Finals and why they are evil....

By on April 22, 2013 5:39:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

halmal242

Join Date 05/2008
+18

I understand that college finals are a good evaluation of whether concepts are understood and I agree with this; however, I do no agree with making a final comprehensive over so much material that it dwarfs the value of previously covered material such it initial tests become irrelevant.  This makes it not a test of knowledge rather a test of memory.  This is not a great way to increase confidence or inspire others to learn its a way to weed out those that have lower memory potentials compared to those that do and not a test of whether you understand the concepts and can apply them.  Sorry ranting for my wife she just went through an organic chemistry final that almost gave her a nervous break down and I am taking my Physics final in comparison where I get a sheet of formulas she got a big fat known 90 different conversions of chemical products along with the intermediate products by memory.  Just seems a little lopsided is all I have to say.

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April 22, 2013 8:26:55 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

a test of memory. This is not a great way to increase confidence or inspire others to learn its a way to weed out those that have lower memory potentials
And which part of this will you need to be reminded of...after you forget it? You should have remembered this from high school ffs.

Finals and/or tests in and of themselves aren't evil, testing someones capabilities and/or memory is part of an educational process. Knowledge often carries a steep price tag. Someone is paying big money for you to get a Physics degree. Someone is also paying for your wife's Chemisty degree. (I will, for the sake of this post, assume it is yourselves)   Testing to see if you can retain and apply that knowledge is not entirely unexpected, now is it?

The money and time spent in the learning is lost if you can't remember shit!

P.S. Best of luck to both of you.

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April 22, 2013 8:44:18 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

 Knowledge often carries a steep price tag.

Let me elaborate a bit on that. People  have and will suffer,  deprive themselves of all other things and if it's worth learning, pay any price for knowledge. People have died to know things or because they did know certain things. What you learn today may only be an exercise in memory to you now, but someday, to someone, it may may mean the difference between life and death. Think about that and remember it always. No genius has ever wished he or she didn't learn something.  Forgetting may be free, but it should never come easy.

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April 22, 2013 9:49:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I was VERY tired when I wrote this and have since woken up to read my tirade  .  I do agree about knowledge not coming easy but I looked over her test prep stuff compared to mine and it was insanely ridiculous in comparison for the sheer volume.  I tip my hat to my wife for sticking through it and finishing though. 

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April 23, 2013 2:51:55 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

This makes it not a test of knowledge rather a test of memory.

And the distinction is....?

Without memory knowledge is lost.

If it's a distinction between UNDERSTANDING and 'memory' then there may be a difference.... Spell checker

 

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April 23, 2013 8:03:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But there a major difference between idactic memory which could fail eventually without knowing it is failing and knowledge memory in which you know something exists and understand conceptually how it works and use reference materials so your exact measurements are correct.  Speed over accuracy which is more important?

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April 23, 2013 8:42:06 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting halmal242,
But there a major difference between idactic memory which could fail eventually without knowing it is failing and knowledge memory in which you know something exists and understand conceptually how it works and use reference materials so your exact measurements are correct. Speed over accuracy which is more important?

You're missing the plot.

It's either memory by rote...or it's memory by comprehension.

That is all that matters.

The former is useless and the latter is essential.

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April 23, 2013 9:16:44 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,
The former is useless and the latter is essential.

Indeed. I found that if I read and reread the material and used the formulas in practical problems, my memory held onto the stuff. Howvever, understanding the material was essential to remembering it.

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April 23, 2013 9:19:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Then we are in agreement that memorizing tons of stuff just for an exam is fairly useless whereas having an exam with material to use but you must apply your knowledge is a much better test.

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April 23, 2013 9:19:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love test.

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April 23, 2013 9:21:04 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
understanding the material was essential to remembering it.
And vice versa.

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April 23, 2013 9:29:42 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I can recite the first 20 something elements of the periodic table....learned by rote ...over 40 years ago....and still remember them.

From their order you can determine atomic weights and 'stuff' [without actually learning those at all].

