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Relying on the final exam to pass the class

Some UB students use final exam to make up for work missed throughout the semester

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In the next few weeks, UB students will cross their fingers, grab their number two pencils and nervously fill in that dreaded bubble sheet. Every student gets stressed about finals, but some students have more riding on their exams than others.

“I’m relying on the final in order to pass my organic chemistry class,” said Adam Wood, a junior undecided major.

Wood stated that his reliance on the final is partially because he didn’t put as much time into the class this semester as he should have. Some people might blame the student in this situation and say that they should have studied more, but Wood’s reliance on the final in order to pass could also be part of a bigger problem.

Wood’s final is worth thirty percent of his overall grade in the class.

Heavily-weighted finals are nothing new, but just because they’ve been around for a long time doesn’t mean students agree with them.

“When 40, 50, 60 percent of your grade is your final ... I think that’s ridiculously unfair because everyone has their off-day or off-week and if that just so happens to fall on the day you take the final then you’ll fail the class,” said Matt Meek, a junior English major.

As an English major, Meek said that he is evaluated in different means than someone taking science or math classes. Rather than taking finals during finals week, Meek’s finals are due the last week of classes. Most of them consist of papers, which he believes are better at evaluating what a student knows than a test.

Even though he’s not taking classes with traditional test finals this semester, Meek still has experience with them from his general education courses.

Although Meek might be unique for choosing to major in English at a university where many students choose to study the sciences, he is not unique in his negative opinion about heavily weighted finals.

Catherine Cites, a junior occupational therapy major, voiced similar frustration with heavily-weighted finals. Unlike Meek, who believes papers are a better way to go when evaluating students, Cites believes finals are an effective testing tool – she just wishes they weren’t worth as much of student’s grade as they are.

“If [the final] was treated just like any other test I think it wouldn’t be as bad,” said Cites.

While some believe that the real problem is how much finals are worth, others believe that the problem lies not within the test but in the test taker. Ram Bezawada , a professor of marketing, believes that if a student is relying on the final to pass a class, it’s probably because they lacked a diligent work ethic throughout the semester.

Cites agreed with Bezawada, to an extent.

“I think it depends on the person and how much work they’ve put in the entire semester,” she said.

Cites added that a student might be working hard and still partially have to rely on the final, not because of a lack of work ethic but because of the difficulty of the class.

Cites’ suggestion of having the final worth as much as all of the other tests is something some professors take to heart.

“In all of my classes, my exams are weighted the same. I do not drop tests and the final counts just as much as any other exam,” said Wendy Quinton, a psychology professor.

Quinton added that her students rely less on the final when it comes time to take it, most likely because they can’t since it’s worth just as much as all of their other tests.

Regardless of what classes students take, whether they’re heavily weighted or not, every student faces difficulties this time of year.

“A tough business class might be as difficult to a business major as an organic chem class is for me,” Wood said. “It doesn’t matter what major you are, everyone has difficult finals to take.”

John Jacobs is a features staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com.


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