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Old 12-13-2004, 06:49 AM   #1
Huker
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Canada
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Final Exams

Hey everyone.

I was just wondering if there was a single good reason for final exams in university/college/anywhere else. I just mean to ask, what is the logic behind their very existence. Is it to ensure that we've learned the course material?? If so, why am I cramming my head with tons of useless information that I couldn't possibly remember the next day? Is it to teach us how to deal with stress?? If so, why not make us do projects that we might find in our field?? Is it to teach us discipline, give us better character, turn us into more efficient robots, what?? I just don't understand why I am up until 2am, up at 7 or 8 am, studying for 10 hours a day, eating fast meals, and not training in Aikido for 2 weeks.

Anyone feel like participating exam rant??

Also, another reason I don't think has been discussed enough is whether or not aikido is practical in the real world. You see, a friend of mine...

The system is down!!
Later
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Old 12-13-2004, 10:18 AM   #2
Caitlyn Raggio
Location: Boulder, CO
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Re: Final Exams

I share your frustration with final exams. I just survived my biology final (don't know if I'll survuve the grading...*nervous laugh*). I think that finals are in part a way to ensure that/intimidate students iso that they'll attend lectures. If you aren't in lecture, you won't know the material for the final and you'll flunk. However, I've observed that the people who don't come to class are the same sort that won't really care what their final grade is. What a waste.
Since in most university situations (especially entry-level classes in which there are 400 students, one professor, and a handful of TAs) it is impossible for each student to be individually evaluated in a way that 'tests' their comprehension of the material as opposed to their regurgitation-of-info skills, a comprehensive, multiple-choice exam that can be scanned so grades can get into the system asap is the only feasable way to do it. It sucks, especially if (like me) one is better at essay or short-answer tests than multiple choice, but with the universities the way they are, there's no other way to do it.
As for the cramming one's head with tons of useless information that can't be remembered past the test, I totally agree. Why do we have to remember formulas?! It's not as if they're obscure or anything; a scientist can look them up easily if they are needed. I am convinced that that's pure sadism from the professors. I can just see them rubbing their hands together and giggling maniacally as they watch the helpless students sweating over tests in which a sequence of 10 questions hangs on the recollection of one stupid formula. Grrr...
My favorite 'final' for this semester was the one for a class I took on the acquisition of knowledge. it was a 10 page-ish essay on how or if anything that had happened in the semester, in or out of the class, had affected how we percieved and gained knowledge. That was fun because it was an informal essay, it was a small class so we could have peer reviews and input, and a whole section was about what I've learned from Aikido about knowledge (I started training at the beginning of the semester). And I'm really into this epistomology stuff.
I thin that essay tests make more sense in general (especially as opposed to multi-choice), but they take more time and effort on behalf of the teacher to grade. So, here again we see the split between efficience and quality.
That's what I have to say on the subject. Not really a 'rant', but after the International Baccalaureate exams last spring (cumulative exams in 6 subjects covering material taught over the past 2 years....yeah, real fun), I'm really all test ranted out!
Good luck with the rest of your finals, if you have any more!
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Old 12-13-2004, 10:20 AM   #3
JayRhone
Location: St. George, UT
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Re: Final Exams

Heheheh. This semester I have one class and never went. My final in Chem 2 tomorrow is optional so I don't really have to worry bout it. Just do what I did. Drop your classes and don't go to the one you do keep. But last semester and the one before that. I was exactly where you are bud. Just put in the time and take it. Remember no matter what happens 24 hours from now will still be 24 hours from now, if you've taken the test or not. Time stops for no man. So just relax, enjoy the college life and just do your best. Why? Why do those horrible people we call doctors and professors give us these horrid exams? Phh, ask them. Me? I think they do it just cause they want to see if you know what you learned in the semester. Any other reason beside that? I dunno. Maybe they were beaten as children and want to get back at you. Why, cause they teach college. Wouldn't you want to give those annoying kids some payback too? =0)
Latrz -Jay

Be the water, not the rock
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Old 12-13-2004, 03:32 PM   #4
bryce_montgomery
 
