where you discuss it at length. This type of assignment is also called an essay or paper.
Laboratory session (Laboration)
You must have successfully completed one or more assignments in a laboratory. Laboratories almost always require the student to describe their work and results in a report. Laboratories can be completed in a group.
Group work (Grupparbete)
Students are divided into groups where each is required to complete an assignment together. Grades, however, are given individually.
Academic paper (Uppsats)
An academic paper can be required for an examination, but at a certain level it can also be required in order to complete a specific degree. Academic papers are generally rather large assignments that can take up to an entire semester to complete.
You are always assigned a supervisor (a teacher) to support you in your work on the academic paper. The supervisor helps with advice and feedback on your arguments and research methods. When an academic paper is completed, it must be defended. This is called public discussion or ventilering (in Swedish) of your academic paper. What this means is that, at a seminar, you answer questions about your paper and listen to feedback. Questions are asked by one or more fellow students (opponenter) that have been assigned to review your paper.
How many times can I re-take an examination?
The number of times you can sit for an examination is basically unlimited. However, universities may limit the number of times you can take an examination for some courses. This information must be included in the course plan. You must be able to repeat an examination at least 5 times. If the examination involves placement, the number of times must be at least two.
If you haven't passed an examination during the academic year the course is offered, it is possible the course can be changed. If this happens, you'll be required to read the new course literature in order to attempt the examination in another academic year.
How long before I receive my grade?
There isn't any specific rule regarding how long an examiner has to grade an examination. The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) considers three weeks to be a sufficient time for an examination for a course of 7.5 credits to be graded.
Most universities follow a standard grading scale, as follows:
- VG (Väl godkänd) - Pass with distinction
- G - (Godkänd) - Pass
- U - (Underkänd) - Fail
Individual universities may choose to use another scale.