It is a safe assumption to say the next two weeks are going to be an uncontrollable frenzy of cramming and stress for all students on campus.
Finals week is upon us, and as a student in the College of Science and Engineering, I can say this is the worst week of the semester.
I am convinced, after taking a beating from tests all semester, that cumulative final exams are wonderfully pointless.
First of all, there is not enough time to adequately study for every final exam. Due to the fact that exams from every class are inserted into the same week, students often spend only a couple of days in advance studying for a single exam, which spans material from the entire semester.
Secondly, there is a significant increase in the amount of stress involved with final exams. Most are weighted more than any other grade throughout the semester, levying more worry and anxiety on students.
Combine the decreased study time and increased expectations of outstanding performance, and it is an almost lethal combination.
Finally, if we are given tests throughout the course of the semester, is that not enough to test our knowledge of the course material? One final “going away present” of a test contains material that students have already been tested over seems like a little bit of overkill and a huge waste of time, especially when it counts for so much of the overall grade.
The obvious solution to this problem is to adopt a strategy which several medical schools currently employ: teach a unit of material in x number of weeks, then give a test over it, and move on. That way, students can focus on the material at hand, and not be forced to worry about minor details they have already been tested over weeks or months before.
It is naive to think the cumulative final exam will be going away, but if it is going to stay around, professors could at least give study guides out weeks in advance instead of the standard couple of study days.
Shane Rainey is a sophomore chemistry major from Fort Worth.