Coronavirus: Effects on examinations

Coronavirus – How examinations are affected at FAU

General information on the coronavirus is available at www.fau.eu/corona

FAU has published regulations concerning deviations from degree programme and examination regulations and the doctoral degree and habilitation regulations due to restrictions to teaching and examinations imposed as a result of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

As well as general information and regulations, here you can also find specific information and regulations applicable to certain faculties, departments or individual degree programmes.

General information

Examinations can be held provided the hygiene guidelines are observed, in particular by keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between all individuals (further information).

Please note that using darfichrein.de (or recording candidates’ seat numbers by hand) is a compulsory requirement for holding examinations. More detailed information is available under ‘Instructions for teaching staff on holding examinations’.

The same rules apply to inspections of examination papers. Candidates must still be given the opportunity to inspect their marked examination papers. If candidates agree, it is also possible for papers to be viewed online. For example, examination candidates could be sent a scan of their examination papers and offered the opportunity to clarify any questions they may have via Zoom. Examiners are responsible for arranging for candidates to inspect their marked papers on campus, and must inform them beforehand of the rules which must be observed. Candidates must always be given the opportunity to raise any questions they may have, if necessary during a (later) individual meeting (possibly via Zoom).

  1. Students showing symptoms that could indicate a Covid-19 infection (e.g. respiratory symptoms such as a sore throat, cough or shortness of breath; unspecific general symptoms such as fever, headache or aching limbs or a loss of taste or smell) or students who have tested positive for Covid-19 are not permitted to take examinations.
  2. Asymptomatic students who have had contact to an individual diagnosed with Covid-19 are also not permitted to take examinations if the date of contact and the date of the examination are less than 14 days apart. This does not apply to students who are working (part-time) in healthcare.
  3. Contact restrictions end automatically (if no symptoms have developed) after 14 days or once the student submits a negative PCR test result. A PCR test only makes sense at the earliest 7 days after contact to the infected person (provided no symptoms have developed in the meantime). Students with a negative test result are permitted to take the examination from this point onwards.

Masks must be worn during all examinations. Social distancing and general hygiene regulations must be observed (information sheet on obligation to wear masks).

The obligation to wear FFP2 masks aims to reduce the increased risk of aerosol infection when people are in close proximity to one another. FFP2 masks, when they are properly fitted, lead to a significant increase in respiratory resistance. Some students may find this very stressful and restrictive in an examination. For this reason and because masks offer sufficient protection in the context of the hygiene concept, there is currently no obligation to wear FFP2 masks in examinations.

We recommend that you carry proof of registration for examinations (confirmation of registration from mein campus) with you on examination days, as participating in an exam is considered a justified reason for leaving your home in the context of the Regulation on Infection Prevention and Control Measures.

If you belong to an at-risk group, you must provide a medical certificate proving that this is the case. The medical certificate is only required to confirm that you belong to an at-risk group. It does not need to include a diagnosis and/or description of symptoms. The medical certificate must be shown but not submitted to the examiner.

Please inform the examiner well in advance if the fact that you belong to an at-risk group means that you have special requirements for the examination (e.g. a particular place in the examination room) in order to ensure that the necessary measures can be put in place. Special examination conditions cannot be guaranteed if the examiner is not informed in good time.

Pregnant women are currently prohibited from entering FAU premises, which means they are unable to take on-campus examinations. Please contact the relevant examiner directly if you would like to take an examination despite this fact. The examiner will check if you can take an alternative equivalent examination, such as a written assignment instead of a written examination. You do not have to inform the Examinations Office of this change of examination format.

Further information for students who are pregnant is available on the general FAQ pages on studying.

We remind you that you are responsible for observing measures to protect yourself (distancing, hygiene, wearing a mask) while travelling to and from on-campus examinations.

You must strictly observe a minimum distance of 1.5 m from other individuals at all times when entering and exiting the examination room. This also applies when you are waiting in the designated area or standing outside the examination room/building. If there is a queue to enter the examination room, you must be sure to keep a distance of 1.50 m from everyone else. You must obey the instructions given by staff at all times.

