It’s that end of semester time again, a time that brings with it the impending joy of a break and Christmas but also essays and exams. This experience is different for me this year. I have a different university system to contend with and my list of pros and cons on this topic is pretty much even, so as an act of procrastination from revising I will share a few from the list with you!
– More assignments that are worth less.
Pro! It does feel like you’re back at school rather than university, but in my experience having just two chances to be assessed (essays, exams, or one of each) is kind of stressful. Each assignment is either worth 50% or it’s a disproportionate weighting of 70-30 and that’s a lot riding on one piece of work. However for my courses this year (Canadians call modules courses) I’ve had several essays or in class tests throughout the semester that break the weight up. This means that if you mess up on one thing, you have opportunity to make it up on the next assessed piece of work. One of my courses this semester has a final exam that is worth 30%, and that can only be a good thing!
Yes it’s more work, and often it’s harder work, but at least there’s not much of an end of semester rush, or work to do over Christmas.
Pro! Do I even need to explain why having 10% of your final grade based upon your engagement in class is a good thing? (clue: easy marks)
Con…. But this is only because there is so much reading (I’m taking history so it’s my own fault). I think having two lectures a week and no seminar is why I find the reading amount challenging. It’s definitely do-able, but coming from a university where you have one lot of readings to discuss in a seminar each week, to one where you have two lots per week that are hardly discussed, was a shock to the system. Prioritising and time management are key.
So those are just a few of my observations! No doubt that once I have taken my exams and started next semester’s courses I’ll have few more things to say but for now, in my opinion, it’s important to appreciate the differences between my home and exchange university. No system is better than the other, they’re just different. This means that the approach to learning and the skills that are developed are different, which is helping to reinforce the fact that there is more to life than passing exams. It’s what you gain while passing the exams that is important.
On that rather thoughtful note, I really should get back to revising! But I would love to know what are your opinions on this? Have you experienced a different style of university through being on exchange? Or are there things mentioned above that you wished your university implemented? *cough* participation marks *cough* 😉