OPINION: Papers and projects show learning better than exams

     Studying for exams can result in anxious behavior and the nervous feeling of not knowing everything that you need to in order to ace the exam. With certain classes, if you didn’t understand the material during class, it will be hard to teach it to yourself.  

     On the other hand, writing papers allows the student to show what they do know about the topic and their understanding on how to apply the concepts. Projects are similar in allowing you to show your knowledge and apply the concepts you have learned.  

     Exams are not my strong suit; however, I excel in writing papers about topics covered in class and applying those to real-life scenarios. This demonstrates my understanding of the concept, and I can show what I have learned.  

     As students, we should practice each concept, but there will always be topics that we aren’t sure about. Writing a paper or completing a project is a great way to explain in detail the topics we do know. Papers also allow us to still write about a topic that we don’t fully understand and finish the paper with a better understanding.  

     I do acknowledge that exams are an easy way to cover every chapter or section that is covered, but exams are not as engaging as writing or presenting a project can be. Exams bring on stress, and for a student like me, they don’t necessarily show that I do know the material.  

     I enjoy writing papers because I can easily prove and explain what the concept is, why it’s important and apply it to any situation.  

     Projects are also helpful to show that students know how to do the work. A class I have this semester has three excel projects throughout the course as well as quizzes and exams. The excel project shows how well I know the material, based on my score. I would rather have 20 excel projects to complete for each chapter than exams.  

     What is the purpose of an exam? For a professor to determine what we know based off one grade? Even a great test taker who knows the material may have a bad test day. That doesn’t mean they don’t know how to do the work. 

     I want the chance to show my professors I know the material and am capable of doing all the problems but taking an exam won’t allow me to do that. Papers and projects allow students to use other skills while presenting the concepts learned in class.  

     Professors want us to succeed in class and I think the best way students can succeed is to come to an agreement on the best way to test our knowledge of the subject. For some people, that is writing papers, designing projects, presenting, etc.  

     The best way for me to show the professor what I learned in class is to write or create a presentation because that uses other skills I have.