With Good Friday, Easter and Passover all taking place near the beginning of the University’s exam schedule, the need for an extra study day between the end of classes and the commencement of exams is particularly acute this year. Under the current scheduling regime, students have only one day to rest and recuperate from the end-of-term assignment crunch before the hectic and harried exam period begins. Shifting the start of exams to the Monday following the last day of classes would give students a much needed chance to study for their tests. Although this year’s most pressing reason to add a study day – students’ religious observances – vary from year to year, the University should act to shift the exam schedule permanently.
By moving exams back one school day, the University affords students three additional study days. This can allow for students to make the best use of their time as they see fit. Some students may seek to escape the distractions of the University and go home or find quieter places for the break period.
Some might argue that moving exams back a day would actually increase stress by making the exam period more crowded and might force students to live through more draining days where they have back-to-back exams. However, with exams already spread across a week, it seems unlikely that a slightly more compact exam period would be more detrimental to students than an extra long study period leading up to the exams.
The extra time would also be helpful to students looking to discuss material with professors and graduate student instructors during office hours. It is often difficult to schedule time with professors and GSIs, and the existence of two weekdays with no class obligations would make it easier for both parties to work out meeting times.
It would be a fallacy to assert that every student would use this extra day purely for academic reasons. As the last few days of the semester wind down, long-time friends aren’t always looking forward to a summer apart. An extra day would be prime time to shake off the repercussions of any last hurrahs.
But to refuse the extra day in the name of not wanting to endorse a little student jollification would do a great disservice to the rest of the highly-stressed and caffeinated student body. To the University, it is only one day; to students, it may mean the difference between making the grade and burning out with two exams to go.