One Final Down, Three to Go
So far I have managed to get through one of my four finals this semester, and I have to say it was much different than taking a final in the states. Here, they are much stricter about what you are allowed to take into the exam and the guidelines for while you are taking the exam. Unlike at Bucknell, where they seem to put more responsibility on the students to uphold academic standards and refrain from cheating, they seem to assume that students cannot be trusted and have extremely strict policies for final exams. This may be due to the fact that finals are worth the majority of the marks for a course here (sometimes upwards of 50%).
Before going to an exam many courses that require the use of a calculator also require you to get the calculator approved prior to the exam. This prevents students from using programmable calculators that can store data. Another difference is that students are assigned seats for the exam. When you enter the room you are handed a card that corresponds to your exact seat. You then put your seat number on all pages of your exam. My guess is that they may use this to check if you cheated off other students seated near to you. If you bring any items other than pens, pencils, erasers, or other necessary things, you must leave them at the front of the room when you arrive to the exam. If you have a cell phone or car keys you must put them in a clear Ziploc bag and put them under your chair. During the exam, there are multiple proctors (my last exam had 3) that wander the room and monitor students during the exam. You are not allowed to leave the exam room during the first hour of the test or during the last 15 minutes. Then if you do wish to leave at any other time, perhaps to use the bathroom, you must leave your student ID with a proctor, empty your pockets, and then proceed to be escorted to the bathroom by another proctor. Overall the exam atmosphere is much stricter and very different from what I am used to in the states!
The actual exams also differ from those in the states. Back at Bucknell most of my finals are cumulative whereas here most of my finals only cover the material taught after the last midterm. This makes studying a little easier as there is less material covered on the exam.