Examinations | Open University

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

The written examination is perhaps the most traditional way of completing university studies. In a written examination, students answer questions relating to lectures, set texts and any other learning material of the course.  

Information on the date and time of the examination as well as the examiner (the teacher who sets the examination questions and assesses the answers) and the examination literature is posted on the course page. The study right usually covers three alternative examination dates.  

This page features different types of examinations at the Open University, examination tips and information on the grading of examinations. 

Online examination

  • An online examination is a digital examination taken in an online learning environment at a specific time or within a specific timeframe. 
  • An online examination may include written assignments, multiple-choice questions or combinations of the two.  
  • Online examination dates are posted on the relevant course page and the online learning environment. The online examination begins and ends at the time indicated in the course description.  
  • As a rule, online examinations do not require a separate registration. 
  • If you require special arrangements at the examination (e.g., additional time), please agree on them in good time. Further information and instructions: Arrangements for students requiring support

Instructions for an online examination on Moodle

  • You will need a computer and internet connection to take an online examination.  
  • The examination will take place in the Moodle environment of the course. To log in to Moodle, you must have a valid University of Helsinki user account.
  • You will be able to see the examination questions when the online examination area opens at the designated time. 
  • You may use course literature, learning material and online sources during the examination. 
  • Prepare for the examination by studying properly, as the examination questions are extensive and often require the application of knowledge or the comparison of various concepts. 
  • You can write your answer directly in the answer field of the online examination or in a separate text file to copy into the answer field later.  
  • More detailed instructions are available about the course on Moodle.  
  • The evaluation and organisation of examinations comply with the guidelines of the University of Helsinki.
  • Plagiarising an examination answer will lead both to the examination being marked as failed and further consequences. Read more: Cheating in an examination and plagiarism

Read more about web-based studies 

On-site examination at the University of Helsinki

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no on-site examinations are currently organised at the Open University. Instructions for on-site examinations will be published on this page later in spring 2021.

Joint teaching organised by degree programmes may include on-site examinations in spring 2021. In such cases, please follow the instructions issued by the degree programme. The instructions will be available on the course page.

Examinarium-exams

Examinarium is an electronic examination system that allows you to take certain exams electronically at a time and exam room of your choice. You take the exam in one of the designated rooms that are equipped with computers for taking the exam and recording camera equipment for supervision.

Instructions

Examination at a partner institution

If you are studying at an Open University partner institution (e.g., adult education centre, summer university or folk high school), you must follow the host institution’s examination practices. 

Your institution can provide more instructions if needed.

Examination questions in Swedish

The nature of the course (such as a foreign language) may require that you complete a course in a certain language. In other cases, however, you have the right to receive examination questions in Finnish or Swedish and to provide answers in Finnish or Swedish. Read more: In which languages can I complete courses

If you require examination questions in Swedish, please let us know in good time (no later than 10 days before the examination) by contacting the teacher through Moodle or emailing this address: avoin-student@helsinki.fi.

Arrangements for students requiring support

Special arrangements at examinations may include additional time, a separate examination space, an assistive tool or an alternative mode of completion. Special arrangements must be agreed upon beforehand.  

Read more: Arrangements for students requiring support

Assessment and registration of completed examinations

After the examination, the examiner will mark the examination answers. Completed studies will be entered into the University of Helsinki’s student records within four to six weeks of the examination date.  

Read more: 

How to do well in an examination

A good examination answer 

  • Your examination answer should demonstrate that you have read and understood the content of the lectures, the examination literature or other course material.  
  • Examination answers must address the question or the title of the assignment. Pay particular attention to what the assignment is asking you to do – compare, analyse or discuss – and structure your answer accordingly.  
  • A good examination answer is concise, systematic and clear. The content of the answer is more important than its length or other formalities.  
  • Use clear language and appropriate concepts and theories for the subject. 

 
Planning and finishing an examination answer  

At the beginning of the examination you may feel like you cannot answer any of the questions. But all the things you have learned are stored in your memory – you just have to get them out. Begin the examination by calmly plotting out your answers.  

Tips for planning examination answers: 

  • Divide the standard four-page sheet of paper so that each examination question has its own page/section. Write the main issues and thoughts for each question as bullet points, a mind map, image or graph – whatever feels natural to you. 
  • Calculate the average time you have to write each answer. Keep an eye on the time as you proceed.  
  • Start with the easiest question and continue to the more difficult ones. 
  • For each question, plan the things you want to mention and the order in which you want to mention them. 
  • Make sure you answer all of the questions, and check to see that you have included all the things you planned. 
  • Before you hand in your answers, read them through and edit if necessary.  

Troubleshooting

  • If you cannot remember a particular detail, stop trying to force yourself and skip that part for now. If the detail is minor, it is probably not very important in terms of the overall examination. You will usually be able to recall bigger issues by concentrating and deducing. You may also find that you can think of the answer more clearly if you focus on the other questions for a while. 
  • If time is running out, answer the remaining questions briefly and with complete sentences. Decide which issues are the most important to include.  
  • Everyone has their own style and pace of writing. Focus on your own answers. 
  • If you feel tired and cannot concentrate, take a small break. 

Examination anxiety

Everyone feels anxious sometimes, but what is it and how can we cope with anxiety?  

Watch a video where Juha Nieminen, counselling psychologist at the University of Helsinki, talks about anxiety relating to studies and examinations: Examination anxiety! (in Finnish)