Up until recently, I thought most classes in college weren’t composed of multiple choice tests. I figured college was a place you got your hands dirty and learned how to deal with real-life material, as you would in your professional field. While my major (journalism) and some others actually do this, I feel most of the majors offered at UF are lacking when it comes to providing students with real world experiences. It’s time we start talking about this.
In the journalism school, we pride ourselves with having classes that produce end results, not test scores. In the past two and a half years I can think of four to five classes where I had to take multiple choice tests. The majority of our classes either focus on producing semester-long multimedia projects and stories, or focus on some type of speciality, like photojournalism or editing. These are all things we’d do on the job — to some extent.
But a lot of majors don’t have this. In fact, I’ve spoken with people in other fields who feel like they walk out of UF with little to no work to show, and it makes me think maybe the problem isn’t the students, but the way classes are structured.
While multiple choice tests are needed in some areas, it shouldn’t be the backbone of someone’s degree. How much can you really learn from a test that gives you a 25 percent shot at guessing an answer right? Not much in my opinion. Multiple choice and true or false questions are the lazy way out. They don’t force you to think or pull from your memory when the information is served to you on a platter. It’s black and white, whereas the majority of degrees provided here aren’t. In most professions, employers won’t ask you for your grades, and they don’t care how well you were able to memorize formulas and terms. They’ll want a product or for you to talk about how you lead a team, not how well you were able to cram for a test using a Study Edge packet.
This in turn makes students unable to land internships and jobs later on in their college career because of lack of real-world experience. We’re taught to read and cram for tests when we should be learning how to mentally engage ourselves or how to develop products similar to what we would in our industry. We’re told that our degree will hold its weight, but what happens when it doesn’t? Most people can get a degree in something; the hard part is showing you know how to use it.
As I look back on college with all of four weeks left, I can’t help but think of one of the best classes I took as an undergraduate. This class was called Applied Fact Finding, which, if you’re not in journalism, sounds like it’d be an easy class. It’s essentially a class that teaches students how to use public records to find information on people, aka online stalking 101.
Our final in this class, at least when I took it, consisted of being given certain information and then having to figure out additional information on either a business or a person.
The class not only taught you how to think under pressure but also how to put pieces of a complex puzzle together to find information. I still to this day use the skills I learned in that class. I don’t think I would have learned as much if the test had been multiple choice.
Dear readers, if you’ve made it this far and realized that your major is filled to the brim with multiple-choice exams, and you’re not really learning the skills you think you should be, I encourage you to find a way to obtain those skills. Whether it be a part-time job or something else along those lines, you’re paying a good amount of money to be here, so make sure it’s worthwhile.
Sara Marino is a UF journalism senior. Her column appears on Wednesday.