I dislike them but i’m not terrified of them per se. I guess its partily because I don’t need/require high marks (a 3.2 CGPA is fine by me), but also because i’m just relearning stuff I already know. As I look over my old tests and notes I realize I can do 2/3 of the stuff already with just a little bit of memory jogging. So I don’t find finals horrible per se since reviewing and remembering info is much much easier than learning it for the first time.
Are there people who view finals like they are taking a test over 4x as much material and study 4x as much?
I always enjoyed finals week when I was in college. Always felt like an extension of vacation, actually, since you didn’t have to go to class at the usual time and you could usually leave early if you finished quickly.
Since I’d made a point of paying attention in class during the semester and studying a little every week, I never really had to bother with all the cramming my friends did–I’d spend finals week sleeping and playing video games mostly.
Of course, there was always the odd class that would stress me out, because of a term paper or a professor with a taste for inflicting exam-related injuries, but those were more of an exception instead of a rule (at least at the undergrad level).
Finals aren’t really worrying me either, even though this is my last semester. In fact, it was the Semester Projects and big essays which worried me more, and now all of those are behind me.
The only class I’m really worried about finals-wise is Victorian Literature. I have to do really well on the Final, because I am not so sure about what I’m getting on the large essay which was 30% of our grade I would rather assume I wrote a horrible essay if that’s what it takes to movitave me to study to get a really good grade on the final. Then again, studying won’t do a whole lot of good if my answers are not written in a way the profesor likes. The midterm freaked me out because I understood all the essay questions and answered them fairly confidently, yet got a ‘C’ on it.
Though even getting a ‘C’ at this point would be a breather; it would be the only ‘C’ of the semester, and I’m getting A’s and B’s in the rest of my classes. In fact, by redoubling my efforts, I should get a letter grade higher in everything compared to what I usually get. Right now I just want to graduate and have all of this behind me.
I’m majoring in Graphic Design, so my finals aren’t tests exactly. They’re usually major art/design projects. They can be a challenge, though, like the one I just did where I had to create three different DVD covers. It’s also rather stressful because this project is worth 500 points.
But it’s also nice because in most of my classes, you just arrive, turn in your project, and then you can leave. Unless you’re not finished, and then you’re pulling out your hair because the printers have decided to stop working at this time and the clock is ticking.
This is my second time around at college. I used to LOATH finals, but that was mainly because I was a HORRIBLE student. I wouldn’t study at all, and come finals week I had to get a certain grade on the final in order to maintain my “C” average.
THIS time around though, I study a lot more through the semester and take better notes. AND, it’s easier for me to do well on the finals. PLUS, since I have a good grade already, even with a bad grade on a final, the lowest grade I could possibly get in the class is usually a B.
They worry me, because I am an extraordinarily forgetful person.
I’ve got a discrete mathematics final tomorrow. Thank heavens that I only need a 66 on it to get an A in the class, but the sad fact is that my notes seem like they were written by a completely different person. Fundamental theorem of arithmetic? Wha? It’s like I never covered this stuff in the first place. And I did well on all of it.
(Well, most of it. My teacher - a french guy - is disturbingly enamoured of rigorous formality. This wouldn’t bother me if he knew how to teach or how to design a test. On the second test the average was a 50% - to which he responded by fashioning a bizzaro-world curve that gave many people worse scores than they started with. Vous etes trop stupides, monsieur professeur; il y a plus de cent gens qui veullent que vou retourniez en France. C’est la facon qu’on enseign, la?)
This is why I make it a duty to do well in my coursework - so I can bomb the final and still get an A. Which I routinely do.
I always thought I had more free time during finals week.
Especially with math classes, if you kept up with doing problems during the semester, there was nothing else you were really going to cram in in the last week.
Conversely, if you didn’t keep up during the semester, a few days of cramming for a math final wasn’t going to do much for you.
Other than that, I took some writing courses, and the occasional required filler like “Psych 101”. Something like that I’d ignore for a semester and then do a little cramming for. . .I didn’t give a shit if I passed or failed anyway.
I’ve always felt that if you were really learning the material as you went along, cumulative finals weren’t such a big deal, especially for cumulative courses where each thing builds on the last one. People who have to go back and diligently study the basic stuff from the first of the semester, ime, tend to fall into two categories. They either never really learned the stuff the first time around, or they’re freaking out unnecessarily. I did this last with my French final my first semester of college. I’d never taken a college final before, and it was a sizable percentage of my grade for a five-hour class, and I had to keep a 3.3 to keep my scholarship, and, and, and…I freaked myself out so badly I got in there and couldn’t conjugate etre correctly. It was horrible. After that I learned my lesson and quit worrying about it so much.
