Midterm exams are next week for my students. Each teacher creates a different type of exam but all exams must have at least one essay. My junior level exam has 3 rather lengthy essays to answer. My students receive the essay questions at least 3 days before the exam to prepare for it. I also allow them to write bullet points and notes on an index card and use it on the day of the exam (for the essay exam only). All of my classes have elected to take the essay portion of the exam the week before the regular exam. They complain because they have to write one full page or five paragraphs of at least five sentences/paragraph. I believe that if they are able to take all the content I have taught them and synthesize it into an essay format through their critical thinking skills then they understand the lessons I have taught them.
As mad as it makes them to prepare and write my essays, it will serve them well when they go to college and are familiar with essays and not threatened by their length or intensity. I am truly trying to prepare my students for college. I am also trying to help them think on a much more creative and critical level.
Say a little prayer for my students that they prepare and do well. They are great students!