Gearing back to final examinations on campus

Since 1 April 2022, the UTAR has progressed towards having more physical classes and activities on campus with strict compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for health and safety. Practical classes and tutorials have resumed with physical classes and hybrid learning while lectures remain online.

The final examinations for the January 2022 trimester for undergraduate students were held physically on campus with its first day of examination, commencing on 11 May 2022. The students followed the SOPs on campus. Entering the examination venues was orderly, following physical distancing, including seating arrangements in the exam venues. The examinations are scheduled to end on 28 May 2022 for both Kampar and Sungai Long Campuses.

JS Yow

Faculty of Accountancy and Management student JS Yow mentioned, “I am glad to be back on campus. I was able to meet my friends and do a final discussion before taking the final exam. I do agree that physical examinations gauge the quality of students’ performance better. But having an online exam is more convenient for students.” He added, “I’m glad that the University is practising safety measures on campus such as wearing of face mask, scanning of location and doing the antigen test.”

Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) student YS Lim, who took the Tamadun Islam Dan Tamadun Asia examination, shared, “The University has taken safety precautions by asking students to do the antigen test before entering the examination hall. The University may consider improving the facilities by easing the use of elevators and spacing out the examination time to reduce the crowd on campus.”

LKC FES student KY Yee said, “I personally would prefer having the final examination via online mode as it is safer for students and I can keep my family safe. Apart from that, I prefer online assessment as the questions gives me more time to think critically, analyse the issues and come out with solutions.”


In the meantime, LKC FES students Deva and Kumar mentioned that they would rather take the online assessment because it enables them to refer to various resources to come up with ideas and solution. They, however, agreed that physical examination is a better tool when it comes to measuring students’ performance because students are tested on every aspect, without any aid during the examination.

Centre for Foundation Studies (Sungai Long Campus) student JY said, “I took the Fundamentals of Cell Biology examination today. Personally, I would prefer to have the final examination online since I can have time to search for references and apply my knowledge in answering the questions. However, I think a physical exam would provide a fairer assessment of students’ performance. I am glad that the University is practising safety SOPs to keep students and staff healthy and safe.”

Tina Ng and Lim YZ

“We are glad that the University is taking proper procedures to ensure students’ safety. Speaking of physical examination, we enjoy the experience of meeting up with friends and having a quick discussion before we sit for the exam,” said Tina Ng and YZ Lim.

Semester Two Foundation student JC Seah said, “It feels good to be back on campus. I can finally feel the examination stress kicking in, unlike when I took the assessment at home. Physical examinations are more challenging, but it is quite alright because life is all about facing challenges.” He added, “I am looking forward to meeting my friends soon. I have missed having a face-to-face conversation with them. I believe this is for the better.”

Semester Three Foundation student K.J admitted that it was rather stressful for her to be back on campus after spending two semesters studying at home. However, despite the reluctance, she expressed her happiness to be able to meet her friends after a long period. She also mentioned that the sudden change of space has brought her a new excitement and provided her with a new thrill to look forward to.

It was an exciting new experience for Semester Three Foundation student XY Lim as it was her first time coming to campus for the examination physically. She commented, “I think physical exams are a better indicator of how well students perform in their education. It shows how hard they have worked and how much effort they have put into their education.” Lim also mentioned that it would be a rewarding experience to be together with her friends and classmates. Hence, she looks forward to interacting with them to see what ideas they have.

When asked for her opinion about having a physical examination, Actuarial Science student LF Tai responded, “Physical exams tend to push students to study harder and perform better, but on the downside, answering questions on a limited time can be challenging. So, it can be a little overwhelming for some. Because of the pandemic, most students have grown comfortable at home with online studies and examinations. To be honest, I am more comfortable studying at home.” She also added, “The SOPs were well enforced. Everything was well planned and the students were correctly guided to the places they were supposed to be.”

Foundation in Arts student XE Che stated, “I think physical examinations are more challenging compared to online assessments. Moreover, we have grown accustomed to online examinations, so the shift to a physical examination meant we had to adapt.” She noted her contentment with the SOPs carried out on campus. She expressed, “I think the SOPs are fine at the moment.”

Denesh R, an undergraduate student from the Faculty of Accountancy and Management mentioned, “I do think that physical examinations are a fairer assessment of students’ performance because the physical exam requires more critical thinking skills and application of knowledge learnt.”

