OPINION | Tulane students should be thinking about final exams

Phoebe Hurwitz, Views Editor

(Will Embree)

After a variety of challenges over the past several semesters — including the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida — Tulane University students will resume a normal exam schedule this spring. 

This semester, students will have a six-day exam period following two allotted study days. Most exams this semester will likely take place on campus, a change from previous semesters when some exams were online due to COVID-19 or other university closures. 

The university provides a two-day study period between the last day of classes and the first day of exams. During this two-day study period, regularly scheduled classes no longer meet and students have this short time off to prepare for their final exams. 

This semester, the last day of classes is Wednesday, May 4. Exams begin on Saturday, May 7, continuing through Thursday, May 12. 

For some students the two-day prep period may be insufficient, particularly if professors are teaching new material up through the final day of scheduled classes. 

Moreover, with exams beginning on a Saturday, students are not afforded much — if any — rest time. In fact, with only a two-day turnaround to review new information and prepare, most students will likely spend the entirety of those days studying. 

Students will likely not be able to take a day off from Sunday, May 1, through the end of exams the following Thursday, almost two weeks later. 

This exam scheme requires that students balance end-of-semester classwork, exam preparation and necessary rest.

Fortunately, as the hard workers that they are known to be, Tulane students are likely accustomed to demanding academic circumstances. More importantly, complaints from students with regard to academic rigor often fall on deaf ears. 

Two days may not be enough time to prepare for final exams that test on all the material taught throughout the semester; however, that does not mean that it is impossible to succeed. 

Reviewing materials and beginning to study further in advance for exams may make a significant impact on students’ performance and mental health during the two-day study period.

Moreover, although there are only two designated study days, not all exams will be held on the first day of exams, so students can continue to study for their later exams throughout the week. It may feel like a time crunch, but there are certainly ways that students can ensure their own success. 

On the other hand, professors could try to use their final class meeting for review considering the potentially very brief time interval between the last day of classes and final exams.

The abnormal circumstances of Tulane’s last two years brought changes in academic and social life that may have affected the quality of student mental health. Additionally, exams often became less structured or carried less weight. 

As we return to a conventional final exam schedule, stress may inevitably increase. While we may not be able to do much in the way of preventing the impending finals season, students could save themselves some stress by thinking ahead and preparing early.