What happens when a power outage interrupts Ukraine's University Entrance Exams?

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Illustrative image

It's University Entrance Exam season in Ukraine, but what happens when power outages caused by Russia's relentless rocket attack attacks affect the more than 600 temporary examination centers across Ukraine?

The main session of the exam - the National Multi-Subject Test (NMT) - is currently underway.

Held for the first time in 2022 as a simplified way to replace independent external exams (known as "ZNO"), the exam serves a similar function as the SATs in the USA.

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What are Ukraine's University Entrance Exams?

This year's graduates must pass four subjects in the exam, three of which are mandatory: Ukrainian language, Ukrainian history, and mathematics. The fourth subject is elective and based on the student's prospective specialty. For example, a student hoping to study at a medical institute would take the section on biology or chemistry.

The Exam takes place in the form of testing (only closed answers) on computers in special temporary examination centers. All subjects are completed in one day and an hour is allocated for each. After the second subject, there is a 20-minute break.

What needs to happen for an exam to be postponed?

Since the Exam is taken on computers, the availability of electricity and an Internet connection is necessary.

The Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment (UCEQA) explained that they are doing everything possible to ensure uninterrupted power to the temporary examination centers. Still, there may be emergency shutdowns, which may interrupt or even end the exam early.

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"It is impossible to predict a schedule for conducting the Exam that would take into account all shutdowns," the UCEQA said.

"This is due, first of all, to the fact that up to 600 temporary examination centers operate simultaneously in Ukraine, which are located in different settlements and in different areas of the same settlements, where shutdowns can occur according to different schedules. Secondly, outages mostly occur in an emergency manner given the current situation in the country's power system. Accordingly, they cannot be predicted or taken into account in a way that would enable timely informing of NMT participants about potential changes in the day or time of testing."

"The use of electric generators in the temporary examination centers also cannot completely solve the problem, because in this case there remains the issue of Internet connectivity, which is as necessary for conducting assessments as the availability of electricity," the UCEQA said.

"In addition, the electric generators available to educational institutions do not always have the power necessary for the proper functioning of the temporary examination centers."

What happens if there is a power outage during the exam?

"If a power outage during the Exam lasts for more than 2.5 hours, graduates will be given the opportunity to retake the exam during an additional session from July 11 to 19," the UCEQA said.

"To do this, you must write a statement and hand it over to the authorized person at the temporary examination center on the day when you failed to complete the Exam the first time."

If there are blackouts during the additional session, an air alarm, or other reasons that prevent the Exam from being held, the UCEQA promises to give graduates another attempt to pass, though they have not specified exactly when.

"The documents regulating the conduct of the Exam provide that a participant can submit an application to participate in an additional testing session if they were unable to write the exam for longer than 2.5 hours due to an air alarm, technical problems, or lack of electricity," the UCEQA said.

"To exercise one's right to participate in an additional session or to wait for the start / continuation / completion of testing during the main session is the choice of each participant."

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine