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Exams planning

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Exams planning

Postby EdoardoTB » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:46 am

Dear colleagues,

I posted this message since I perceived there is a lot of confusion among freshmen on how our university system works. Please take some minutes to read carefully this topic, as a comprehensive understanding of the rationale behind exam sessions will definitely help you in planning a better exam schedule.

Conversely to what happens in UK and many other countries, you are NOT supposed to sit exams on the first exam session. The concept you really need to grasp is:

each year you have a precise number of exams you are supposed to pass; you also have a list of exam dates in the following months: February, June, July and September; you can sit all your exams whenever you want throughout your academic year, regardless of when lectures are given.

For example, if your Physics lectures are given in 1st semester, you can sit your exam whenever you want (e.g. in February or June) and it really makes NO DIFFERENCE in terms of grades or whatsoever.

Having said that, I really invite all of you to design your one-year schedule, carefully distributing the workload in each exam session. You have 4 courses in your 1st semester of your 1st year (Chem, Bio, Phy, Anatomy I), you are simply not meant to sit all of them in February.
Or better, let me state it in a different way: if you care about grades, you should NOT attempt to sit 4 exams in a month. Period. If you are happy with the passing score, you may attempt it, but this comes at your own risk, since you should take into consideration the possibility of failing, which somehow means having waisted precious study time that you could have spent on studying more in-depth a different subject.

All the above recommendations stem from three facts:
1. A poor organisation of the 1st semester. We have complained about this unsuccessfully multiple times, as we would all like to extend the February session, since this would ideally allow us to finish our exams as early as June!
2. Italian students already know how it works, whereas foreign students are often left in obscurity.
3. Exams in medical schools are really TOUGH.

I hope you have found this topic informative and I encourage you to post a message in your 1st-year folder, should you have still doubts.


P.S: concerning our possibility to "refuse a score" and "resit the exam", hoping for a better grade, I will publicly offer my "unlicensed" and "unrequested" point of view: it's the biggest flaw and bullshit of our university system. Even though it is true that grades are important, since your GPA is always taken into account when students are being selected for study exchanges (e.g. Erasmus study exchange) and any sort of activity with limited spots (also your residency training post-grad, if you are planning to work in Italy), I firmly believe that the waste of time deriving from sitting an exam multiple times is simply enormous and unquantifiable. Of course I am talking about study-time that you could be dedicating to the next exam in your schedule. By indirect experience, I can tell you that students who decide to sit an exam multiple times, end up accepting a score which is not significantly different from the ones they previously refused. Though after multiple attempts your final score might be higher, I am just inviting you to carefully weight the pros and cons of this approach.

All the above of course concerns the individual experience of each student. However, if we wanted to analyse this phenomenon on a larger scale, for example at a national level, I personally believe that this model leads to a situation in which more students fall behind and take longer to graduate and obviously this comes with enormous costs for the state Universities, in which students fees simply do not cover the expenses and lots of public money need to be invested. A completely different consideration should be made for private Universities, in which fees are significantly higher and can be regarded as a source of profit (because private Universities in Italy do receive founds from the Government anyway).
Edoardo, 4th medical student (now spending my 4th year abroad!)

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