Exams are a great way to reinforce and evaluate students’ understanding of the course content and main ideas. There are several different ways to approach exams including an in-class essay, short essays, multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blank, matching, quote/passage identification, character identification, etc. with plenty of flexibility for what an instructor deems important. Most instructors that choose to assign exams give both a midterm and final, though some just choose a comprehensive final. Of those who do give both, the midterm and final exam often look similar in style and content so students can expect consistency in the testing methods. Many instructors choose to test the first half of the course’s information in the middle of the semester through a midterm and the rest of the semester at the final. In other words, the course’s information is not cumulative and lets students focus on the most current concepts so they do not need to remember trivial details such as minor characters from the first text at the end of the semester.
Midterm Exams: Midterm exams often come at the midpoint in the semester. As stated previously in the overview, instructors sometimes divide the class into two sections so that the course’s information is not cumulative. This strategy emphasizes making the overall picture or most recent concepts most important instead of testing on characters or plot lines from the first text of the semester.
Final Exams: Final exams are similar to midterms except given at the end of the semester. Keep in mind that according to university policy,
“Final examination week is part of the regular semester. Student attendance shall be consistent with University policy. The final in-class examination period is intended for the end-of-semester examination. No in-class examination constituting more than 10% of the final course grade may be given in undergraduate courses during the week preceding the final examination period of the semester; laboratory, performance and other alternative classes (e.g., courses in the individualized mathematics program) excluded.”
This does not indicate that instructors must give a final, only that they must use the time. If you do decide to give a final, here are a few sample finals to give you ideas for your own. Many of them follow the same format and structure of the midterm exams.