Record number of students take university entrance exams amid Covid-19 safety measures
39,094 students start 4-day exam marathon following a one-month delay
A record number of students in Catalonia are taking the university entrance exams amid unprecedented safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 following a one-month delay.
The dramatic increase in coronavirus infections put the semester on hold last March. For the 39,094 students taking the ‘selectivitat’ or PAU exam marathon from Tuesday to Friday, this meant facing the most consequential exams in their lives after more than three months studying from home.
Social distancing requirements meant that universities lacked enough space to house all students taking the tests, and some high schools were required to open too.
Moreover, the traditionally 3-day long exam marathon will last an extra day.
The record number of students who signed up for selectivitat exams this year (up by 5,400) is also due to high schools being more lenient when deciding who is ready to take the exams, as not all students enjoyed the same conditions at home.
This represented a 12.5% increase in the number of students who got their high school diploma.
"Studying on your own from home is way more complicated than being in class with a teacher"
Ana Pérez · High school student
"Studying on your own from home is way more complicated than being in class with a teacher," said Ana Pérez, a student taking her exams in the seaside town of Roses, in Northern Catalonia.
Yet others believed that they benefited from taking the PAU exams a month later than originally scheduled. "Since I need a high grade, it’s good that I had more time to study. We normally had three weeks. We’ve had a month and a week. But otherwise, we’d be enjoying summer, and here we are," said Laura Niubó, from Lleida.