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Frequently asked questions before and during exams

We've collected advice and answers to the most common questions we hear from students before and during exams for our courses below. This page refers to the Department of Media and Communication by its Norwegian abbreviation, IMK.

Please remember that formal and academic requirements may differ between departments at the University of Oslo. For that reason, you're required to read the information about the exams for each of your courses on the course page.

Is your exam conducted in the digital exam system Inspera? Please see the University's guide to the system.

General information regarding examinations at the University of Oslo

  • Information about the time and location for your exam is published on the semester pages for each course, under ‘Examinations’.
  • You can find general guidelines for illness during exams, obtaining a diploma or grade transcript, applying for a leave of absence and so on, on the examination pages.
  • If you become ill during exams, you may qualify for a deadline deferral or a postponed exam, depending on the exam and the nature of your illness. Please read below for more information regarding this.

What is a candidate number, and where can I find mine?

If you are qualified to take an exam, you will be assigned a candidate number for that exam. Exams at the University of Oslo are generally submitted anonymously, and therefore you must include your individual candidate number for that exam. You should never include your name on your exam submission unless specifically instructed to do so. Your candidate number is published in Studentweb approximately 1-2 weeks before the exam. You can find it on the front page of Studentweb, in the information section for each exam.

What do I do if I become ill during an exam?

If you become ill during an exam or have other valid reasons for not attending the exam, you may apply for a postponed exam or a deadline deferral on submissions. In order to qualify, you must be able to document your valid absence, e.g. with a doctor's note. The general requirements to qualify for a postponed exam or deadline deferral, as well as the application procedure, are available on the University of Oslo's examination page. You will also find the application form there. 

What is a standard page?

A standard page ("normalside" in Norwegian) is considered to be one page of text with

  • Standard line spacing at UiO (1.5) and standard margins (2.5cm, which is the standard margins in Word)
  • Standard font type and size (12pt Times New Roman or equivalent)
  • Normal use of indents and paragraphs

In other words, a standard page should be one page of text without any unnecessary use of line breaks, and where the font is not noticeably smaller or larger than 12pt Times New Roman. We typically say that a standard page is approximately 2300 character excluding spaces, because that is generally what you would need to fill a page with text.

If your submission includes pictures, tables or illustrations, they should not be included in your page count. For instance, a ten page submission containing seven pages of text and three pages of images will be counted as seven pages long.

Unless it is specified in the exam assignment, you should not include the front page, literature list/bibliography or any appendices to your submission in the total page count. 

How many pages do I need to write?

The page requirements may differ between exams. Therefore, it is important to check the course page first. Any page requirements should be listen in the Examination section.

Examinations at IMK generally ask for a  ten page submission. This means that we expect that the vast majority of students will need approximately ten pages to answer the exam assignment fully and well. The examiner that grades your paper will also expect that you write approximately ten pages, but you are not required to write ten pages exactly. As long as you write a good exam paper that answers the exam assignment, you will generally not be marked down for having a slightly shorter or longer exam paper. A good rule of thumb for courses at IMK is ten pages +/- 10%.

If your submission is shorter or longer than ten pages, you should consider whether the quality of your exam submission justifies the length. If you have not answered all aspects of the assignment, or if you have included irrelevant, unjustified or unnecessary aspects, you may be marked down by your examiner.

Read your exam assignment with a critical eye and ask yourself:

  • If your text is too short - is there anything in the exam assignment you have not discussed or adressed?
  • If your text is too long - could it be that you have strayed a little from the assignment, or that you have included something that is unnecessary or off-topic? Is everything you've included relevant for the exam assignment?

How should the front page of my exam look?

IMK does not have a template for submissions, and you are free to set the front page up the way you prefer. However, there are a few things you are required to include on the front page:

  • Course code and name
  • Candidate number
  • Semester (spring or autumn) and year
  • Title of your submission
    • On take-home examinations, you should include the exam assignment you are answering on the front page. If the assignment is too long to fit on the first page, you may abbreviate it, or only include the assignment number (if there are more than one).
    • On term papers, you must compose your own title for your submission.

Remember to include page numbers in your submission. We recommend that you also include the course code, semester and your candidate number in the header text  of your exam submission.

Do I need to cite my sources, and how can I do it properly?

All submissions at IMK are considered to be academic texts, and must follow the current norms for using sources and citations. This is required for exam submissions, such as take-home exams or term papers, as well as for written obligatory assignments during the semester where you are using texts from the syllabus or other academic sources. 

