Commentary

The better testing utensil

  • by , December 14, 2010

Finals week is never fun. In fact, it is probably the most stressful, hectic week of the semester.

Taking six or seven classes always seems appealing when I register for classes because it means that I am getting a lot of classes out of the way. Once finals week rolls around and there are six extremely important exams to take in a few short days, it doesn’t seem so great.

But it actually isn’t the number of tests that bothers me—it’s the type of tests.

Some of my larger classes have tests that are taken on the computer. We sign up for a testing time online and go to a proctored computer lab on campus to take the test.

When I first heard about these tests, I was convinced that I would like them for a couple of reasons:

1. I could take the test whenever I felt prepared
2. My test would be graded right away, so I would know how I did
3. All questions would be multiple choice
4. These tests would be easier (I figured this because of #3)

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But after taking countless tests in a proctored computer lab, I would say that I prefer traditional written tests. I can’t put my finger on any single reason for this, but I feel more comfortable with a pen in my hand.

I never noticed it before, but I constantly mark the page when I am taking a test on paper. I put an “X” next to answers that I know are incorrect and underline words that might affect whether a certain answer choice is right or not. It just feels more natural to take an exam while sitting in a classroom desk with a piece of paper and a pencil.

Some things aren’t meant to be online.

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