Dear Badger Herald, On December 15, 2006 many of the students on campus were feeling the same rush of relief; classes were finally over for the fall semester. However, the rest of the students were instead overwhelmed with a sense of dread when they realized that they had exams… the next day! The way that the fall semester had been planned was to have exams from December 16th to the 23rd. The scheduling of exams has a lot to do with state requirements to fit in 170 instructional days, these class days also have to be worked around Labor Day and Christmas. What all these requirements did was to run classes right up to the day before the first exams.
Being a UW student I found this to be horrifying. I was fortunate enough to have my first exam on the following Monday but many of my friends and fellow students were not so lucky. Does this added workload have any real value? The final weeks of class are when many large assignments and papers are due. Is it really then necessary to bury students with the additional stress of studying for exams? The answer is a resounding "NO" from students.
Something has to be done in order to give the hardworking students of this campus a little respite before their exams. I know that students would greatly appreciate it; GPAs would certainly be positively affected by it. It's probably unreasonable to believe that there is going to be a change in state law, so the solution has to come from the university. Other colleges have study breaks ranging up to ten days. The Associated Students of Madison, our student government, is one of the groups actively seeking to guarantee UW students a study break. While their plans are not yet finalized the university does consider their ideas very seriously. For anyone else who was frustrated with the situation this past semester ASM is certainly the group to contact with suggestions and concerns.
I feel that there are at least a couple of obvious solutions. One solution could be to have teachers create lessons plans so that all of the heavy lifting in their classes would be done at least a week before the first day of exams, this would certainly give students the ability to focus on them. Also the university could schedule exams, which was done in the past, after winter break. This may be an extreme proposal but it would certainly provide the necessary study time. It all boils down to the state and the university seeing things from the perspective of students. With all the time and effort, rising tuition costs, and the preparation for life after college that students endure, a little break is not too much to ask for.
Jason Steven Hall