German schoolboy makes freedom of information request asking government to release exam papers

17-year-old Simon Schräder admits that his chances of success are not fantastic

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A German schoolboy has taken trying to skip exam revision to new levels of ingenuity by putting forward a freedom of information request for questions to his exams.

Simon Schräder, 17, asked the education ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia to reveal “the tasks of centrally-made Abitur examinations in the senior classes of high school in the current school year.”

He invoked the state’s freedom of information act on the online political platform fragdenstaat.de, which translates as “ask the state.”

The schoolboy set the ministry the legally permitted one-month deadline, which falls on 21 April, to comply with his request. His first exam, however, is on 16 April.

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Schräder, speaking to the Guardian, said that he was hopeful that he would receive a reply and said: “If they answer in time it might fit for one exam.”

He admitted that he wasn’t overly optimistic at the prospect of receiving the papers he had requested saying: “I did think beforehand that they probably wouldn’t send me the exams.”

A spokeswoman from the ministry acknowledged that the request had been made, confirming that it was being processed and that the deadline would be kept.

Fragdenstaat.de was set up by freedom of speech organisation Open Knowledge to help citizens gain access to public information law.

It says that “requests will be turned down if they would ‘significantly impact the success of an upcoming administrative measure.”

Schräder is studying maths, physics and English and is already working as a web developer.

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