Sparkly had one of eir midterms yesterday, and I’m just completely bewildered by some of eir school’s exam policies. For convenience’s sake, they put people taking various different exams in the same room. They allow professors to make their exams any length, so different exams have different time limits, although students all start their exams at the same time. They require each student to figure out when their time will be up and just watch the clock. The exam proctor does not call out the time or do anything to tell students when to start or stop. Students who are using the school’s computer test-taking software can use its alarm function, but they’re explicitly forbidden from using any other kind of timer or alarm, even a silent one.

Going past the time limit by even two minutes results in your grade being lowered one “step”, i.e. if you would have gotten a B, now you get a B-.

I can’t imagine having to keep track of what time it is while also trying to do my best, fastest work on an exam. I have a pretty good sense of time, but it would be so easy to think “Okay, five minutes left” and then get caught up in what you’re doing…

I really don’t think that having the proctor say “It’s now two o’clock” or “One hour has passed” or whatever could be more disruptive than having to keep track of time yourself.

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