Probably timely to note my education predated computers....and calculators too [for that matter]... but had 'learned' to do long division in my head...

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April 23, 2013 9:36:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can recite most of the information pertaining to how renewable energies interplay on the electrical grid and the socio-political effects of renewable energies on society.  That does not mean it is in general better than knowing where to look to find the information except to show off that you know the information.  That is unless that information is needed in an extreme time scenario, doctors, nurses, and first responders, this is where time matters.  When time is less relevant, referenced based knowledge and application is better in my opinion.

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April 23, 2013 9:37:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The memory (recall) versus understanding and using 'data' (info, formulae, metabolic pathways, decay rates, etc., etc., ) seems one  aspect of our culture that can be confusing.  Lawyers, to pass the bar exam, must successfully remember and regurgitate, on command, vast amounts of 'data.'  But in practice, are to always look up the law/code before advising a client - and if caught not doing so - are actually guilty of mal-practice.  Early (20 years ago) Jeopardy TV game shows referred to winners as smart, when, in fact, it was mostly those with very good (photographic?) memories who won. Not so true now.  A recent article about a Chinese scholar intrigued me.  He is suggesting that the forced rote memorization of 3,000+ 'symbols (the word pictographs) of written Chinese could be greatly reduced if a new approach was adopted.  Memorizing the base symbols, and then learning how these base symbols came to be grouped to create the more complex word (pictographs) of modern Chinese would significantly reduce the number of 'meaningless' symbols memorized.  Then the work of learning how they fit together to represent more complex meanings (like more involved words) would begin.

The bad news for those like me who are easily bored: Understanding what the data means, and how it all fits together, is related, etc., is essential, but can't happen unless there is some 'rote' memory work as a base to work from.

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April 23, 2013 9:42:42 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting halmal242,
I can recite most of the information pertaining to how renewable energies interplay on the electrical grid and the socio-political effects of renewable energies on society

Ah...so you mean knowledge that has no meaningful value to anyone...whether remembered or not...

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April 23, 2013 10:05:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That depends if you are being asked to testify to a committee concerning funding whether a project has met the merits of society or not and are quizzed over varying information that is usually not included in a project report.  People tend to still ask for it in person because people like to know those facts even though they are most times not quantifiable.

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April 23, 2013 11:17:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Teaching to the test is a waste of classroom, and accelerated curriculum is a waste of classroom. Instructors and Professors need time to tackle issues in their depth, and the current education system is about churning people through the loan process just to put them in debt.

 

There are also a lot of worthless classes you will never need that you have to take; there is too much effing math. There is no job position which will ever require you to know how to factor the quadratic formula, and any job which DOES use formulas, are all just plug-and-play. That is, you put info into a computer, click a few buttons and the computer calculates the numbers and does everything. Personally, I think having so much math is just a means to disqualify people from degrees to punish people who aren't mathematically inclined.

 

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April 23, 2013 3:25:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Speaking as a chemist myself, organic chemistry is unlike anything else I've ever studied in that regard.  You are, literally, memorizing recipes for making countless different things.  What reagents to use, what medium to add them to, what temperature to cook them at... it's like having to memorize every recipe in a cookbook, down to the finest detail.

This is why I went into theoretical/physical chemistry.

 

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April 23, 2013 4:23:16 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Here is why finals are evil (as a Computer Science Phd track):

April 4th: Finals schedule is released, showing both classes that have conventional finals with said finals on May 02, ending early in the morning. Not having my own car, I call my parents to drive up and help me move out on that day. They are happy to do so.

 

April 9th: Professor C. announces that his class's finals will be rescheduled to early morning on May 09, while Professor B.'s class is rescheduled to May 04. Parents are informed, but have plans on the ninth and can only help with move-out on the 4th, meaning that I would have to drive 2.5 hours home on the 4th, then drive 2.5 hours back and stay overnight on the 8th, then drive 2.5 hours again on the 9th to get back home.

 

April 13th: After literal hours of arguing over Skype with Mom & Dad, a compromise is hammered out that satisfies nobody but works for everybody, in which I would stay at school until the 4th, then get up at 4:00 AM to drive back to take the final on the 9th and return that same day.

