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Why We Should Prefer In-Class Exams

When I started my first-ever college class, I found out that I had a take-home exam in my 19th Century European History course.

In high school, I never got to take my exams home with me, so I was really looking forward to being able to take my time with an exam for once, and not having to rush through it like I normally do.

It wasn’t due until the next week, so I put it off for a while. After some typical procrastination, I finally looked at the sheet for the paper again.

Much to my surprise, I learned I had to use quotes from the books that we had been reading for class, and use the Chicago/Turabian citation format.

Never in my life had I even heard of the Chicago/Turabian style, let alone learn to use it. I was so dumbfounded at this point that I decided the best thing to do was to simply put the assignment off more. I am the typical college student.

I was able to put it off until, as I, and many other students, are prone to do, the night before it was due.

That day, I slowly started working through the exam and I came to realize two things about the work: it was really tedious finding quotes, and that the topic I was given to work with was very broad.

By broad I mean it required many, many different quotes and ideas to prove my point. It was at this moment, way too late in the game, that I realized I had made a horrible mistake, and I would be working for a very long time.

There I was in the library at 1 A.M., furiously searching the three books in front of me for quotes while making minimal progress.

I eventually finished the next day before it was due. Exhausted from lack of sleep and unsatisfied with my work, I felt defeated.

It was at this point I had a revelation: I actually prefer exams in the classroom.

Taking home an exam puts way more pressure on the than a regular exam. Whereas a regular exam can take one class period, a take home exam can be given out a week in advance.

This gives more stress to the student because they have to think over the question for a longer period of time instead of simply doing it in two hours.

The only practical reason for a take-home exam would be to compensate for lack of time or studying, but I don’t think this is enough for people to give them out. It creates unnecessary stress for what could be done in just one class period.

Not everyone feels this way, however. A study done on Educational Innovation in Economics and Business classes showed that 72 percent of students found take-home exams less stressful that classroom exams.

This suggests that there are two types of people: those that can memorize facts, ideas, and easily put them on paper in an allotted time, and those that are not procrastinators and use the time efficiently.

It simply fits my style more to review the material, and then go into the classroom and write within a fixed period of time. Plus, on regular exams, I don’t have to worry about looking through a thick book for the quotes, or making footnotes in Chicago/ Turabian style.

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Why We Should Prefer In-Class Exams