Please be sure to comply with the rules on wearing masks!

You must observe coughing and sneezing etiquette throughout the examination, as well as while waiting to enter. If you need to go to the toilet during the examination, please choose the shortest route and go the the nearest toilet. We would, however, urge you to visit the toilet before entering the examination room and to refrain from leaving the examination room once you have taken your seat.

Examination candidates must be registered by name and by seat in order to enable any follow-up enquiries or contact tracing. Please take care to only sit in the seat allocated to you either in advance or on the day of the examination. You are not allowed to change seats of your own accord. Once you have taken the seat allocated to you, you are no longer permitted to get up and move around the examination room.

If you finish the examination early, please remain seated until the end of the examination. You must leave the examination room in single file, taking care to keep the minimum distance between you and everyone else.

For contact tracing to be effective, everyone has to cooperate, irrespective of whether you are an examination candidate or an examiner. To record your contact details automatically, scan the QR code for the contact tracing system ‘darfichrein’ when you arrive at your seat. In the event of a confirmed infection, this allows the local health authorities to trace all possible contacts.

If you haven’t used darfichrein.de before, we recommend saving your contact details on ‘darfichrein.de’ before the examination using this QR code which helps to ensure that checking in for examinations runs smoothly.

If you have already saved your contact details with darfichrein.de, you only need to scan the QR code once you are at your seat. Students or staff who do not have a smartphone have to fill in a form by hand. Students who do not want to enter their details online also have to use the handwritten form.

Examiners are obliged to ensure that contact details are recorded correctly, and should plan sufficient time for this before the examination starts. They must also make sure that enough forms are made available for this for those who do not want to enter their details online to be able to enter their details by hand.

If I am acting as an invigilator, how can I check that the examination candidates have signed in correctly to ‘darfichrein.de’?

Ask students to hold up their phones and show you the green check-in screen from ‘darfichrein.de’ before they put them back in their bags for the actual examination.

Keeping handwritten forms

The handwritten forms used during an examination should be kept in a sealed envelope. After the session, the envelope will be marked with the date, time, place and room number of the relevant session. Examiners are responsible for keeping the envelope safe. The envelope should be destroyed after 4 weeks.

Information on data protection at ‘darfichrein.de’ is available on our website.

Any examination candidates/students who refuse to record their contact details for tracing purposes are automatically excluded from sitting the examination!

We recommend that you carry proof of registration for examinations (confirmation of registration from mein campus) with you when travelling to an examination as participating in an exam is considered a justified reason for leaving your home in the context of the Regulation on Infection Prevention and Control Measures

Attending on-campus examinations is a sufficient reason for necessary travel despite lockdown restrictions. Please note, however, that you must not end a period of quarantine or self-isolation prematurely to attend an examination.

Students diagnosed with Covid-19 within 14 days of taking an examination must notify the examination officer or Occupational Safety immediately via e-mail (zuv-sgas-covid-nachverfolgung@fau.de). They will then inform the Examinations Office.

No. FAU has drawn up a procedure with the health authorities for tracing any potential cases of infection. A digital system for recording contact details has been set up for all examination rooms. All candidates must record their attendance and seating position via darfichrein.de. It is also possible to record contact details by hand. If a candidate tests positive for the coronavirus after the examination, anyone sitting within a three metre radius of the candidate will be informed by FAU. These people will be prohibited from taking part in any further examinations for the next 14 days.

Remote electronic examinations are governed by EFernPO (FAU regulations on remote examinations). Please refer to our information sheet for more details about data collection for participation in remote electronic examinations.

We have reviewed options for offering remote examinations intensively. Remote examinations with video monitoring as defined in EFernPO (FAU regulations on remote examinations) in conjunction with BayFEV (Bavarian regulation for testing remote examinations) may only be offered and held as an alternative to an on-campus examination, which means that if the University offers remote examinations, it must also offer an on-campus examination that are offered in the same time period and under conditions that ensure equal opportunities for all candidates. Students can then decide whether they would like to take the remote examination or not, i.e. whether they would prefer to sit the on-campus examination.

