New finals schedule benefits some but hurts more
Last week the registrar announced the new schedule for all final exams which starts this semester. Previous finals weeks were organized so that exams were given the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of finals week. Exams were also given the following Monday, with make-up examinations on the following Tuesday.
While exams will still be given the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of finals week, Saturday has been made into a reading day with the last examination period being moved to Sunday and make-up exams given the following Monday. This change is beneficial for students wishing to get that extra day out of their vacation. This is particularly true for students with few exams, but who must wait until the second week of final exams for the administration of their tests.
However, there is a major drawback to this shift, which has the potential to affect a large portion of the student body.
Students with a large number of final exams may feel the added pressure of exams squeezed tighter into a shorter exam period. These students will have fewer days between the first and second round of examinations to review a semester’s worth of material for classes on any given exam day.
Though, ideally, studying for exams in the second phase of finals week should begin long before the weekend prior to the exam, this is not always feasible for students at Carnegie Mellon.
Having the weekend before this second period can be a critical preparation time for students swamped with exams. This is particularly true when one considers that many of the students with the largest number of final exams, due to general education requirements, are first-years and sophomores who are still developing their time management skills.
The email from the registrar cited that the changes were made so that make-up exams could be more easily scheduled. While some people will certainly benefit from being able to leave a day earlier or having an easier time scheduling make-up exams, the change seems a small reward from creating a stressful situation for other students.
As final exams near, The Tartan hopes the university will continue to monitor student feedback regarding the final exam schedule change. Dependent upon feedback, the university may wish to revisit the schedule for the 2016-17 academic year, for which the university has only released a tentative calendar, rather than a proposed (2015-16) or official (2014-15) calendar.