A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
If you’re going to study a master’s in Leiden there’s something you should know. Though not all courses do it, mine certainly does; the dreaded Thesis exam (otherwise known as the ‘interrogation’). Once you hand in your thesis and it has been marked, in order to graduate you must sit the thesis exam which can vary in content between courses. Having sat through one last year as part of the audience I was fairly well prepared for mine. I had to conduct a presentation on my thesis, explaining it thoroughly to my tutor and the second marker. Once that part was over the questions began. It is important to remember that they don’t actually want to trip you up, they want you to pass! However, this doesn’t make the exam any less daunting.
Sometimes (as I was) you will be asked to read 200 pages of literature on which you will also be tested if your thesis doesn’t require much of a grilling. This is actually the part that I was more nervous about. Having spent a very long time writing about my topic I knew it rather thoroughly and had already received a good mark so I was quite confident on that front. But the reading was another matter because I had no idea how thoroughly they would question me on it. Luckily it was quite an interesting book and I managed to read it in the week in which I had to do so (despite having a full time job and other commitments).
I passed with flying colours, and so can you! Just remember that they do want you to pass and that you can have as many of your friends and family come to watch and give you moral support (and buy you presents) as you want. Don’t forget to sign your name on the wall; you’ll find me just above the radiator!