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Notifications of Illness During Exams

Dear student,

Recently, there have been attempts to avoid bad exam results by subsequently submitting a notification of illness. To clarify the legal situation regarding these matters, the following information is provided in advance by the University’s legal department.

If a student declares that they are unable to take the examination due to illness and would like to withdraw from the examination retrospectively and effectively, they must notify the Examination Board immediately of the reasons for their withdrawal and provide credible evidence. In the ruling, the Federal Administrative Court has set strict standards regarding the immediacy of the withdrawal. This is because retrospective withdrawal based on the inability to participate in an examination particularly affects the principle of equal opportunity, which dominates all examination law. Immediately means without culpable hesitation. The student must be allowed a minimum period of reflection, but this shall be considerably exceeded if a medical certificate is not presented the following day at the latest.

Moreover, the medical certificate that is submitted must have a sufficient level of validity. The Examination Board is not obligated to be satisfied with the mere statement that the student was unable to work or participate in the examination. I would like to quote from the ruling by VG Geißen: “The purpose of the medical certificate is to provide the examination authorities with the necessary information to make their decision. For this purpose, it should provide the full medical history of the patient, a precise indication of the examination methods used, the examination results obtained and the conclusions from the patient’s medical history and examination results in a comprehensible manner.”

As of the 2014/2015 winter semester, the Department of Physics will proceed as follows:

  1. For an effective retrospective withdrawal from an examination, the certificate must be received by the Examinations Office (Renthof 6, room 00012) no later than the day after notification of the illness. It shall be filed here. The lecturers shall not accept a certificate.
  2. The Chair of the Examination Board shall examine the certificate and accept or reject it. In the event of rejection, the candidate shall receive written notification. The result of the examination shall be communicated to the lecturer without stating the reasons for the illness.

This measure does not affect cases in which a candidate withdraws in due time before the examination.

signed, Prof Florian Gebhard
Chair of the Department of Physics Examination Board
October 2014