Blitz all around
The exam and midterm system in Stanford appears to differ from the one back home (disclaimer: based on subjective experiences of handful individuals). Whereas the exams and midterms in Finland (and a number of other countries) tend to be around three or four hours long and all the help you get is from your brain and maybe a calculator, here tests range from 75 minutes to tho hours, usually with open book or other material to help you with. 75 minutes is not a long time to answer 6 full questions, nor is two hours in my opinion. The lack of time took me a little by surprise, but I think I managed in the end. Time will tell.
Oh yeah, having two midterms in one day wasn’t that fun, but I only have one final to compensate (and a final programming project).
Which method is better, you ask? Both have advantages – short and thereby hard exams easily separate those who know from those who don’t. On the other hand if you have a bad day or have hard time doing the exam even though you know the stuff, it might be better to have more time. On the subject of notes in exams: it might not work with longer exams – it might bee too easy to just write extensive notes and then go through them in the exam. But could that be considered learning as well, since the object of exams is to prove that you have actually learned the things you were supposed to learn? Most likely it comes down to personal preference. I’m used to the longer exams and would like to take further exams with more time. I wouldn’t mind bringing notes, but I do just fine without.
Interesting observation: many midterms have been held without any instructor supervision. I guess this takes us back to the Honor Code I discussed way back in the beginning of the program.
To continue loosely in the spirit of the theme of the title of this post, I also checked out the local floorball club here in Palo Alto. It was awesome to play floorball after a while. The game is not vastly popular in the States (go figure), but the love for the game and the fun you can have was apparent nevertheless.
Tomorrow I’m going to the Virtual Reality Lab mentioned before. Exciting!