When it comes to finals, exams are not only a classic way to test students but are superior to final projects or papers when it comes to the preparation process.
As finals season inches its way closer, there tends to be a lot of complaining and hair-pulling here at Kennesaw State. We’ve all wondered from time to time how nice it would be if we just didn’t have to take final exams ― or how maybe a final project or paper would be easier instead.
Daydreams don’t earn degrees, however. Finals are a necessary evil on the path to graduation.
While I’m just as tired of filling out Scantrons and breaking perfectly-sharpened pencils too soon, exams often aren’t as awful as we make them out to be.
For starters, exams have the advantage of singular deadlines ― study, show up, scribble on a paper and go home. Final papers and projects can require at least a month of work in advance to make a solid grade. Even then, one may have to change directions, start over or they simply underestimate how long it takes to complete.
Preparing for exams is fairly simple, too. While studying might make people want to claw their eyes out after an hour, it’s doable just about anywhere and anytime when provided with the right materials and some noise-canceling headphones.
Final exams give professors more control over what students learn in the class. With final exams, professors direct us toward the information they think is important.
The New York Times says frequent testing is shown to help cement information into memory and aid in recalling information in the future.
While projects and papers encourage us to dive deep into an idea, exams ensure that we hit all the highlights of the course.
When professors make study guides for the exam, they are both aiding us in our preparation process and reminding us what information they want us to be thinking about when we take off between semesters. It forces us to engage with the spectrum of ideas and information rather than focusing on a single task.
In the end, exams are rarely as bad as we expect them to be if we put in the study hours. Taking a test is like ripping off a Band-Aid — it’s over fast — and the grading process is generally swifter than waiting for a paper or portfolio. They may not be fun, but I’ll take an exam over a semester-long project just about any day.