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Non-binding Exams

Example of an academic transcript
Example of a transcript of records

On this website you will find information about the regulations for non-binding exams at the University of Potsdam. A distinction must be made between non-binding exams for the first semester of study and/or non-binding exams in case of failed exams and for grade improvement.

Non-binding exam for the first semester of study

Beginning your university studies is connected with a number of new challenges. The University of Potsdam acknowledges the difficulties that come with having to orient oneself in an unfamiliar environment. This acknowledgment is reflected in the general Course and Examination Rules and Regulations: Since 2009 these rules include a provision on non-binding exams in your first semester of study in non-teaching oriented and teaching oriented Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs of study (BAMA-O and BAMALA-O).

There you will find the following statement: “(1) Examinations that are taken in the first regular semester of study and that are failed at their first attempt, are disregarded.” (see for example BAMA-O 2013, § 13.)

What does this mean specifically?

If you take an exam in your first regular semester of study, and you do not pass this exam at the first try, we will treat this exam as if you had never taken it. This means that all available examination attempts for this exam are open to you again.

What do I have to do?

You don’t have to do anything to make use of this non-binding exam option, i.e. you do not have to submit an application or an explanation. However, you should check your transcript of records to see whether the non-binding exam was registered as such. In case your transcript of records does not reflect the non-binding exam by the deadline provided in the next section, you should contact the Examination Office.

How is this option implemented?

The exam management system registers the non-binding exam automatically, but only 10 weeks after the submission of your grade. This stipulated period is necessary for a possible review of the relevant assessment materials that is called for in the rules and regulations. Therefore you will not see the registration of the non-binding exam until 10 weeks after the submission of your grade. To see this record, please access PULS and open“my student record” (meine Leistungen) or view your transcript. In case you have retaken the exam in the meantime, the number of attempts will be adjusted automatically.

Example of an academic transcript
Example of a transcript of records

Non-binding exam in case of failed exams and for grade improvement

In addition to the non-binding exams for students in their first semester of study, § 13 (3) BAMA-O or BAMALA-O grants departments the right to regulate other non-binding exam options in their program-specific rules and regulations. Thus, the program-specific rules and regulations applicable to your field of study will state whether or not your department or program permits additional non-binding exams. Thus, BAMA-O or BAMALA-O are not the sole legal foundations for non-binding exams.

What does that mean specifically?

Here too, “non-binding exam” means that you are granted an additional attempt in a module exam or module component exam. However, the exam must have been taken during the standard period of study. The specific rules on non-binding exams must be stated in the program-specific rules and regulations.

Please note: If no specifications are made about non-binding exams, then non-binding exams are not allowed!

If the program-specific rules and regulations include specifications on non-binding exams, the number of times you can retake an exam is also limited. The specific number of permitted attempts can be found in the effective program-specific rules and regulations. Furthermore, the program-specific rules and regulations state if you can use the non-binding exam option to receive an additional opportunity to retake a failed exam and/or to improve your grade.

Using a non-binding exam to improve your grade:

  • You have taken and passed an exam, but you are not satisfied with your grade and would like to retake the exam in order to improve your grade.
  • You receive an additional examination attempt for the applicable module.
  • After the retaken exam is graded, the better grade becomes the valid grade.

Using the non-binding exam option for failed exams:

  • You have failed an exam. This failed exam is disregarded.
  • You receive an additional examination attempt for the applicable module.
  • As long as you have taken the exam within the standard period of study and if there are no limiting regulations in the program-specific rules and regulations, you can either apply the non-binding exam option after the first failure of the exam or after failing your regular second examination attempt.

Only one non-binding exam can be applied per module, i.e. you may only make use of one grade improvement or an additional examination attempt per module. Thus, if you have used your non-binding exam option for a failed exam in a module, you may not use another non-binding exam option to improve your grade. However, the regular number of repeat examination attempts is still available to you.

The program-specific rules and regulations may also limit the non-binding exam option to certain modules. If there are no limiting regulations, then you may choose freely for which module you would like to use the non-binding exam option.

Please note that the non-binding exam option applies to all exams (except for the final thesis), even for module component examinations. In case the exam consist of module component examinations, the non-binding exam option counts only towards the applicable component examinations, but it still uses up one free examination attempt.

You may only register a non-binding exam if you are within the standard period of study.

How and where do I register a non-binding exam?

Non-binding exams for failed exams and for grade improvement are administrated by the Examination Office. To register your non-binding exam, please use only the form "non-binding exam" (PDF).

Please submit the completed form to the Examination Office (during office hours, by mail, or into the office mailbox) no later than 14 calendar days after the announcement of your examination results.

Please note the cutoff period for the registration. The announcement of the grade equals the date of the entry of the grade into the campus management system (PULS).

How do I register for my exam after registering the non-binding exam?

The registration for a repeat examination after taking the non-binding exam option must be done by accessing PULS if your course of studies is supervised by the PULS system. In case your course of studies requires registration by lists, you have to re-register the examination by lists.

In short, registration follows the regular registration procedure.

Do I have to do anything once the result of my retaken exam is announced?

If you have requested the non-binding exam option to improve your grade, and if you have achieved a higher grade in the retaken exam, the higher grade is applied automatically.

In case your grade is lower than expected, we kindly ask for your cooperation by contacting the Examination Office.

Your transcript of records will reflect your application of the non-binding exam.

* A variation of the non-binding exam option exists, if the rules and regulations you are studying are based on a completion points system (Belegpunktesystem). In your first semester of regular study, no enrollment points are deducted, but you can still earn credits.