First of all, I want to start this post off by saying congrats to all my fellow Badgers back at UW for another successful semester and graduation! Hopefully, everyone is out enjoying their Summer break. Unfortunately, break is not quite here yet at USYD. Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with Australia, but no matter where you are, finals are never a fun time. I have been working on assessments and studying for the past couple of weeks, and I have noticed a few differences between UW and USYD final exam weeks. Here are some key differences:
Less Exams, More Essays
USYD loves their essays. Throughout the semester, my classes seemed to emphasize essays rather than exams. I cannot say that this is the case for all of the classes on campus, but it was definitely for mine. For this semester, I have four essays but only one exam! I am not too mad about this though. The final exams at UW are always stressful for me because of the time crunch. At least at USYD I have plenty of time to brainstorm and collect my thoughts in a structured way.
Lots of Prep Time
As mentioned earlier, one of the drawbacks to finals at UW is that it happens so fast. There is always a scramble to get everything done in time, which only adds to the stress. At USYD, the past three or four weeks have been a period of essay writing and exam preparation! In fact, most of the class work begins to wind down in the middle of May. Many would say they prefer the quick, rapid-fire system, but I’ve been loving the longer period of prep. It has not only given me more time to get things together, but it has also given me time to relax as well as explore more of the areas around Sydney!
The last significant difference between USYD and UW finals is the weighting of the assessments. While most finals back at UW are worth 20 percent, finals at USYD have ranged from 30 to 45 percent! When looking at both of these systems, there are obvious trade-offs: have a 20 percent weighting with a shorter prep time or a 45 percent weighting with a longer prep time.
From these differences, it’s pretty clear that the method of testing USYD students is very different. I can’t say that it is better than what I am used to back home, but I can say that I have learned more about my strengths and weaknesses by being exposed to both systems.
Unfortunately, this may be my last blog post for the semester. Hopefully I can sneak another one in before then. In either case, I plan on updating you all on my post-semester travels around Australia before I head back to the States. I am looking to go to Melbourne, Uluru, Cairns, and the Gold Coast! I will just sign off with these awesome pictures I have taken these past couple of weeks during my study breaks.