Copious amounts of caffeine, never-ending assignments, sleepless nights and endless amounts of stress have notoriously been associated with the week before finals, also known by Murray State students as “dead week.”
For Kari Street, senior from Paducah, Ky., the week before finals has been anything but “dead.”
“This week I have had two huge papers and three projects due,” Street said. “By the end of this week I will be feeling pretty ‘dead.’”
She said she will only have one final during finals week due to exams being given during dead week.
Even with the week of May 5-9 being officially set aside for the purpose of giving final examinations, some Murray State professors administered final examinations the week before.
According to a letter sent to deans, department chairs, faculty and the Student Government Association from Jay Morgan, vice president of Academic Affairs, “Final examinations shall be given only during (the May 5-9) period.”
Exceptions to this request are courses meeting at special sites that are on different schedules, courses for which department chairs have approved an early examination for extraordinary reasons and make-up tests.
Belmont University, which has nearly 7,000 students and, like Murray State, is located in the Ohio Valley region, has a specific day during the week before finals called “dead day” where classes do not meet for students to have time to study for finals.
Samantha Harms, sophomore at Belmont, said she feels time to prepare for finals is essential to doing well.
“I think that Belmont gives (students) adequate time to prepare; they let (students) know in advance what will be due and if (students) work ahead, finals week is a breeze,” Harms said.
She said having a day set aside to study is beneficial for students.
“Dead day lets students catch up on school work and lets them work ahead or allows (students) to rest before buckling down and finishing school,” Harms said.
Renae Duncan, associate vice president of Academic Affairs, said giving assignments before finals can be beneficial instead of detrimental to students in preparing for final examinations.
“Assignments would be helping students process the information at a deeper level and would be preparing students for the final instead of getting in the way of the exam,” Duncan said.
However, she said she does understand assignments can be time-consuming and an irritation for students.
Alex Donovan, junior from Columbia, Ill., said although he has not personally had any finals during dead week, he can see the stress it can cause to students.
“I think that it is silly to have big assignments due right before the final,” he said. “I can understand a little bit this year because of the snow days that we had earlier in the semester, but professors should still try and stick to the syllabus and allow enough time to prepare for the final.”
In the letter from Morgan it said, “Excessive scheduling of tests during the last week of regularly scheduled classes, coupled with the upcoming final examinations, may place students at a serious disadvantage.”
According to an article by the Washington Post about tips for preparing for finals, working out, eating right and getting enough sleep can make a big difference in success. Some of the less obvious tips included working in study groups, setting a schedule to prioritize time and double-checking all exam times.
Duncan said her advice to students is to spend a little time each day studying for each class, teaching the material to someone else and working in groups.
Preparing for finals, along with the large amount of assignments due the week before, is stressful for students, Street said.
Said Street: “This is my fourth year at Murray State, so I am getting used to (there not being a dead week).”
Story by Rebecca Walter, News Editor