However, this means that lecturers would have to draw up one examination concept for the on-campus format and another concept suitable for remote examination formats for each examination. This would also require additional invigilators for the on-campus examination and extra invigilators for the remote examination, resulting in a considerably higher strain on resources for planning and holding examinations.

Remote examinations are also not a suitable examination format for all subjects. Skill-oriented examinations require different formats that are not always suitable for remote examinations. These formats must be designed to circumvent fraud by creating time pressure through the number of tasks, which is not conducive to examining a subject in sufficient depth.

We also cannot force all lecturers to offer remote examinations as we would be interfering in the principle of academic freedom of university lecturers. This is established in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany and applies not only to the content that is taught but also the way it is examined. The executive board of a university cannot legally force all lecturers to use a specific type of examination format. It can only provide the relevant framework.

At the current time, if you did not take part in an examination on the original date and a resit date (Wiederholungstermin) is offered for your degree programme in the same semester, you may take the examination on the resit date. You will be registered to take the examination on the resit date automatically by the Examinations Office. Failure to attend the examination on this resit date does not have any consequences. Please note, however, that this may mean you are only able to attend the examination on the regular date during the semester after next in some cases.

Nevertheless, we request that you withdraw from examinations in mein campus in good time for reasons of efficiency and to improve the planning of examinations.

No, the option for a ‘free go’ ended at the end of summer semester 2020. It was intended to soften the impact of the initial crisis at the start of the pandemic. The pandemic has lasted for a year or so now and we are all familiar with the situation. A ‘free go’ rule is no longer permitted in terms of examination legislation and is not feasible in terms of the vast resources that would be needed in organising additional examinations. However, the option of withdrawing from the examination up until the day of the examination or on the day itself by not attending still remains, please refer to Section 5 (2) (1) of the Coronavirus Regulations. Nevertheless, we request that you withdraw from examinations in mein campus in good time for reasons of efficiency and to improve the planning of examinations.

The current Coronavirus Regulations state that it is no longer possible to withdraw from an examination once it has started. If you feel that your performance will be impaired or to avoid failing the examination, your only option is to not attend the examination. You can withdraw up until the examination starts – simply not attending is enough. Nevertheless, we request that you withdraw from examinations in mein campus in good time for reasons of efficiency and to improve the planning of examinations.

The provisions in the relevant examination regulations apply as regards withdrawing from examinations. Students may require a medical certificate from an official medical examiner to withdraw from an examination if this is stipulated in the examination regulations.

Information on university examinations

The following applies to all university examinations in summer semester 2020, winter semester 2020/2021 and summer semester 2021:

  • Students can withdraw from an examination by not attending.
  • A failure to attend will generally be counted as excused.
  • Sitting the examination again as an attempt to improve grades is not permitted.

Please note that different regulations apply to university examinations officially scheduled for summer semester 2020 and those scheduled for winter semester 2020/2021: In the case of examinations scheduled for summer semester 2020 (all examinations officially scheduled for summer semester 2020, even if they are not actually taken until after 1 October 2020), the results of an examination will be annulled if the student fails. It is therefore not classed as a failed attempt. This does not apply to examinations scheduled from winter semester 2020/2021 onwards! In this case, a failed examination will not be annulled. The examination will be counted as a failed attempt. In certain cases, students can apply to the relevant Examinations Committee for a failed attempt to be nullified.

The special regulations apply to all examinations irrespective of whether the individual candidates are sitting the examination for the first time or whether they are repeating it.

In degree programmes where a resit examination is offered during the same semester (resit date), you can attend this resit examination if you do not attend the examination on the original date. You will be registered for this resit date by the Examinations Office. Failure to attend the examination on this resit date does not have any consequences. Please note, however, that this may mean you are only able to attend an examination on the regular date during the semester after next in some cases.

Students are not required to submit a doctor’s certificate (‘Attest’ in German) if they fail to attend university examinations which they have registered for. They will be considered to have been excused from the examination even without submitting a doctor’s certificate. The failure to attend will not be recorded as a failed attempt.  

