Sweden set to cancel university entry exam for second time due to coronavirus

Sweden set to cancel university entry exam for second time due to coronavirus
Around 100,000 people wanted to sit the university entry test in October. File photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT
A Swedish exam that’s used by thousands of students every year as one of several possible ways of getting into university will be cancelled this autumn, to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Every year, tens of thousands sit the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT, högskoleprovet). The exam is not compulsory, but students can use their results to help them get into university.

It was cancelled last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is now set to be cancelled again, with the formal decision coming on Friday. The Education Minister said it's likely there will be two exams in spring 2021 instead.

The move to cancel the exam comes after consultation with the universities responsible for carrying out the tests, and the body responsible for organising the exams recommending their cancellation.

“Carrying out this autumn’s Scholastic Aptitude Tests would entail an increased risk of spreading the coronavirus. The Swedish Council for Higher Education’s conclusion, in a report presented to the government today, is therefore that the exam should not be held this autumn,” said the Swedish Council for Higher Education in a statement on Thursday, after the government asked it to look into whether or not it would be possible to hold the exam in a safe way.

“The opportunities to protect test participants and staff are small,” it said.

The council said the main problem was logistics, not cost.

It said that it expected almost 100,000 people would have wanted to sit the exam in October, but in order to meet the Public Health Agency’s rules on no public events of more than 50 people, Stockholm University (for example) would have required more than 2,300 venues and 4,200 exam invigilators and other staff, compared to the usual 595 exam venues and 900 staff.

This spring, many universities switched to distance learning, with most offering a combination of on-site and remote teaching for the autumn term. But the university exam, held at the same time across the country with thousands of participants, would require a lot of people to be in the same locations simultaneously. 

Vocabulary

to cancel — att ställa in

test — (ett) prov

to spread — att sprida

to protect — att skydda

teaching — (en) undervisning


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