The University of Wollongong’s Law School has decided to return to traditional paper-based exams this Spring 2023 session, reversing a three-year stint of online assessments.

The move is attributed to the requirements set forth by the Legal Profession Admission Board (LPAB), which oversees the accreditation of legal professionals in the region.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many educational institutions worldwide have adopted online examination methods as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of students and staff.

Expressing concerns, fourth-year law student Aidan Naine highlighted the apprehension felt by students grappling with the return to pen-and-paper exams and the elevated pressure of in-person assessments during the university’s decision.

“Honestly, I was a little bit scared when I heard about it,” she said 

“The fact that, like especially for me and my cohort, we haven’t ever done paper exams for uni, so for us, it’s been three years now since we’ve done paper exams at high school.

“We haven’t really done it at all, even for mid-sems and just classes in general.”

Nonetheless, the LPAB has stipulated paper-based exams are a requirement for accreditation as it will ensure that future lawyers are well-prepared to meet the industry’s standards.

Seminar Leader at the University of Wollongong’s Law School, Candice Visser has addressed the challenge that this shift has caused.

“I think considering that a lot of students haven’t done paper-based exams for quite some time in the context of the COVID pandemic, it’s been a challenge,” she said.

“And I do think that students are feeling generally unprepared but we are doing our best to assist with that.

“Talking a lot about the exams and different strategies for doing a paper-based exam is also helpful.”

Despite the uncertainty sparked by the shift to paper-based exams, the university is taking steps to facilitate the transition by offering mock paper-based exams, additional study resources, and counselling services to support students in adapting to the changed assessment methods.

The aim is to ensure that the students’ academic performance is not negatively affected.