Two-stage exams: A strategy for reducing exam-related stress

Published: 3 October 2019

OpEd by Dr Alice Cherestes, Director, Freshman Program

Students talk about the course as OChem or Orgo, otherwise known as Organic Chemistry, one of the most dreaded courses for any student doing a university science degree. The course, taken mostly in the early stage of a student’s undergraduate degree, requires that material taught during the first week of class be understood and applied many weeks later when students do the final exam.  

I’ve been teaching Organic Chemistry for 20 years and it’s always been my favorite course to teach. I like it because for most students the material is brand new and their curiosity is still very much alive. In my role as professor, I’m not there to only deliver the material and expect students to perform. I try to capitalize on students’ curiosity and make it clear to them that we’re in this together—together, we’ll surmount the difficulty of the course and work towards our common goal: understanding.  


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