A Guide to Online Semester 2 Examinations

A Guide to Online Semester 2 Examinations

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in the interests of staff and student health, the university has decided to substitute Semester 1 written examinations with an online format.

This page, and also this guide to Preparing for Online Exams, aim to help students prepare for online examinations. 

 Key Information

1st Year Modules

For Semester 1 – 2020/21 all 1st year modules will be assessed by Continuous Assessment. If you have any queries on this, please consult with your module lecturer.

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Please ensure that you are correctly registered for all your modules. You can check your registration details at any time on your Student Portal

If you are not correctly registered for a module it will not appear on your personal exam timetable and you may be unable to take the online exam. If you have any questions about your registration, please email reghelp@nuigalway.ie.

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Details on exam dates and your personal exam timetable can be accessed via https://www.nuigalway.ie/exams/timetable-advice/examtimetable/

You should familiarise yourself with your timetable and also check the Amendments webpage regularly as examination dates/times may change up to the day of your exam.

If your timetable is incorrect or you do not have a timetable, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions online before contacting the Student Registry Helpdesk.

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All online examinations will be delivered through Blackboard unless otherwise specified.

Further details on Blackboard can be found here.

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Online Exam Tips


  • Ensure that the space you will be doing your exam is as quiet as possible.
  • Make sure your chair/desk is comfortable and that you have adequate lighting and space.
  • If needed, have a snack and a bottle of water nearby.
  • Turn off your phone and anything else that might be a distraction for you while taking the exam.
  • Be ready at least 10 minutes in advance of each exam.
  • Make a note of who you should contact if you experience any technical issues during the exam, so as you have it to hand if needed.
  • Use the bathroom approx 15 minutes before the exam commences so you don’t lose any time during the exam.

Taking the Exam.

  • Make sure you read all the instructions and exam questions very carefully and understand what you are being asked to do.  Then read them again just to be sure!
  • Manage your time carefully.  Follow the assessment instructions in relation to the start time, exam duration, finish time and any additional time allocated for upload/submission of the exam.
  • If you are not sure you fully understand a question or think there is a typo, check what the module coordinator has instructed you to do.  If there is no facility to query this with your module coordinator, write down your interpretation of the question then continue.
  • If something goes wrong and an issue occurs outside your control, notify your lecturer/module co-ordinator of the situation as soon as you can.  You should do this by sending an email with your student ID, details of the issue and if possible, include a screenshot of the work completed and/or error message.
  • Don’t forget to submit!

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Exam Integrity

All NUI Galway students will be asked to self-certify that they are complying with the rules in online assessments by signing a disclaimer statement at the start of each online exam. NUI Galway reserves the right to follow-up with a student by interview if there was any concern in relation to the integrity of the exam process.

You are expected to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and honesty when completing assessments at NUI Galway. Module Leaders reserve the right to follow up with a student by interview if there is any concern in relation to the integrity of the assessment. Any irregularities of conduct may be reported to the Exam Security Group as provided for in ‘QA230* - Procedures for Dealing with Breaches of Examination Regulations’ (Emergency revision).

Please be assured that our primary concern is to maintain the integrity and rigour of the examinations process, and the alternative assessments provided for each module will reflect appropriately the same level of effort required for traditional exams based in exam halls. The quality of your NUI Galway degree is paramount and will not be affected by an alternative mode of assessment.

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You will need a laptop/computer and a reliable internet connection to take an online exam. If you do not have access to a laptop/computer, the University have a Laptop Loan Scheme. Full details can be found here.

You will also need to ensure that Blackboard is working on your browser.

Use a laptop/computer rather than a mobile device to take your exam.

Some IT Tips when preparing for remote learning and online exams.

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Assessment Types

There are a number of assessment types being used for the Semester 1 exams. Please make sure that you have confirmed what type of assessment is in use for each of your modules.

Please note:

  • All exams assigned a date and time on the official timetable, will be either a Written Exam or an MCQ.
  • All 1st Year modules will be examined by Continuous Assessment.
  • If a module does not fall into either of the above categories, your lecturer will inform you of the assessment type.

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Examination Resources

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Exam duration will remain 120 minutes with up to 30 additional minutes to facilitate uploading the assessment.

Where the Disability Support Service has recommended exam accommodations for you, please liaise with the appropriate staff in the relevant discipline to request that any required exam accommodations are put in place for timed assessments designed to replace the semester 1 exams.

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Examination Regulations

Online University exams are subject to the University’s Exam Regulations (QA229* - Exam Regulations (Emergency Revision - 15th April‌‌)).

A breach of the University’s exam regulations is a serious offence and may incur a penalty up to, and including, a zero mark for the module. Please read the updated QA230* - Procedures for Dealing with Breaches of Examination Regulations (Emergency Revision - 17th April)

Emergency Revisions can also be found for the following documents:

QA228* - Undergraduate Marks and Standards *Emergency Revision

QA236* - Postgraduate Marks and Standards *Emergency Revision

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Experiencing Exam Stress?

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It is recognised that circumstances may arise which will lead to a student wishing to defer some of his/her assessments and/or formal examinations during the academic year. Please be assured that whatever the circumstances are there is a network of support within the University in Student Services, the Colleges and Schools, Registry and the Student’s Union which you should avail of. This guide is to assist you with the process should you need to apply for a deferral of an examination.

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DSS Registered Students

The reasonable accommodations recommended for a student registered with the Disability Support Service still apply for alternative forms of course delivery and assessment. However, you may find that some of these accommodations are not relevant while alternative arrangements are in place.

If extra time has been recommended as a reasonable accommodation for exams, then you can avail of extra time (10 minutes per hour) for any timed assessments that you are taking. 

Please see the DSS FAQ page for further Exam/Alternative Assessment Queries (COVID-19)

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Results and Transcripts

Provisional Results: Provisional results for Semester 1 exams may be released locally by Schools/Colleges via Blackboard Grade Centre. Students are advised to check Blackboard for information about provisional results in the first instance.

Official Results: The Examinations Office will releases official examination results for both Semester 1 & 2 in June/July.

Further details and dates will be available on the Exams Website here

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Graduation and Conferring

The university has made the decision to postpone the Winter Conferring ceremonies to the summer of 2021 based on public health advise and feedback from students. The virtual ceremonies originally scheduled from 30 November to 9 December will now not take place, nor will honorary degrees be awarded at this time. We hope, by the summer of 2021, that we may be able to host a celebratory event on campus for our 2020 graduates instead, reliant on – and in adherence with – the public health guidance at the time.

Further information can be found here.

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Further information is available through the below FAQs

Student FAQs

Examinations FAQs

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