Final Projects vs. Final Exams: Choosing between the lesser of two evils

As a naturally lazy person, I would prefer to say no to both final exams and final projects and instead curl up in my onesie and binge-watch Netflix. Choosing between exams and projects is a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils.

Although I am enjoying the projects we do for this class, as a general rule I tend to prefer final exams. With exams, there’s a starting point and an ending point. I usually start studying a week before the exam, and once I take the exam it’s over. Finals are more of a pain than regular exams since they’re often cumulative, but as long as I give myself a week I’m usually set. And by the time finals arrive I have a study method for each class that is guaranteed to work.

Final projects are a different story. For some reason they always end up on the bottom of my to-do list and result in me scrambling to finish them on time. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, so pressing submit always gives me anxiety. What if there was more I could have done? In this class we have the option to revise a lot of our work, but this sometimes adds to my anxiety. With exams, there’s no option to revisit them. Once they’re done, they’re done. I can move on and start preparing for the next exam. Revisiting old projects requires diving back into my work and trying to remember what my original vision was and what more needed to be added. And then with resubmission comes the same question—was there more I could have done?

With all this being said, I would like to reiterate that I love the projects we’re doing for this class. I had so much fun finishing my remediation project (despite the familiar anxiety I felt when pressing submit) because I was able to be creative and explore a new medium I had never tried before. Perhaps if I didn’t have to worry about grades and hard deadlines for projects I would prefer them to exams.

Annie Humphrey

Boston, MA native. Senior BCN major with premed focus. I love singing, writing, and having meaningful conversations with people.

2 thoughts to “Final Projects vs. Final Exams: Choosing between the lesser of two evils”

  1. I, too, see the differing virtues of both final exams and final projects. But I see it differently. To me, projects are the place where I can really put it all out there. There are no time constraints. It’s not possible to just completely blank while working on a project. As long as the time is put in, I see projects as a way to really give my best effort. For me, exams are a less accurate judge of my knowledge. I know some people don’t believe in bad test takers, but we’re out there. I appreciate a final project because it gives me the freedom to excel as much as I want. That being said, there is nothing worse that having a final exam and final project for the same class. There’s only so much time in a day.

  2. I hate final exams forever and always. Give me 10 essays, but do not give me an exam. I will go crazy studying the same thing over and over again. And studying isn’t even fun! At least writing or composing projects is creative and fun.
    Just a new perspective 🙂

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