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Re: Final Exams

Well...you have to admit, though it may be sadistic, that it's funny to see others suffer. We see it on the television and on the Internet, we see it everywhere. This being said, would you not agree that administering an impossibly hard exam that you know only a handful of your students are going to remotely pass, and seeing the frustration and panic induced hysteria from your class would be somewhat funny?...I mean, it's the only fun thing that professors get to do. Or, if you are lucky enough to get the one professor that is the nicest person in the world, yet gives the hardest mf-tests you've ever seen, then it doesn't make any sense...but that is exactly why you spent those 13 years in public school...to continue the pure crap that you find throughout life...
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Old 12-13-2004, 09:01 PM   #5
MitchMZ
Dojo: Prairie-Aikikai
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Re: Final Exams

Just got my final grade in anthropology...got a B on the final. Did I mention all I did was about 30 minutes of studying? lol. I'm so bad about not studying...but whenever I study I do bad.
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Old 12-13-2004, 09:51 PM   #6
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Final Exams

Of course...in exams you have it easy.

You only have to get a passing mark (60%? 80% whatever). In real life you have to make your stuff work all the time. Get ready to find out what real work is all about

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 12-13-2004, 11:34 PM   #7
Huker
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Re: Final Exams

Yeah, I hear you Mike, but the trouble is that I've had a total of four courses where I've actually had to think my way through anything, two of which were so punishing that I didn't do so well. Most of my present classes are completely memory-based. Once I was done with chemistry and math, there was nothing left for me to mentally chew on...now it is all regurgitation Don't get me wrong, I can think and logically solve a problem, but how complex can I go?? It would be nice to know that I'm going to leave this university with a degree and actually know how to apply it as I wish.

I find the rest of everyone's comments interesting. I was just wondering if anyone could come up with a rock-solid reason for final exams as a concept in themselves. The only one that I can think of is that the prof's are trying to teach you how to cram knowledge into your head in a short amount of time, but that's not so rock-solid. Most of my courses have online notes, so its not a lecture thing for me. It couldn't be a mental application thing because so much in so little time is just impractical. There are better ways to fill up that last 40% of a course, such as with projects or experiments or essays, which would train you in your field much better. I just don't understand why they exist other than to turn everyone's world upside down, students and profs, included.

Of course, I'm still going to write them because I payed for the course and I doubt they'll pass me if I tell them that I didn't write the exam because I didn't see the practicality behind it.

But anyways, I have an exam tomorrow, so I must go...

Osu!
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Old 12-13-2004, 11:39 PM   #8
Huker
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Re: Final Exams

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I managed to answer my own question. The correct answer is:

Who gives a ****!!
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Old 12-13-2004, 11:43 PM   #9
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Final Exams

Tanner...are you at Mac?

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 12-14-2004, 12:27 AM   #10
xuzen
 
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Re: Final Exams

Tanner,

I guess final exam is used as a gauge to see how a candidate work in a stressful environment (e.g. time constraint). In real life it is the same... we have to solve a problem within a specific time frame.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 12-14-2004, 06:22 AM   #11
Huker
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Canada
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Re: Final Exams

Yes, I am at Mac. Shh...don't tell anybody though

I guess exams could be another form of short-term project to test our abilities. But, that could also be done during the year. A friend of mine has a girlfriend in advertising graphic design and she doesn't actually have any exams...all projects instead. What she is doing just seems that much more practical to me because she is really applying her knowledge to something she might do in her field. I definitely do not plan to write many huge tests in a short period once I'm done school...not a chance.
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Old 12-14-2004, 10:00 AM   #12
Thomas Ambrose
 
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Re: Final Exams

Yeah, I don't like exams much either... but I am at the point in my college career (7 years) that I have figured out the "pattern." Study just enough to get just the grade I want. I am a big fan of alternative assessments, you know, term papers, projects, things like that to show you know the material besides the pencil-and -paper traditional exams.

Ahh well, best of luck to all of you who still have some remaining this term!
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:29 PM   #13
pezalinski
 
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Re: Final Exams

The whole pupose of an exam is to act as a gateway to the next "level" of information -- "if you know enough to squeeze through this gate, maybe we can teach you something more." And that's all it ever really is. At the end of your course load, it might be possible to come up with a portfolio - type grading criteria that would give proof to your abilities as acquired to attain your degree. But no one in the real world will really care about the contents of your portfolio as long as it exists -- that and the than the fact that you graduated, and have a degree in something they are interested in using as a screening critera for some form of employment.

Another way to look at it: It's another hoop -- leap through it with as much style as you can muster, and maybe someone will raise another hoop for you to jump through... That's all we can hope for, unless we just want to hold hoops for others -- which still requires some kind of performance, doesn't it? Ditto for holding your own hoop.
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