InnoBlog: Exam Seasons – Course Structure and Exam Formats

At the heart of every academic institution, the exam period signifies the culmination of courses. However, the types of exams taken can vary significantly across different schools within the EIT InnoEnergy programme. Drawing from my 17-month experience as a student enrolled at both KTH Royal Institute of Technology and UPC, Barcelona, I’ll shed light on the distinctive structure of exams within the Sustainable Energy Systems (SELECT) Programme.

SELECT Programme: A Dual University Experience

As a postgraduate student immersed in the Sustainable Energy Systems programme, the unique nature of our curriculum unfolds through an engaging duality between KTH Royal Institute of Technology and UPC, Barcelona. In our first year, we are required to participate in courses offered by both universities. The location determines the mode of participation – courses assigned to KTH are attended in person, while those designated to UPC are taken virtually.

However, this structure does not mean that virtual courses result in virtual exams. Instead, it reflects the adaptable and hands-on approach adopted in crafting the system. Throughout each semester, we are tasked with accumulating 30 credits, resulting in a total of ten distinct courses by year-end, equating to an overall provision of 60 credits.

Flexibility in Exam Arrangements

The examination format, like the course delivery, varies between the two universities, and the exam model depends on the professor in charge of the course. At KTH, the examination format is notably contingent upon the professor directing the course and is bound to be held at the midpoint of every semester, which is called an ‘end of a period’ in Sweden. It entails different formats such as written exams, take-home exams, and group projects. While the UPC exam model demands mostly group projects and written exams.

Written Exams: Testing Knowledge and Application

Written exams constitute a significant portion of assessments and typically manifest in two primary formats – open book or closed book examinations. The physical examination room becomes the setting for these assessments, with examiners posing questions designed to assess the depth of one’s understanding and problem-solving skills. Regardless of being open or closed book, these exams challenge students to apply their knowledge in tackling tasks.

Take-home Exams: Project-Based Assessments

Take-home exams, a distinctive assessment model, transcend the confines of traditional examinations. They often manifest in the form of written project work that necessitates comprehensive feasibility studies and, at times, programming tasks. In this model, students work outside the conventional examination setting, delving deep into research and analysis. The submission deadline, determined by the respective professor, would require a presentation of findings and methodologies employed in arriving at solutions

Group Projects: Fostering Collaborative Skills

Another dynamic aspect of assessment lies in the realm of group projects. These projects underscore the significance of teamwork and diverse perspectives in tackling a specific topic or problem statement. Collaborating with individuals possessing varied skill sets fosters a learning environment that accentuates team-working skills and the ability to thrive in diverse working dynamics.