Please note: Withdrawal during an examination in winter semester 2020/2021 and summer semester 2021 is only possible in those cases where this is permitted in the relevant examination regulations.

Please note that other rules may apply to State Examination degree programmes.

Study deadlines

until the end of summer semester 2021

Study deadlines, i.e. deadlines for completing the GOP or Bachelor’s/Master’s degree programmes, will not be checked before the end of summer semester 2021, meaning that there will be no consequences for exceeding the originally stipulated deadlines, no matter how many semesters have already been studied in the subject. There is no need to file a specific request for an extension. Please note that other rules may apply to State Examination degree programmes!

From winter semester 2021/2022

The Examinations Office will check study deadlines again from winter semester 2021/2022. When checking these deadlines, summer semester 2020, winter semester 2021/2021 and summer semester 2021 are not counted as subject semesters for the purpose of determining deadlines. The deadlines by which the GOP or the Bachelor’s or Master’’s degree programme must finally be completed are therefore extended accordingly for all students who are enrolled in this period.

Examples:

  • In summer semester 2020, student X is in the 4th study semester of a Master’s degree programme lasting four semesters. The applicable examination regulations state that this deadline can be exceeded by one semester without having to state reasons. At the same time, summer semester 2020, winter semester 2020/2021 and summer semester 2021 does not count when calculating the expiry date of the deadline.
    As a result, student X now has a total of eight (instead of five) semesters in which to complete the Master’s degree.
  • In summer semester 2020, student Y is in the second semester of a Bachelor’s degree programme lasting six semesters. The GOP has to be completed after two semesters. This deadline may be exceeded by one semester. The Bachelor’s degree must be completed after six semesters. This deadline may be exceeded by two semesters.
    As summer semester 2020, winter semester 2020/2021 and summer semester 2021 does not count when calculating the number of semesters studied, the GOP now has to be completed by the end of the sixth (instead of the third) semester (= end of winter semester 2021/2022). The deadline for completing the Bachelor’s degree programme is also extended by three semesters, meaning that this now must be completed at the latest after the eleventh (instead of the eighth) semester.
  • Student Z started his four semester Master’s degree programme in summer semester 2020. According to the examination regulations, he can exceed this deadline by one semester without giving reasons, which gives her a total of five semesters in which to complete her degree. He should therefore finish his degree by the end of summer semester 2022. However, as summer semester 2020, winter semester 2020/2021 and summer semester 2021 do not count towards calculating study deadlines on account of the coronavirus pandemic, he now has a total of eight semesters for completing her Master’s degree. In other words, he has until the end of winter semester 2023/2024 to complete her degree.

The standard durations of study themselves do not change in either of the cases detailed above, and the relevant certificates (such as the certificate of enrolment) are not changed. In all cases, students are also able to apply to their Examinations Committee for a further individual extension from winter semester 2021/2022 if they have legitimate reasons.

Further information and regulations concerning study deadlines

  • The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has promised that there will be no disadvantages for BAföG recipients.
  • Students who have already de-registered with effect from the end of the winter semester 2019/2020, but whose examination will now take place during summer semester 2020 due to the postponements, will not have to re-enrol to take the examination. They can sit the examination and their result will count.
  • In order to let them access the teaching materials they need to prepare for the examination which are available in the library and on StudOn, as well as all administrative functions in mein campus, these students will be allowed to continue using student services until 30 June 2020. All services affected are listed in the overview of services available in their IdM account.

Extension of deadlines for examination achievements for admission to a Master’s degree programme

  • Deadlines for examination achievements that must otherwise be completed for admission to a Master’s degree programme by 30 September 2021 (enrolment for winter semester 2020/21) or 31 March 2022 (enrolment for summer semester 2021) may be extended by one semester if the admissions committee for the Master’’s degree programme confirms that the requirements could not be met due to the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the application requirement set out in BayHSchG, the deadline for fulfilling the admission requirements cannot be extended automatically.
  • Students must apply to the Student Records Office directly (studentenkanzlei@fau.de) to request an individual extension and submit confirmation from the admissions committee supporting this request.
  • Master’s students who have already been granted an extension of one semester for meeting admission requirements will not be granted a further extension.

