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Allowing students to schedule their own finals would lead to more efficient test-takers.

With midterm season in full swing, students are feeling the pressure of earning the best grades possible while balancing extracurriculars, social events and daily activities. This struggle stems from multiple tests — which are worth significant portions of students’ grades — being proctored throughout the same week, with many even falling on the same day. Although this method of testing is common among American colleges, there are many ways the process of scheduling midterms and finals can be improved in order to save students from feeling anxious and overwhelmed. 

One solution that would benefit students in multiple realms is permitting students to schedule their own finals within a given time frame. Instead of piling five finals into three days, students could schedule themselves to take one final each day of the school week. But, what are the long-term benefits of taking the time to implement a program like this?

Perhaps the largest benefit of putting the onus on students to complete their finals in an organized and timely manner is that students will cultivate their time management skills. Piedmont Technical College reports that 90% of college students procrastinate and that, of this figure, a quarter of such students never effectively learn how to manage their time. If students had the responsibility of creating their own study schedule and arriving punctually to their designated test-taking facilities, this could begin to instill the importance of time management within the student body. 

Through implementing this finals system, JMU would also be able to highlight the impact of prioritization. By having free reign over the way they approach finals, students will become well aware of the effects of hard work and understand the consequences of slacking off. Grades will rely on the student’s dedication to the class and capability to put school before friends and social events. Students will gain time management skills and learn effective prioritization, which are qualities many companies value in potential employees.

Schools such as Washington and Lee in Lexington, Virginia, already allow students to report to designated testing centers when they feel confident that they’re ready to test. The advantages they’ve seen include a tighter bond between students and faculty who collaborate to uphold the Honor Code as well as greater student accountability when it comes to academic honesty and integrity. 

Beyond just the students, this system wouldn’t be taxing on professors. Professors would be able to submit their finals to a variety of testing centers where students could easily sign in, take the test in a proctored room and submit the test when they are finished. There would also be a lower likelihood of cheating and a higher degree of comfort for students, as they’d be working with fewer people around them than if the entire class tested at once. 

Students scheduling their own finals would take pressure off of professors to administer an exam to lecture halls full of students, instill time management and effective prioritization in students and would be a relatively easy solution to institute. Administration beyond the SGA should definitely take a look into implementing a revised, student-run finals schedule.

Liz Riccio is a freshman media arts and design major. Contact Liz at riccioem@dukes.jmu.edu.