Why coursework is better than exams
Start writing a post

Why coursework is better than exams

Coursework VS Exams

Why coursework is better than exams

Nowadays, many students and teachers alike agree that our traditional Western educational system has many flaws or is at least ineffective, failing to keep up-to-date with other scopes of our society. In this context, there is no word that brings forth more shivers than "exams", regardless of which school or university year the student may be.

The reasons why students fear the word "exam" are many but the core of it all lies in the anxiety it evokes. And with our world becoming ever more globalized, discussions over new methods of teaching - especially in terms of evaluation – are much more common.

Among the questions raised are the effectiveness and fairness of exams – which consequently promotes the search for other alternatives to this traditional and even outdated method of assessing the student's performance. In this search for optimizing evaluation systems, the concept of coursework comes as an efficient alternative to exams, easy to apply in all situations or educational frameworks.

What is coursework

Unlike the exam method – which relies on a final test englobing a huge amount of content to assess a grade to the performance of a student – a coursework approach opts for a more consistent evaluation over a longer period of time. In other words, coursework is any practical or written tasks performed by the student throughout the months of study. These are then compiled as a summary of the student's performance and added to the final grade at the end of the academic year.

Hence, a coursework oriented course provides a much more balanced and accurate evaluation of how much a given student actually understood about the subjects discussed. However, not all schools or university courses can be fully coursework-based and many argue that the very freedom a coursework provides may ultimately hinder the student's ability to learn as he/she may get far too much "outside help". While this may be a valid point at first glance, once a pupil understands his/her responsibility towards the flexibility granted by coursework (and how not taking it seriously can affect their performance in the future), they are more likely to study hard.

With that in mind, below are some reasons why coursework is better than exams:

Less stress

This is probably the main motive for students to cringe at the thought of an exam: the fact that exams induce stress. But it is not only the stress generated on the day of the exam what weighs most people down; there is the whole anticipation for that single decisive moment that can make or break your final result. Such anticipation often comes to life in the form of sleepless nights, constant worries and far too many revisions. Conversely, when doing coursework you don't have to deal with a decisive moment and thus are able to relax more and perform better.

No time restrictions

Although deadlines are a part of the coursework approach, the fact that those usually involve a couple of weeks to finish an assignment (as opposed to a couple of hours) makes the practice much more organic. In the same way, having more time to complete a given task or write a paper means you can choose when to work on it and thus avoid moments when your productivity levels are down. This is particularly important for people who, for instance, are more active late at night – not the usual time for a regular exam. Moreover, the pressure generated by having to finish something right there and then, within a very short timespan, is non-existent in coursework based systems.

You are free to outsource help

Another relevant feature of coursework is that it allows you to seek out help from friends and colleagues if it needs be, while in an exam you are on your own and under pressure of getting it right. When thinking about it, the objective of an exam is to assess how much the student has learned and just because he/she doesn't remember (or can't understand the question) at that minute it doesn't mean the information hasn't been absorbed. Sometimes we just need a push, or a helping hand to show us another direction. After all, we are not alone in the world and chances are you will be interacting and learning from people for the rest of your life. That alone is a strong argument for bringing in more coursework to education systems – the sharing of knowledge.

Explore a variety of resources

One thing we can all agree on is that we are no robots. Likewise, we learn in different ways, at a distinct pace and have more or fewer limitations to absorb information. While exams require you to access info gathered over a large period of time and express it clearly right there and then, coursework-based programs allow you to explore resources other than your own memory. For example, a student may choose some website to help him/her on a specific assignment or at least part of it. When this website has provided the assistance needed, the student may refer to a book, a podcast, a YouTube tutorial – whatever assists him/her to access and unlock relevant information.

Change as you go

As an exam cliche, many of us have answered something on question 2 only to want to change it with 5 minutes before the end. This is yet another unfair characteristic of an exam – the inability to change your mind, or if you do so, is limited by the clock. On the other hand, coursework systems encourage you to review what you have already thought to have finished since we often leave some important remarks out.

These are some of the pros of choosing coursework over exams, but then again, we all have our preferences and some people may still opt for the latter. Still, if you are about to choose your modules or if you have the opportunity to change something in a given education program, make sure to keep in mind the flexibility of coursework.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments