Three ways finals are better at MBU

a sneak peek into finals week at Maranatha

It’s that time of year again: exam week. It has been a terrific semester here at Maranatha Baptist University for the faculty and students alike. We’ve seen everything from a tight final women’s Soccer game to over 50 visitors coming to campus on MBU’s Road Trip, and from a campus-wide version of the Amazing Race to a spectacular production of A Christmas Carol.

At most colleges and universities, there is a set schedule for when each final will be taken. There may be a brief open time to allow for conflicts, but generally speaking, you will take your exams when they are scheduled, even if you have to take several finals during several consecutive class periods.

Seeking to be at the forefront in educational innovation, MBU has a different, more unusual approach to the way we do final exams. We call it, “open finals.”

Here’s how it works: Finals begin Monday morning at 7:30 AM and run all day till 7:30 PM. The same thing happens on Tuesday, and Wednesday the exams in any computer lab, as the vast majority of the exams are online. There is at least one room for paper tests for students in classes such as music theory, etc. Each testing room is equipped with proctors that enter a pin for each and every exam.

We know that though our students are Christians, they are also human. So we remove all distractions as well as ways of cheating from their minds. Some students even say that this is the best week of the year!

Students may not leave for Christmas or Summer Break until all their on-campus course exams are completed. Anyway, what’s the point? Why is this new approach necessary? Though there are several reasons, here are three:

Open exams allow people to go home on their own schedule.

Let’s say a student named Jeff has 5 exams to take during finals week and wants to leave for Christmas break on Tuesday. If he did enough studying the weekend before finals, he could take all his finals on Monday and head out the next day (or even that evening!). However, if a student named Sally with 5 exams does not have a preference as to when she leaves campus, then she can take a different approach to open finals. Sally could take her time studying in between finals and take all 3 days to complete them, not heading home until Wednesday.

Open exams keep people safe.

Another advantage relates to the travel time a student may have to get home. A student named Molly might have a 12 hour drive to her home out west, which would be a problem if she couldn’t finish her tests until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. However, with the open finals format, Molly could finish her finals on Tuesday and leave for home Wednesday morning; this would be a much safer option for students who have greater distances to travel.

Open finals give the student greater opportunity to have thorough and productive study time.

Whereas in a structured exam week, students may have an extremely limited time in which to study (or at times, cram), open finals give our students the ability take a deep breath in between finals to help them refresh their minds and focus more effectively on studying for their next exam.

 

Open finals are not just for convenience, as some may think. As Maranatha Baptist University seeks to find and instill in its students “a bias towards positive change involving growth and maturity (1),” it is vital that the University itself does the same. The pursuit of excellence in education involves helping our students be the best they can possibly be at what they do (2).  As a result, the purpose of the open system is to give the student the opportunity to do their absolute best to the praise of God’s glory (Eph. 1:12).

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