I do. At least this semester. Two previous years of university, I can think of one, maybe two cases where the final actually lowered my mark. This semester I’ve had two exams where I was going in with between and 80-90 and walked out of the exam feeling like I just got between a 50-60.
Partially this is my fault, maybe I didn’t hit the books as hard as I should of. But I went to all the classes, I aced all the assignments, what am I supposed to do when the prof throws questions on a final and this is the first time I’ve seen them?
Today, I had my Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics exam. 5 questions, only one of them was at all similiar to something we’d done in the assignments.
Saturday, I had Soil Mechanics. 7 questions, 2 of them were at all close to the assigments.
I’m totally drained after these two finals, also it didn’t help that they were at 8:30 in the morning and its snowing and freezing. I worked my ass off during this semester to pull off an A average and now I been screwed on these two finals. I’m pissed, but I have no time to worry since I’ve got another exam tomorrow at 3:30.
I was a 4.0 student at least my last three years so I found finals pretty stressing. I used to stay up for 72 hour marathon study sessions to make sure that I did very well. After finals were over, I would crash and sleep for over 24 hours. I took one class with my mentor and the class only had two tests: a mid-term and a final. I did poorly on the mid-term and got a low B. My mentor was furious at me and explained that I would have to get a 100% on the final to get an A in the class and no one had ever gotten over a 93% in all his years of teaching. I studied for that final alone for over 48 hours with no breaks. I got 103% on that test with one long extra credit question and he was no longer mad at me.
I find finals extremely stressful. No matter how well I’m keeping up, there’s always something I’ve fallen behind on. Plus, I don’t know how things worked where you guys went, but my finals are worth anywhere between 40% and 80% of my final mark. There is always more studying that can be done.
THe finals in my lit courses are worth something like 40%. The finals in my Honors courses are worth about 40%-50% as well.
It may a difference in fields, as well. I read all my required literature, I never missed any classes, and I know how to analyze what I read. I imagine that if I were in a major that required a great deal of memorization or huge amounts of applied knowledge, I wouldn’t be so casual about it. But how hard is it to analyze a few poems and a play?
Just got done with 3 hour Pharmacy final. It never fails, about 2 hours in, I get super hungry. So I devoured my snikers I had but was still starving. Imagine a class with 30 students, quiet as hell, and the kid in the back with his stomach growling. Ill be happy when this week is over.
…maybe it’s inherent on a test where the average is a 96, but the standard ways to curve a test are
highest score is curved to a 100%; all scores get the same additive bonus
median score is curved to an arbitrary center-point (sometimes based on the un-curved scores of the grad students); all scores get the same additive bonus, with points beyond 100 marked down for extra credit or dropped
percentile brackets are assigned arbitrarily – top 10% get As, next 20% get Bs, next 30% get Cs, next 20-35% get Ds, bottom feeders get Fs
Unless the purpose of the curve is to normalize the performance gradient when everyone has done unusually well, there’s almost no chance that you’ll lose points on a curve. For example, on a ten-question final, everyone gets the first eight correct and scores between zero and ten points on each of the last two; you might expect that even though your grade is an 82 you won’t even be getting a B. Similarly, an 82 on a test where the mean and median are both below 50 is likely to be an A+.
Organic chemistry at my undergrad school was so difficult that most students took it twice; the characteristic grade curve had two “humps”, and the trick to not having to re-take it was to study with a group that had already taken it. The idea was that you would be more likely to benefit from their experience and end up somewhere on the first hump, which had a mean of about 60, instead of the second, which had a mean of about 40. An overachiever in the latter group (someone who was doing well relative to others seeing the material for the first time) would still get “curved down” due to the presence of veterans.
Depends on what you mean by “curve”. Traditionally, yeah, you’re (somewhat) correct - curves are for fitting the grades on a nice distribution, and if everyone gets an A then a lot of people are going to be disappointed. That’s not inherent, though; if everyone gets a C then somebody with a C is going to get an A. At least, that’s my understanding of the curve.
But I’ve never had a professor grade that way. Curves have always been for correcting too-low averages. The “curve” in question was a formula that assigned a weight to the scores of each of the four questions, Q1 - Q4. Your score out of twenty would be:
4*(.3Q1 + .3Q2 + .3Q3 + .1Q4)
It’s not about fitting the grades to any sort of distribution. It was meant to correct a too-low average due to most people having done most poorly on question four. But people did poorly there because the test was too long - the “curve” punished or assigned points unfairly to anyone who had the good sense to skip over one of the early questions in favor of question 4.
(Frankly, I think I deserved what I got. But lots of people complained to department higher-ups and got the curve changed to something more fair.)