Final exam scheduling found impenetrable

To the Editor:

In the December 6 issue of The Polytechnic, PU Lucas Johnson criticized the final exam scheduling this year. He’s right; it’s ridiculous. As some students may remember, last semester there was a push to improve the scheduling of final exams. The goals included fewer conflicts and notification at registration time of the status of a final exam for a course —both valid and positive goals. The one thing the schedule this semester did accomplish was publishing the schedule early in the year. I, for one, was impressed.

I read on to the chart of final exams. The thing is obfuscated beyond belief. First, there’s a grid of slots 1A, 1B, … 5D. Seems simple enough. “Common exam time period will be designated for course exams that meet at the same time (for example Chem Mat).” This I do not understand. Are these exams for common classes, or exams which have a time slot in common? Does Chem Mat meet at the same time as itself?

Moving on, let’s suppose I want to find out what time the final for Operating Systems (CSCI 4210) section one is. This is a good thing to suppose because I actually do want to know. There’s a chart which tells me that since the class starts at 12 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, it should take exam slot 3B. Very well, let’s check that against the rest of the schedule. If I look at the common exams chart, CSCI 4210 turns out to have slot 4D. Very interesting. But CSCI 4210 is also listed as being a regularly scheduled final exam, taking slot 2A. This one has an asterisk with the phrase “RSVP course.” Well, it is an RSVP course but I’m taking it here, in person. … Suspiciously, neither 4D nor 2A are 3B, the first answer I got for the time for my final. At this point I’m about ready to give up; who wants to take an exam at 8 am anyway?

Ethan H. Schwartz
CSCI ’02