Trial studies

The extension stipulated in the Coronavirus Rregulations also applies to students to whom Section 10 of the Admissions Regulations at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg for subject-specific university admission for qualified professionals and graduates of the Meisterprüfung and persons treated as such applies.

The following applies to all final theses (Bachelor’s and Master’s theses) and project reports:

Submission deadlines for final theses which were originally scheduled between 16 December and 10 January 2021 will be extended by 28 days. The new date for submission will be adjusted automatically. You do not need to file an application for extension. If you want, you can still submit your thesis any time before the final (extended) date of submission. You can still submit your thesis any time before the final (extended) submission date. Theses can be submitted in a loose-leaf binder until further notice. Adhesive binding is not required. Please note, however, that the Examinations Office is currently closed to the public, so you will have to either drop off your thesis in the letterbox at the Schloss or send it by post.

For example: The official date of submission for your final thesis is 22 December 2020. This date is extended by 28 days. You must now submit your thesis by 19 January 2021 (at the latest).
All deadlines for completing final theses which were originally scheduled between 16 December and 10 January 2021 will be extended by 28 days The new date for submission will be adjusted automatically. You do not need to file an application for extension. If this thesis is the last achievement you have to submit to complete your degree programme, you no longer need to be enrolled as a student when you submit the thesis.

For example: The Master’s thesis (six months allowed for completion) was officially registered as your last examination achievement in your degree programme on 1 October 2020. The date of submission would therefore be 31 March 2021 (end of winter semester 2020/2021). This deadline is now extended by 28 days. The new (latest) date of submission is now 28 April 2021 (= summer semester 2021). In this case, there is no need for you to re-register for summer semester 2020, although you can if you want.

If your submission deadline has been extended and you still need access to student services to continue working on your thesis, please contact the Student Records Office (L5) at studentenkanzlei@fau.de.

Due to the continued closure of the libraries until 31 January 2021, the following still applies:

  1. All deadlines for all assignments that are due for submission between 11 January 2021 and 31 January 2021 have been extended. Example: If the scheduled submission date is 18 January 2021, with an extension of 8 days (11 January to 18 January), the new date for submission will be 8 February 2021, as the reopening of the libraries on 1 February 2021 counts as the first day of ‘normal’ operations. The eight-day extension is added to this date to generate the new submission date.
  2. The deadlines for all new assignments registered between 11 January 2021 and 31 January 2021 (starting dates of assignments are within this time period) have also been extended.
  3. All assignments where the completion period includes the entire time period between 11 January 2021 and 31 January 2021 (that is, the assignment is started before this period starts and is due to be submitted after it is over) will be granted the full 21 days as an extension.

This extension is also granted automatically. All those affected will receive an e-mail informing them of the extension and their new date for submission.

If the relevant examination regulations specify that students must be enrolled in the relevant degree programme in order to complete their final examination achievements, this requirement shall come into force again for students completing their final examination achievements from winter semester 2021/2022 onwards.

If you cannot travel from abroad or are generally unable to travel, you do not have to attend the examination. You must only provide sufficient proof of this justified reason and after consulting the examiner responsible, you can make use of the rule in Section 4 (4) of the Coronavirus Regulations. Alternatively, you can either postpone examinations entirely to one of the subsequent semesters by withdrawing from the examination in accordance with Section 5 (2) (1) of the Coronavirus Regulations. You also do not have to fear any legal consequences in terms of the progress of your degree due to such postponements.

All students who were enrolled on a degree programme at a state or state-recognised institute of higher education in summer semester 2020, who were not on leave and who had not exceeded the longest permissible funding period in summer semester 2020 may have their individual standard duration of study extended by one semester (Section 99 (2) BayHSchG).

As the extension is not granted automatically, students must contact the Amt für Ausbildungsförderung.

No announcements have been made by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts as far as funding for the current semester and the upcoming summer semester of 2021 are concerned. We will provide updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Further information is available on the website of Student Services Erlangen-Nürnberg (www.werkswelt.de/bafoeg). This website includes answers to frequently asked questions including how to apply for an extension to the deadline for submitting proof of having obtained all necessary achievements pursuant to Section 48 BAföG).

