As exams begin to wind down, Bwog advocatus diaboli John Sarlitto defends what has been making your life a living hell since Friday: the in-class final.
“How many finals do you have?” you might hear someone ask in those heady twilight moments of the semester, before the darkness and the shadows truly set in. A common enough response goes something like, “Four, but it’s ok; two are take-homes.”
Friends, set aside my unconvincing attempt to simulate human dialogue—because this sentiment is definitively NOT ok.
I’m here to defend the much-maligned in-class final, but against what? Just as spiders have the basilisk and your stomach has weird John Jay meat, the in-class has an ancient enemy it fears above all others: the term paper. The voices of our ancestors have weighed in on their mortal combat before, and the contest will rage long after all of us are gone. This isn’t the place to resolve it. The take-home, however, is an unwelcome interloper. Somewhere between essay and exam, it embodies the worst elements of each.