Difficult tests ultimately enrich Tech education

I’m pretty sure I saw the “Five Stages of Grief” during my two-hour kinetics test this past Tuesday.

Some people cried.

Others were shaking their heads, most likely either in denial or in some esoteric prayer.

And of course, I was in the back seat occasionally saying things under my breath that would suggest a large maritime involvement in my life.

But when I walked out the room, I felt surprisingly content with what had just happened. I felt remarkably cool, even content, with the caliber of the test I was given.

In fact, it’s upsetting when students complain that professors make their tests too difficult. Don’t get me wrong—I understand, being on the pre-medicine track, the importance of maintaining good grades. But facile classes can definitely promote a sense of carelessness about the class, especially when other challenging courses are being concurrently taken.

For example, one of the auxiliary classes that I’m taking for my major is unbelievably easy. Simply attending a review session and cramming the night before an exam, without any prior attendance to lecture, could suitably allow me to get a near perfect score on the exam.

However, some of my hardest classes have caused me to appreciate them more. For example, my transport phenomena class last semester asked a lot out of us as far as understanding the class material went. Simple memorization of formulas wasn’t what earned the grade on an exam. In studying the course and struggling  constantly with challenging material, I developed a great appreciation for the beauty that was embedded within those equations. Had my teacher not been as challenging, I would not have been as devout in comprehending the material.

If pure scholastic gain isn’t reason enough to struggle through a class to excel in an exam, then think about the real world. Most jobs will never ask someone to solve a problem that has already been solved. It’s racking one’s brain to find a creative workaround to achieve a goal. The more novel and effective a solution is, the more likely it is to get recognized and for its progenitor to get promoted.

So in turn, when professors give these difficult, challenging exams, they’re merely getting the students ready for the real world by forcing an outside-the-box thinking mentality. Even if they aren’t considered “fair,” having these robust exams forces those who are serious about their education to really rack their brains.

Even if some students argue that professors like to create a distribution by making their tests a certain difficulty, we should take it upon us as students to outperform their expectations. After all, the high-caliber education is what Tech is branded with outside the bounds of Midtown, and sacrificing the difficulty of attaining the degree won’t be beneficial for anyone.