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April 27, 2005

Ridiculous Dilemma

Look! It's more of The Usual!

But specifically at this point, what really bums me out about this particular round of finals is that I think I could do pretty well if I didn't have to take all three exams in two days. Unlike last semester, this semester I went to class, I read (most of the time), I took good notes, I paid attention and I actually cared about the subject matter of these classes. All of those factors suggest I should do just fine on the finals, but that's looking really unlikely since I practically have to cram the material for all three classes into my head at the same time. And yeah, I know that for the bar exam you have to cram info for many more subjects into your head at the same time, but this isn't the bar exam. This is finals, and this finals schedule puts me at a disadvantage in the curve b/c the majority of my peers will not have had such a compressed study schedule. For the bar, everyone is basically in the same boat as far as having to cover so many subjects at once.

My professors and the GW administration tell me to suck it up. That's how things work at GW—you pick your classes and by doing so you pick your finals schedule. If your finals schedule blows, that's your own damn fault and your own tough luck. So add this to the list of reasons I'm less than satisfied with my law school experience at GW. If you're still choosing between law schools, consider one that does not force its students to make the ridiculous choice between either taking the classes they want, or having a sane finals schedule. The solution to this dilemma is to offer conflict exams, but that would just be too easy, wouldn't it?

Does any other school operate this way w/finals? Does yours?

Posted April 27, 2005 06:22 AM | 2L


Sorry Charlie, my school operates exactly the same way. And I know of at least 3 others that operate the same way.

The only way you can get out of the problem here is if two of your finals directly conflict. Just being on the same day is not good not enough. I have a friend here that had 3 finals on 1 day! The times 9, 1, and 3:30. My school thought they were doing her this huge favor by letting her take her last final at 6. Yeah right!

Posted by: DG at April 27, 2005 08:52 AM

I go to Mason, which (I've heard) generally will allow you to move an exam if you have two scheduled less than 24 hours apart. One of my classmates is smart enough to take final exam dates into account when planning classes, but I've never been able to exercise such foresight. Last year I had exams on back-to-back days (exactly 24 hours apart) and went crazy -- I feel bad for you. Good luck.

Posted by: anonymous at April 27, 2005 09:15 AM

At Colorado, they won't make you take two on the same day, or three consecutively. I think here, you'd be able to take one from your double day and move it a day or two earlier.

Here's the policy:

The law school rules allow you to reschedule an exam if you have two on the same day, or three (or more) consecutively in the same week. In each case, one exam can be rescheduled. University rules allow you to reschedule an exam because of religious obligation. And we will accommodate childbirth or serious surgery.

In each of these cases, you can move the exam to a date earlier (preferred) than that scheduled by filing this form with the Registrar. Consent of your instructor or the Deanís Office is required.

Posted by: anon at April 27, 2005 09:18 AM

BU offers exam relief. It doesn't necessarily apply to all situations where it might be desireable, but it does to some. I'm using it this semester because otherwise I had two exams at the same time. (What would GW expect you to do with that?)

The details: http://www.bu.edu/law/jd/registrar/exams/index.html#relief

Posted by: Cathy at April 27, 2005 09:47 AM

We have a "wild card" option where basically you can move an exam to another day, but only two days away (so you can't give yourself an extra week), if you have two exams scheduled in the same day.

Posted by: Jennifer at April 27, 2005 10:06 AM

C'mon man! Do you really think this educational system is geared toward you actually being allowed to do your best, or towards allowing you to do so on your terms? Sheesh! Some people! Take $32K a year from them, bury them in debt up to their eyeballs, and they think they gotta right to something.

Posted by: Famous P. at April 27, 2005 11:29 AM

My K Prof said that GW would probably be willing to change the policy if the students would bother to complain and make a stink about it. But, we're so damn apathetic (or busy with other stuff) that no one has made an organized movement to complain.

Maybe you could spear-head this in your free time!

Posted by: GW 1L at April 27, 2005 11:45 AM

We also have the system where you can move one if you have two on the same day or three in a row...the school moves it for you so you either take the alternate day they give you or suck it up. I moved one last quarter and it was nice. I'm pulling for you and sending good happy exam vibes your way!!!

Posted by: energy spatula at April 27, 2005 01:30 PM

Oh quit whining! Take your lead from me! Do you ever hear me whining about law school? No! Wait, what's that you're saying? Oh, fine. Be that way.

You're going to rock, Ambib. Let go of the bad vibes and just deal, you'll be fine. I predict this will be your best semester yet. If my prediction turns out to be true, I'll be looking for a drink on you this summer! ;)

Posted by: Denise at April 27, 2005 01:56 PM

At Florida A&M I haven't seen any exams running simultaneously. But we're a small school with not as many classes as GW. However, today my class (1L) finished our last exam! We're done! We were rushed ahead so the graduating class (the first class) can graduate at the same time as the main campus. Which is fine with me, because I'm glad to be done, even if it did seem to cut into the semester a little. But the thing that most FAMU students complain about is no reading period. Apparently, at other schools, you all get like a week to study before finals?? We get ONE day! I guess no matter where you are, the grass is always greener somewhere else. But I still am happy to be at FAMU, regardless.

Posted by: Cynth at April 27, 2005 11:32 PM

do any of your classes have final papers? or take-home exams? or are all your finals in-class exams?

Posted by: monica at April 28, 2005 12:17 AM

Thanks everyone for the input. Except for DG it sounds like most schools have some mechanism for making your life easier if your finals schedule gets too compressed. I guess DG and I just go to crap schools. ;-) Or maybe "GW 1L" is right that it's just a matter of GW students making enough noise and this situation could be changed. I actually got to speak w/one of the Deans recently who told me that they still do course scheduling -- deciding which classes will be offered and at what times and in what rooms -- by hand! I wonder if that has anything to do w/their inflexibility with finals scheduling. Probably not. But any of the policies mentioned above seem more reasonable than just forcing you to deal w/whatever crap schedule you get just because you take the classes you want.

Oh, there were a couple of questions up there:
1) If you have two finals at the same time, um, you can't. I'm pretty sure when you register that will show up as a conflict and it won't allow you to do that. Three finals in one day? No problem. Two at the same time? No.

2) Monica: I have three in-class finals and two papers. No take-home exams. One of the papers is really minor; probably like five pages -- for my clinic. The other is 30 pages, but I have a 16-page outline and nearly a week to finish it so I'm good there.

3) Denise: I so hope you're right. I can't imagine this could be my best semester ever, but if it is, I'll happily buy you many drinks! Even if it isn't, I'll happily buy you drinks. Are you going to be around DC this summer?

Posted by: ambimb at April 28, 2005 05:58 AM

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