Information for State Examinations and State Examination degree programmes

Examinations

Please refer to the website of the examinations office in the Ministry of Education for the latest updates.

Written assignment

An extension to deadlines for written assignments (Zulassungsarbeiten) in teaching degree programmes may be arranged in consultation with supervisors. Please note: The assessment (evaluation) must be submitted to the Examinations Office by the supervisor at least two working days before the student sits their first individual examination, as otherwise the student cannot be admitted to the State Examination. Please make sure that supervisors are aware of this when setting new deadlines in order to ensure that they have still enough time to correct the assignment and send the evaluation after the assignment has been submitted and before the examination is held.

Placements

The decision to close all schools in Bavaria from Monday 16 March 2020 also affects students completing their general or subject-related teaching placements at Grundschulen (primary schools) and Mittelschulen (lower secondary schools). The teachers supervising the students during their placement will keep them up to date with how to proceed.

At present, the examinations for the State Examination are expected to go ahead as planned.

Please note the information in the e-mail from the Executive Board sent on 12 January 2021: the Coronavirus Regulations published by Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg concerning Deviations from Degree Programme and Examination Regulations and the Doctoral Degree and Habilitation Regulations only apply to university examinations, they do not apply to examinations for State Examination.

The results of the examinations for the State Examinations are assessed in accordance with the valid Licensing Regulations for Physicians (Approbationsordnung), any failed examinations will not be nullified. You can only withdraw from the examination after receiving the invitation for an important reason. If you fail to attend an examination, you must inform the Examinations Office immediately of an important reason (for example by submitting a doctor’s certificate), otherwise you will be considered to have failed the examination. As a rule, fear of running the risk of infection is considered an important reason for withdrawing from an examination pursuant to Sections 18 and 19 ÄAppO provided the country is still considered to be in the throes of a national epidemic as determined by the Federal government. Written notification of this must be submitted to the Examinations Office in good time before the examination.

At present, all examinations for State Examinations are expected to go ahead as planned.

Please note the information in the e-mail from the Executive Board sent on 12 January 2021: the Coronavirus Regulations published by Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg concerning Deviations from Degree Programme and Examination Regulations and the Doctoral Degree and Habilitation Regulations only apply to university examinations, they do not apply to examinations for State Examinations.

The results of the examinations for the State Examinations are assessed in accordance with the valid Licensing Regulations for Physicians (Approbationsordnung), any failed examinations will not be nullified. You can only withdraw from the examination after receiving the invitation for an important reason. If you fail to attend an examination, you must inform the Examinations Office immediately of an important reason (for example by submitting a doctor’s certificate), otherwise you will be considered to have failed the examination. As a rule, fear of running the risk of infection is considered an important reason for withdrawing from an examination, provided the country is still considered to be in the throes of a national epidemic as determined by the Federal government. Written notification of this must be submitted to the Examinations Office in good time before the examination.

Please note the information on the website of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy.

With respect to the seminar papers which law students have to submit as part of their degree: all students are allowed to choose whether to return the topic they have been given or to complete the paper within the set deadline.

For conducting the JUP (Mündliche Juristische Universitätsprüfung – university part of the oral State Examination in Law), the chairperson of the Examinations Committee has announced that in accordance with Section 6 (6) of the Examination Regulations for JUP, candidates can no longer withdraw after they have been admitted to the oral examination. Failure to attend without a valid excuse will lead to the examination being recorded as ‘ungenügend’ (0 points), see Section 5 (1) (5) JAPO (examination regulations). Candidates can withdraw from the oral examination without any consequences before being admitted to the examination. Candidates who have registered for the JUP, but do not feel they are able to take the oral JUP examination, should withdraw from the examination before they receive notification of admission to the examination.

A minimum distance of 1.5 metres must be kept between each person present at the examination and the FAU hygiene guidelines must be observed. More detailed information about how the examination will be held will be announced before the examination.

German information