Alternative Examination Technique

I was introduced during this week to a different exam format; I had my first Oral exam at Copenhagen Business School. Now some of you may be saying, so what! Well, to place the exam in context, the oral exam lasts 20 minutes and represents your mark for an entire semesters course work and in my case 7,5 ECTS. The pressure to perform is immense. Prior to the oral exam the student needs to write a 3 page synopsis, which is intended to set the scene for the discussion in the oral exam, but the synopsis does not count for any marks. The academic level of the synopsis is used to frame the discussion so in that way indirectly has an effect on your mark. In short, all points are given for your performance in those 20 minutes!

The 20 minutes are structured as follows, the student has 2 min to present at the beginning of the exam, without any PowerPoint, so just speaking. Then the examiners will ask the student questions related to the readings that the student referred to in their synopsis for the following 6 to 8 minutes. Thereafter the examiner will ask questions about any reading in the entire semester course for the following 6 to 8 minutes. Then the student leaves the room and the two examiners discuss the student's performance. The student is called in and given their mark in the 20th minute of the exam.

I found it an extremely tough yet efficient way of being examined. The only disadvantages are that some student's competence does not lie in presenting and speaking, and also that the students entire semester mark hinges on performing in a 20 minute time period, which converts it into a high pressure situation.

However, for business students that are going to be constantly faced in their future careers with time pressure and expected high performance in pressure situations, I think this examination style provides them with excellent preparation for the real working world.

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