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College exams are changing for the better

College courses are starting to shift their final examinations away from multiple-choice questions; essay exams are the new norm for finals.

Numerous college professors have realized that assessing students based on their knowledge of textbook chapters actually requires very little thinking on a student’s part.

The old standard of memorization as being a sign of intelligence is disappearing, as professors encourage their students to engage in higher-level thinking.

Thankfully, knowledge is no longer measured by whether or not you know the right answer, but if you have a grasp on particular concepts and ideas.

This means that take-home finals are becoming more common and most college exams have essay questions that require multiple pages of writing for responses.

Less frequently do students face final exams with 100 questions, including multiple-choice, true-or-false and short-answer questions. It has become more common for students to have two or three long-format questions for a final exam.

Although this may seem daunting to some students, it is an overall more attractive option because it gives students the opportunity to show their professors what they know.

Predominantly in the social sciences, professors are looking for a student’s ability to think critically and explain his or her reasoning, rather than merely pointing to something he or she read in a textbook.

This shift away from reading and regurgitating information is advantageous because memorizing multiple choice answers is not a reflection of quality learning.

This also provides students who are not good test takers with the opportunity to score more points by showing what they have learned.

Standardized tests, such as the SAT and the GRE, merely look for one correct answer for each question. Thankfully, final exams in college are starting to become less concerned with a right answer and more concerned with understanding, awareness and critical thinking.

A student’s writing ability and knowledge base are important for future success. Thus, examinations that reflect these necessary career skills are beneficial for students.

It seems that final exams are becoming more fair because students are being punished less for not being able to narrow down two answer choices to the one that is more correct of the two.

Finals should not be a time when you panic and pull all-nighters in order to memorize information from your textbooks. Finals should be a time when you demonstrate all you’ve learned and accomplished this semester.

So, to everyone going through the hustle and bustle of finals, I wish you the best of luck. It is crucial to work hard during this last week of the semester, so you can enjoy your summer break knowing that you gave it all you’ve got.

I also extend my warmest congratulations to all of the seniors graduating from FGCU this year. You have all played a role in making FGCU one of the greatest universities, in my opinion, and I wish you the best of luck in your future.

Go out there and show the world what you’ve learned at FGCU, and remember, it’s not about always knowing the right answer. It’s about using your knowledge to support what you believe is the right answer.

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