Practical tips for studying in Uppsala

Course syllabi

Each course has a syllabus, a formal course document. It states the study level, main study field, grading system, aim, requirements, learning outcomes, content, instructions and examination of the course. The course syllabus can be found under each course at the main University course catalogue.


All courses contain elements of examination. Commonly there is a written exam covering all or most of the course, and minor tests or project presentations. You can ask your course leader for examples of old exams. These will give you an idea of how the exam will be constructed, and you can use them to test your knowledge, but they may not represent the current state of the course syllabus. The exam is not the single determinant of whether you pass the course or not. You also need to pass laboratory work including writing reports and participating in seminars and field courses etc. For more details, please see the syllabus for each course.

Many exams are written anonymously. This means that you must register for the exam via the Student Portal, at least 12 days before the exam. When you do this you will receive a code that you write on your exam instead of your name.

To be able to participate in an examination you have to identify yourself by showing your passport and the letter from the tax office showing your civic registration number or a Swedish ID-card.

The examination starts at the exact time stated in the schedule. If you arrive late, but not more than 30 minutes late, you are still allowed to do the examination. If you arrive later than 30 minutes after the beginning of the examination, you are not allowed to participate. If you start the examination, but after reading the examination questions decide not to take the test, you have to wait 30 minutes before leaving the room. In that case the examination is reported as failed. You can find your examination results as soon as they are reported, if you log on to the Student Portal,

The corrected exams can be collected in the IBG office at EBC, Tuesday and Friday 12:15-13:15 or at BMC A8:1 during office hours. You have to be able to identify yourself. If you are pleased with the marking you can sign the list and take the exam with you. If you want to discuss the marking with the teacher, you ask for a copy instead.

Examination questions

At a university examination in biology in Sweden, you are supposed to show that you have learned facts and models, that you have understood the processes and that you can solve problems using your new knowledge. The most important part is to be able to apply your knowledge and use it to solve problems, using the models and facts that you have learned.

When answering the examination questions, make sure to give answers relevant to the questions. You will not get any points if you write an essay about something that was not asked for. The credit you get for your answer does not reflect how much you have written, but how correct your answer is and if you have covered the whole question.

Your teacher or a teacher assistant will visit each examination a while after it has started to see that all students understand the questions. If you do not understand what the teacher is asking for you may take the opportunity to ask for an explanation.

Grading criteria

Most biology courses at Uppsala University are graded with U (fail), 3, 4 and 5. Grades are given based on the level of understanding a student shows for the course content during the examinations. Grades are never relative. This means that there is no limitation to the number of students that can obtain the different grades on a course, nor are the students ranked within a group. Normally, for a written exam, the grade 3 limit is around 50% of the maximum points. Degree projects are graded only with G (pass) or U (fail).

Grades of examinations and courses are given by the course leader. Course grades are based not only on the written examinations, but also on compulsory course parts such as seminars, written and oral reports, practical abilities, reasoning abilities etc. The grading criteria should be presented to the students at the course start and be available on the course pages in the Student Portal. If you experience problems with the grading, please contact the course leader or the Director of Studies.

Not satisfied with your grading?

If you feel that you have received the wrong grade or that the examinations or grading has been unfair, first turn to your course leader. If you still are not satisfied after discussing with your course leader, you can turn to the grading ombudsman and discuss the matter further. See

<a id="transcript-of-records" name="transcript-of-records"></a>Transcript of records

When you have completed a course, the course leader will report the result and the grades to the IBG administration and your results will be registered in the University’s documentation system.

You can see your results if you log on to There you can print a copy of your records. You can also print an official transcript of records at the Student Portal. If you need a more specialised transcript, please visit the IBG administration: At the EBC contact Eva Damm or Lisa Chytraeus. At the BMC contact Ylva Adolfsson. You can also send an e-mail to and ask for an official transcript of your records to be sent to you. Remember to write your full name, your civic registration number and your address. Your transcript will be sent to you by mail or e-mail within a few days.

Last modified: 2022-12-15