Love it or Hate it: Timed Midterms

By Parul Agarwal

Love it — Hannah J. Humes

While we all hate midterms in general, timed midterms are the best way to go when taking midterms online. There are a lot of benefits to having your midterm timed and therefore over and done with.

1. Fairness

Let’s be real — in any class, there will probably be people who cheat on take-home midterms. But for those of us who are upstanding moral students (or just too afraid of authority to cheat), having the midterm timed limits how much those who cheat can ruin the curve.

2. More Time = Higher Expectations

Taking a midterm with unlimited time means you can spend as long as you want on it. This likely means more work (ugh). Plus, everyone else is likely to do better with more time, which means you have to as well. Untimed midterms don’t actually take that pressure off; they add to it.

3. Done and Done

If the midterm is due in over a week, you then have a week to stress over it, go over each of your answers, and just generally doubt yourself. If you have 75 minutes, you have to just get it over with and then ignore it until your grade comes back (or never look at your grade and live in denial).

4. Procrastination

The temptation for procrastination has never been higher. Personally, if I open up a test and don’t know the answer, I’m more likely to keep putting it off if I have seemingly unlimited time. You can’t do that if your test shuts down once time is up. Also, having a limited amount of time means you may actually have to study — which will help you learn, while looking up test answers won’t.

Timed tests take the stress off — unless you are one of the people who cheat. Hopefully, now you have some good reasons to enjoy your classes that still give you this type of assessment.

Hate it — Claire J. Hoffman

In the time of Zoom University, take-home exams are more relevant than ever. Some professors are getting rid of exams altogether because #SEMUEM, but some are still making us take exams. To that, I say: Please give us an extended or untimed period of time to take your test.

Let’s think about this here. Overall, I am stressed. This is not new. But, I would so much rather spend time on my own taking an exam then trying to block out a period to take it in one sitting. Sure, I might get the test done faster that way, but is it worth the spike in my anxiety levels? No way in hell. Imagine how nice it would be to be able to do a first work-through of the test, get a snack and think about it, work on it again, exercise and think about it, work on it again, think about it in the shower — you get the idea. Not only is it less stressful, but you end up doing a better job understanding the material this way, instead of trying to cram it all into your head for a two-hour test.

All this is really to say that I’d rather avoid the panic that comes along with a timed test, even if I’m taking it from my dorm/house. Give me the leisurely longer version any day.

Flyby BlogFlyby Front FeatureFeatures and Series

Harvard Today

The latest in your inbox.

Sign Up

Follow Flyby online.