With only two and a half weeks left in the semester, students are keeping a wary eye on final exams. Unfortunately, despite the clear establishment of final examination times, many professors opt to schedule an exam not during this time, but during the final week of classes. Students in natural science majors may not experience this as often, but in the other two divisions, it is far from uncommon to see a major test occur the day before reading period begins.

The rationale for this is something that can be appreciated – many professors may feel that by scheduling their final exams on the last day of class, instead of during finals, it allows more time for students to study for their other finals more heavily during reading period and finals week. It may also help students get home earlier for break if a final that was scheduled for the 22nd is given on the 13th.

Despite the good intentions, this trend is, sadly, unhelpful: so many professors have adopted this policy that the result is the last Wednesday and Thursday of the term are an exam period unto itself, except shorter and without the luxury of a reading period to prepare.

This clogging of the final class week means students are struggling to pack in studying for several exams that fall on the same day. It means students are exhausted and burnt out entering reading period. Though, theoretically, students suffering from this problem would only have to worry about a couple exams after reading period, this is not the case either; many classes split up large final grades. Language classes, for instance, may have oral finals on Thursday and a written final in the last week. Other classes may require a huge research paper due on Thursday and an actual final during finals week. While this in itself is not necessarily a problem, the result for many is a rough combination of term papers and final exams crammed into classes’ end.

Professors need to utilize finals week and abandon the philosophy of putting finals on the last day of class. Students can be grateful for the thought, but they’d be more grateful going into reading period energetic and unencumbered.

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