Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

EDITORIAL: Increase Study Days, Decrease Stress


The last day of classes for the Spring 2024 semester falls on Tuesday, April 30, and finals begin Friday, May 3, leaving students with just two days to fully devote to preparing for exams. 

Most Georgetown University students take four or five classes, and for many, the end of the semester feels unreasonably crunched for time. Suzie Ahn (CAS ’26) said more time to prepare for final exams after classes have ended would allow her to better manage her time and study her material.

“Sometimes, I have an exam one week and then the final exam for the same class the next week, and the turnaround time is hard to manage with other class deadlines,” Ahn wrote to the Hoya. “I think all students could benefit from more study days so we could have some time to relax and not cram in a semester’s worth of material in the few days we’re given.”

The Editorial Board calls on Georgetown to expand the study day period and give students four days between the end of classes and the beginning of finals to prepare for exams. 

A university spokesperson said the university provost’s office is responsible for approving the final academic calendar, with input from academic deans, associate deans and the Main Campus Executive Faculty, a legislative body composed of faculty representatives from each of the schools on Georgetown’s main campus. The spokesperson said the current period of two days is standard for the university. 

“The University normally designates 2-3 days between the end of classes and the beginning of the final examination period each semester as study days,” a university spokesperson wrote to The Hoya. “This provides time during which undergraduate students can complete the work of the semester and prepare for final examinations.” 

“Academic calendars are carefully reviewed and approved by faculty, deans and university administration,” the spokesperson added. 

Although two study days may be standard practice at Georgetown, many other elite universities allow for a larger buffer between classes and exams. 

This year, Columbia University allowed for three study days in its end-of-semester schedule. The University of Pennsylvania’s study period extends from May 2 to May 5, giving students four days between classes and finals. Students at Harvard University will have seven days after classes have ended to prepare for their final exams.

Although the differences between two, three, four and seven days may seem insignificant, two additional days would be meaningful to many students. 

According to a poll The Hoya conducted on April 11, which garnered 53 responses, 86.8% of student respondents believe that more study days would be beneficial. Just over 56% of students expressed their support for three to four study days, 9.4% of students would prefer five to six days before exams and 20.8% of respondents wanted one full week between classes and exams.

Caroline Saunders (CAS ’26) said two days is not enough time for study days given the intense assignment schedule in the weeks nearing finals.

“At the end of the semester, professors tend to schedule a lot of things right before classes end,” Saunders told The Hoya. “We don’t really have time to start studying for finals until study days start, and two days is not enough time to prepare for five finals.” 

Additional days to prepare for exams could also help students approach the end of the semester with greater reassurance. 

A study in the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) focused on the impacts of acute stress on performance found that abnormal levels of stress can drain individuals of their ability to pay attention, recall information and make good decisions. On the physical side, signs of stress include tension headaches, eye twitches, panic and difficulty sleeping, according to Georgetown University Student Health Services, which offers students mental and physical health services. 

While Student Health offers resources for students who experience abnormally high stress levels during final exams, students still struggle with the tight turnaround between the end of classes and finals.

In addition to serving as days that students can prepare for exams, study days also allow professors time to wrap up any grading that they have to do prior to final exams.

A university spokesperson said professors generally have 72 hours after the final exam time to submit final grades for students.

This leaves professors with little time to finish grading assignments that have spilled over from the end of the semester. With students rushing to complete final projects and papers in the days right before their courses finish, the influx of work creates a backlog that professors must quickly work through to submit grades on time.

“All grades should be submitted by the deadlines posted on the academic calendar,” a university spokesperson wrote. 

Additional study days would give professors more time to carefully assess their students’ work at the end of the semester before grading final exams. 

The goal of final exams must be to accurately and fairly assess students’ learning throughout the semester. Giving Georgetown students more time to properly prepare for exams would alleviate stress, improve the quality of students’ work and allow students to better care for themselves during the most stressful part of the semester.

The Hoya’s Editorial Board is composed of six students and is chaired by the opinion editors. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.

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