What is the point of a take home exam?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
nsv
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 3:36 pm

What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby nsv » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:41 pm

This is my first semester in law school and I am having a hard time understanding the point of take home exams. How does a professor know that his students have actually learned the subject? You could slack off the whole semester, which will not do you any favors in the future, and still pass the class. Are take home exams graded on a different scale?

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby ph14 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:48 pm

nsv wrote:This is my first semester in law school and I am having a hard time understanding the point of take home exams. How does a professor know that his students have actually learned the subject? You could slack off the whole semester, which will not do you any favors in the future, and still pass the class. Are take home exams graded on a different scale?


Often times they're substantively more difficult in applying the law. The time goes by pretty quickly. Sure you have time to look stuff up and the curve is probably tighter as a result, but I wouldn't underestimate them.

User avatar
hookem7
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:03 pm

Re: What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby hookem7 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:01 pm

I'm surprised more profs don't do take home exams. If I had to read 50 or so papers written about the same topic, I'd at least want the students to have time to organize their thoughts a little more, correct spelling/grammar, etc. It also helps eliminate typing skills from affecting grades. Life is open notes/book/Internet why shouldn't exams be?

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby ph14 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:03 pm

hookem7 wrote:I'm surprised more profs don't do take home exams. If I had to read 50 or so papers written about the same topic, I'd at least want the students to have time to organize their thoughts a little more, correct spelling/grammar, etc. It also helps eliminate typing skills from affecting grades. Life is open notes/book/Internet why shouldn't exams be?


I know some professors view a 3 hour exam as more humane. It's more pulling off a bandaid quickly, rather than pulling it off super slow. Also, i'm guessing the 3 hour exam produces a wider distribution of exams, which are easier to grade. 8 hour exams I assume are going to have a bit tighter curve, most likely.

User avatar
3|ink
Posts: 7331
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby 3|ink » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:57 pm

Take home exams are fucking terrible. I just know there are assholes out there chatting it up on gchat while they take them. I drop any class with a take-home.

User avatar
2014
Posts: 5831
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Re: What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby 2014 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:15 am

Every take home I've done has been severely word limited. Professors are lazy and would prefer to read a well written, short piece of writing than either a long winded shit show or an in class word limited one that isn't proofread. No one fails anyway so they don't particularly care how much you learned, they just want to assign some sort of grade distribution that doesn't piss too many people off.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22842
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:59 am

Yeah, the professors I know who used take-home exams did so because they wanted students to have the time to write something coherent (and made clear that they'd grade on writing quality) (and imposed word limits).

The thing is, sure, you can slack the whole semester and still pass, but passing isn't really the issue - at most law schools very few people fail (your exam would have to say nothing but "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" 1500 times to fail). And I don't see how the take-home is any different from the classic 3-hour in-class final. If you slacked all semester and are teaching yourself everything at the end, it doesn't really matter whether you're doing that in the 24-hours of a take home, or in the 24 hours before a 3-hour in-class exam.

(Are you really wondering about open-book exams? Because at most schools the in-class exams don't really limit your access to materials any more than a take-home does. The thing is that your materials aren't going to present exactly the same facts as on the exam, and just copying the rules from your notes isn't what's going to get you points - it's applying those rules to the facts that professor has dreamed up. So that's why a lot of profs don't care if you have access to every casebook and supplement on the planet.)

shock259
Posts: 1737
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: What is the point of a take home exam?

Postby shock259 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:10 am

I've only done 2 serious takehomes, but both have been pretty short on time. So maybe it's structured to have 6 hours of answer-writing for an 8 hour test. 2 hours to chill, take a breather, proofread, organize, etc. Realistically, you can't focus for 8 hours straight. So not really that much more time to learn things on the fly than there would be in a 3 hour exam.

For my un-serious one, I had a 72 hour takehome with a pass/fail class. That was golden. Write random shit for ~2 hours, turn it in, pass. Wheee!




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests