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Elective final exams would alleviate stress

I was sitting in the bathroom at Offenhauer wondering how they managed to put all those little tiles on the walls, ceiling, floor etc, when a thought occurred to me.

If I got decent grades through the semester, why do I have to prove that I know all over again in a final exam?

It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

I propose that finals should be optional.

By this I mean, if you choose not to take it, your grade won’t be affected at all and you can move on with your life.

If you’re at risk of failing, then you should probably think about taking the final and trying to salvage your grade.

If there’s no hope, and even an A on the exam still wouldn’t make that F disappear from the transcript, there’s not even a point in taking the exam.

Because no matter how well you do, an F would still go down on the transcript as an F, there is no F- , a 54 percent might as well be 4 percent in terms of GPA.

Exams should only affect a student’s grade if they want to take the exam, because their grade could improve or even if they just like the smell of number two pencils. It should be up to the students.

What are finals for?

I thought about that for about 20 minutes, and just before giving myself a massive headache, I came up with this.

They just want to make sure we were paying attention in class, that we understand the material – or most of it. Is a decent semester grade not enough?

If professors maintain finals are not optional for everyone, then perhaps students could take them based on their grades going into the final.

Students with an above average grade in the class shouldn’t have to take the final. If a student already has a decent grade, they clearly understood the course material, and the exam would only force them to review material they already understand.

Studying for a final in a class they have an A or B in would just take time away from their other exams in classes they may not be doing so well in.

Don’t you just love how you’ll get three take home exams over one weekend, all of them passed out on the Friday and due on the Monday – an addition to finding time to cram for two other exams on the Monday? Nope, of course you don’t.

Face it; you’re only going to have so much time available for studying, and the more time you spend time reviewing for one will effect how you do on every other exam you’re taking.

Lastly, do you ever retain what you learn by studying for an exam? If you were given an exam you took last semester right this second – do you think you’re grade would be higher or lower than what you got originally? Your grade would probably be lower. Why?

Because in all likeliness, you’re only goal for the final is memorize all the course material.

After the exam is over, you dump the information out of your head like it was never there, replacing it with a laundry list of things. It just disappears in a heartbeat.

You know it, I know it, and our professors probably should know it. Sure, you’ll remember the gist of what you learned.

If you have an A or a B in a class – you already have a good grasp of the information, so why even bother going through the process of memorizing more information only to forget it.

Unless the final is a writing test – which I’m all for because they only really test to see if you understood the bigger picture of what the course was teaching you – not the stupid little details that make perfect multiple choice questions.

One last thing, all the graphite you scribble onto those scantron sheets can make your hands filthy – and that just plain sucks.

Send comments to Andrew at [email protected].

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