Exam Changes: Exams vs. Final Projects

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An example of a student final project

-by Caroline MacGillivray- January follows a bit of a formula when I take five sit-down exams. For the first two weeks of January, I have to balance content from the beginning of the semester with the remaining new material. By the time Martin Luther King weekend rolls around, I am so physically anxious that I can only consume bread and water. After three days in a trance of writing, writing, and writing some more, I am so exhausted that I can barely remember the questions on the exams by the time I get them back the following Tuesday. My freshman finals were so scarring that I have retired the outfits that I wore to take those exams.

This semester’s exams were my first experiences with final projects. Instead of having weeks of work compressed into two hours of messy handwriting and stress-related hives, all the exertion comes to fruition in a final project. You set your own timetable, and by the time the deadline arrives–less ceremoniously than you would imagine–a project can be exactly the way you want it to be. Some can be bothered by the time a final project can consume. As Maddy Batt ’15 said, “I spend much more time working on a final project than I would spend studying for an exam.” But, studying for a sit down final can feel like an open drain. You can never do enough; you are never finished. Final projects have a greater return on your investment of time, no hive cream required.

Image courtesy of Caroline MacGillivray