1.18.2011

Final Exams...

So I know that many of my colleagues are stressing out about final exams. Here's just a short post for those of you who wonder sometimes about the usefulness and the purpose of final exams.

Let's get the boring stuff out of the way. We all hear the standard stuff about how they test what you know, and what you have learned throughout the semester. Sure, that's all fine and dandy, but what do they actually have to do with my actual life? Will I ever need to be able to handle something like final exams again?

And the answer is yes, though you may not want to hear it. Finals, though they may seem like pointless drudgery, are great for a few not-so-obvious reasons.
-Adaptation to a new style: In the workplace, you'll come across this all the time. Let's say your boss gets fired and you have to do a ton of work to prepare for the coming of your new boss. Or maybe you have to go find a new job because you got fired. Skill=cramming and trying to learn as much as you can about a new field of work.

-Thinking and recalling stuff quickly, anything you may have learned: Sure, this is pretty important in all of your areas of life, but especially in college and afterwards. Let's say you are assigned in your job to help out a team or be the leader. You'll need everything you know about the job to help others, and though they may be able to look stuff up themselves, there are some things that just are better taught in person. If you know how to recall this information, you'll be invaluable.

-Physical endurance testing: By the last final on the last day, your brain will be completely melted if you are human. So, it's a good endurance test for you, especially considering there are longer and more difficult tests out there (ACT for some, MCAT for others). In any case, finals'll teach you how to train your mind and be able to switch gears quickly from class to class.

-Overall mental agility: We all know that one person in our class who can rattle off facts about nearly everything under the sun. Where do they get that power? Well, it's all about recall. How much of what you have learned can you access on the spot? And this is most important in person-to-person contact, face to face, especially in something like an interview. You've got to be able to tell the interviewer why you want what you came in to get, why you want it, and why they should choose you rather than someone else. My favorite line is from "Pursuit of Happyness" :

"If someone came in here without a shirt and he got the job, what would your reaction be?"
"He must have been wearing some really nice pants."

But if you just skipped to the bottom of the page, the bottom line is this _________________
Nah just kidding. Finals are important, and while they may not seem like it, they do a lot more for you than just bring your grade down.

V

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