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Exam-Based Modules vs. Coursework

Once you’ve made it to uni, it’s refreshing to find how the majority of courses allow you to shape your own degree through module choices. Depending on which course you’re doing, you may only have a couple of optional modules, or it could be entirely based on your choices.

But how do you go about making these choices? Do you go for modules with the most exciting content? With a reasonable number of contact hours with lecturers? Or maybe on the way they’re assessed?

There’s a lot of opinion among students showing preference towards exam-based or coursework-based modules. So here are our latest pros and cons to see if exams may be the route for you…

PROS

  • In the examination environment, many people find that they work well under the pressure. With only a couple of hours to complete the paper, you have no choice but to focus and get on with it. On the other hand, if you’ve opted for coursework there’s less of a time pressure and many can find it hard to knuckle-down.
  • Exams are reliant on storing a lot of knowledge in your brain. If you’ve got a great memory then you can probably use it in your favour when you need to put pen to paper. Reeling out fact after fact could set you above the rest.

As you have much less time to proof and perfect your work in an exam, there’s less pressure to produce a flawless piece of work compared to a coursework essay where you’ve had three weeks to perfect your paper.

CONS

  • Exams aren’t for everyone. One of the biggest criticisms of using exams as a form of assessment is that the pressure can crumble even the most capable of candidates. Exams are quite an intense experience, and not everyone can cope with pre-exam pressure, time constraints, and not to mention that annoying pen-clicker who gets on everyone’s nerves.
  • If your memory isn’t your strong point, exams can be a stressful experience. Coursework gives students the opportunity to take their time and use other resources to aid their work.
  • You’ve revised for weeks… your room is covered in post-it notes… but what happens if on the day you completely misread the question?!

Which ever modules you choose, at Newcastle University we provide award winning support for our students, from academic tutors to pastoral care from the Student Support teams.

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