Year Two Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science student JY Tan, who took the Basic Professional Writing examination, stated that she preferred online examinations compared to the physical ones. “Online exams have a longer duration, which is better because we get enough time to think and write our answers properly. In the physical exam setting, however, we have to analyse the questions and think and write faster to meet the time allocated,” she said.

S. Amardeep

Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology student S. Amardeep from Kampar Campus said, “I am a hands-on and practical person and I prefer an interactive learning environment. It is indisputable that e-Learning has become a better way to learn during the pandemic; however, I still choose physical learning as it helps to engage students and improve their concentration and ability to stay on-task in the classroom. On the same note, Amardeep who is taking the physical examination for the first this year also said, “I prefer the traditional setting of invigilated exams in a classroom. Somehow, we slowly need to get back to normal. I feel good to return to campus and meet more students.”

ZN Looi, Faculty of Science student said, “Although I feel nervous to attend my examination physically today. I prefer physical examination over online assessment. I personally feel physical examination is safer and fairer. I feel happy to be back on campus to meet some friends.” She added, “This is my final semester, so I am looking forward to having physical classes with my friends.”

ZL Hoe

“As a result of the pandemic, students have become more inclined towards the digital mode of learning. However, it feels good to be back on campus to attend the physical examination. It actually brings back the memories of taking exams during my Foundation year. It is good to see that the situation is getting better and we are slowly getting back to our normal lives,” said Faculty of Science student ZL Hoe.

Faculty of Business and Finance student JE Liew commented, “Physical examination is still the best option for students in my opinion; it provides a fairer assessment. It gives us, students, a chance to sit and discuss the lesson before the exam starts.” She also added, “It is quite fun to be back on campus after a long time. I am looking forward to having interactive learning sessions with my friends.”

ZH Chong

Centre for Foundation Studies (Kampar Campus) student ZH Chong said, “Physical exams are better than online exams. It gives students the chance to interact, learn and discuss with their friends before they attend the examination. And the best part is we get to do this face-to-face. This is my first time attending an examination physically on campus, so I am very excited.”

MS Cheah

MS Cheah from the Institute of Chinese Studies said, “Although online examinations are open-book tests, they also test our critical thinking skills and we present our answers based on massive resources, within a limited time.” According to him, students unanimously feel that the sense of immediacy is stronger when attending examinations physically.

CW Lee

Another student CW Lee from the Institute of Chinese Studies said, “While online examinations are open-book tests, allowing students to access resources as needed, physical examinations tend to focus more on students’ memorisation ability, mastery of syllabus content and analytical skills.” She added, “I am glad to see that the students are complying with the pandemic prevention SOPs during the physical examinations. I hope the management staff will continue to provide and refill the hand sanitiser, located at the exam halls.”

ZQ Khaw and JJ Wong from the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT), commented, “We feel nervous because this is our first time attending exam physically on campus, but we also feel excited to see our friends again. We read the SOP guidelines in the student portal, so we feel a little relieved about coming for the exam today.” 

ZL Ng and CY Tey from the Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FAS) said, “We are excited to return to campus and happy to be able to experience the uni life again. Although we have not completely transitioned from having online exams to physical exams, it is good to see some familiar faces physically again.” They also said that it is good for students to conduct self-test before the exam but they hope the students will report their results honestly so as not to cause any false panic among students. 

UTAR imposed strict SOPs for students returning to campus for classes, including the examinations. Students had to do the COVID-19 self-test and submit the test results online before coming into campus. Students were also required to queue up before entering the examination hall, following physical distancing. They also have to scan the location QR Code via the hi-hive App before entering the exam venue. Face masks must be worn at all times on campus. In addition to students, all university staff on duty were required to do the RTK-Antigen Test, fill in the health declaration form and submit it before entering the examination hall on campus. For good safety measures, the University also made sure that the examination halls provided adequate space for physical distancing between students and good ventilation to ensure students’ safety. Sanitisation of the exam venues was also done more vigorously during the examination period.

Students taking their examination at the Multipurpose Hall of UTAR Sungai Long Campus

Students in the examination hall at Sungai Long Campus

Students taking their examination at Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik of UTAR Kampar Campus

The Campus is sanitised and cleaned daily

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