 

April 15th: Finals are rescheduled. Now both are on the 4th, with the last ending at 7:00 PM. Mom reluctantly agrees to drive me back on that day after much "persuasion".

 

April 23rd: Today in class, Professor C. makes an announcement: "I've had a number of people complain that the current finals schedule will not give them enough time to study, so I'm talking to the Dean about rescheduling. I hope we can come to a better date that way."

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April 23, 2013 4:36:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I remember the entire technology tree to SMAC, including the prereqs for all items in the game, even though I haven't played the game for years...I am just waiting for the day where that knowledge will be key to the survival of the human race....

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April 23, 2013 4:44:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,

I remember the entire technology tree to SMAC, including the prereqs for all items in the game, even though I haven't played the game for years...I am just waiting for the day where that knowledge will be key to the survival of the human race....
  Sad, but I think Homo sapiens sapiens (humans) have already failed.  Rationalized self-interest guarantees the problem of the commons" will not be resolved in a healthy manner ...  oh, wait, I see movement in the red fungal brush!  ...

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April 23, 2013 6:13:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dear lord the tragedy of the commons problem!

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April 23, 2013 6:13:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
Here is why finals are evil
No, that would be why Professor C. comes up missing.

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April 23, 2013 6:38:08 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting ElanaAhova,
Sad, but I think Homo homo sapiens (humans) have already failed.  Rationalized self-interest guarantees the problem of the commons" will not be resolved in a healthy manner ...  oh, wait, I see movement in the red fungal brush!  ...

I'm not sure if any tragedy of the commons problem would truly lead to the extinction. The deaths of billions of people in the worse case scenario, perhaps, but I'm sure either the rich or the government will make those fallout style vaults for a lucky few to live on.

 

As for final exams, I wish I had them. All of my teachers scheduled the last "test" or project on the last day of class, despite the fact that the finals system was created to prevent that exact thing from occurring.

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April 24, 2013 12:29:43 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

I managed to ace organic chemistry in college - three quarters (one academic year).  My recollection of that year was that it was brutal, the quarterly finals brutal-er.  But it was the course that cracked open the door to my eventual career and I'm beyond grateful I had the opportunity.

I held on to the 6-pound textbook for many years before finally chucking it.  Occasionally, for the hell of it, I'd pull the textbook down and browse, marveling in disbelief at what I once 'knew'.

Finals do suck.  In a necessary sort of way.  Best of luck to your wife in her academic efforts, halmal242.

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May 5, 2013 9:40:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,


Quoting ElanaAhova, reply 20Sad, but I think Homo homo sapiens (humans) have already failed.  Rationalized self-interest guarantees the problem of the commons" will not be resolved in a healthy manner ...  oh, wait, I see movement in the red fungal brush!  ...

I'm not sure if any tragedy of the commons problem would truly lead to the extinction. The deaths of billions of people in the worse case scenario, perhaps, but I'm sure either the rich or the government will make those fallout style vaults for a lucky few to live on.

 

As for final exams, I wish I had them. All of my teachers scheduled the last "test" or project on the last day of class, despite the fact that the finals system was created to prevent that exact thing from occurring.

 

Interesting.  The most recent university I attended had a rule (university senate or Administration - I forget) actually prohibiting the 'last day of class' scheme. 

As to planet earth being equivalent to the 'commons,' re: our species survival: yes, it is possible humanity, in some form, would survive the earth being turned into one big cess-pool-midden.  However, remember, part of what we are doing (as a species) is also poisoning the ground water on a massive scale (secret-poison-toxic-chemical-proprietary- 'hydro' fracking) and weakening the lithosphere (which will allow magma up to the surface in greater time frames/areas than has been its pattern in the past, and causing mild earthquakes in places they normally don't occur.  Hello Easter Island, goodbye culture.  Oh, yes, the shelters - for a few lucky souls.  have you played Fallout series?  They are a wild ride.  Check it out if you haven't played them.

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