In order to use sources and citations correctly, it is important that you choose a citation style guide and follow it consistently throughout your entire submission. The citation style guide you choose will dictate how you should denote the references in your text. For instance, one citation style guide may require you to use a parenthetical reference in the text itself, while another may require you to use a footnote.

The most common citation style guides in use at IMK are

  • APA
  • Harvard
  • Chicago 16th Ed. A (author-year style)
  • Chicago 16th Ed. B (footnotes)

You can learn more about citations and style guides at Search and Write. There are also several English-language web pages dedicated to the different style guides, such as Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL)

Most exams and courses and IMK allow any of the most common citation styles, but some may require you to use a specific style. Therefore, you must always read the exam assignment carefully. If you are not instructed to use a specific citation style, you may pick the one with which you are most comfortable or familiar.

At the end of your exam submission, you must always include your list of works cited (also called a literature list or bibliography). The list must include all the sources you have used in your exam submission in alphabetical order, and should follow the citation style guideline you are using.

You must take care to always cite and include all sources you have used in your exam submission. If not, you may be suspected of attempted cheating or plagiarism.

What is cheating?

Cheating on an exam means you have broken the rules of academic integrity. Academic integrity means being honest about which thoughts and arguments that you have come up with on your own. and which ones you have found in other people's work. In any academic text, your reader should also be able to go to your original source to check that what you are claiming is correct. This is why it is so important to cite your sources as accurately as you can.

If you have or instance learned something from the syllabus that you include in your exam paper, you must be able to show which text you read, and at times also on which page in the text you have learned what you discuss. If you neglect to include this information, it is the same as claiming that you came up with this insight or knowledge by yourself. This also applies if you are using phrases, theories, or words with a specific academic meaning that you have learned from your syllabus.
The examiner that grades your exam submission will be very familiar with the course, and will recognize which parts of your submission that you have learned from consulting the syllabus.

In order to avoid being suspected of attempted cheating or plagiarism, you must take care to always cite the sources you are using in your exam submission:

  • If you use the exact same words as your source, this is a direct quotation and must be cited using qouation marks (" ... "). If you do not cite direct quotations correctly, this is considered plagiarism. If you use the exact same words to reproduce the point or meaning of your quotation, you may be suspected of plagiarism even if you only use 3-5 words from the original text without citing the source. Direct quotations always require that you include the page number in your citation. 
  • If you are stating the "point" or findings from your source in your own words, this is called a paraphrase. A paraphrase must always be in your own words - it is not enough to change a few words in the sentence, or to shuffle the order of the sentence, from your original source. 
  • All sources that you mention in your text or footnotes must be included in your list of works cited at the end of the exam submission.

 All exam submissions are subject to the University's rules regarding cheating and plagiarism. Before you submit your exam, you must therefore ensure that you have used sources and citations correctly.

If you break the University's rules, your exam may be annulled. In cases of serious or repeated plagiarism, students may be expelled from higher education in Norway for one or two semesters.

If you are unsure of how to properly use sources, citations, and references, please consult Search and Write (Søk og Skriv) or the University library's Academic Writing Centre.

Checklist before submitting

  • If you are submitting a take-home exam or term paper, make sure to set aside time to do the actual work of submitting it. You will submit in Inspera and Inspera closes exactly as the deadline expires. In practice, this means that your last chance for submitting your exam to a given deadline at 11:00 (11AM) will be 10:59. Be sure to give yourself a little extra time to account for last-minute computer trouble or slow internet connection.
  • Have you included your candidate number, the course code and semester on the front page of your submission?
  • Have you remember to include all your references, both in the actual text and in the literature list at the end?
  • Many students choose to use little in-text reminders -  e.g. "(INCLUDE REFERENCE HERE)" or "...move this text up..." - have you read through your text and made sure no little "notes to self" remain?
  • Have used the spell checker in your word processor on the final version of your exam assignment?
  • Is the file you're uploading the final and correct version of your exam, including the literature list at the end? Once the deadline has passed, you won't be able to resubmit if you accidentally uploaded a draft instead of the final version.
  • Are you able to open the file that you're submitting - especially if you've converted it from Word/Pages to PDF?

Grading, explanations and complaints

Published Mar. 10, 2016 2:41 PM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2022 10:42 AM