Upper division writing exam too cramped

Melanie Saxe

Taking a test can be stressful for many students, but it can be especially tense if the classroom conditions are not comfortable.

On April 21, I waited in line with more than a hundred other students to take the Upper Division Writing Exam. At 10 a.m., we walked into the Johnson Auditorium.

The Johnson Auditorium holds 150 seats, and in minutes each seat was filled.

It’s very disappointing that we had to take a writing exam in a cramped auditorium. Everything about the auditorium made it very hard for me to concentrate and even harder for me to freely express my thoughts on paper.

Seats in auditoriums were not meant for sitting in while taking a writing exam. The seats almost force you to lean back, which is not what you want to do when writing. If anything, auditoriums were designed for listening to lectures.

Also, auditorium chairs do not provide good posture for writing. Many students had to sit up closer and move around many times before they were able to get a chair that provided a comfortable posture.

For taking a writing test, it’s important to have a desk big enough to write on. The seats in the auditorium come with tiny flip-up desks on the right side. These small desks barely fit a scantron, let alone a large blue book. The seats are also not meant for people who are left-handed, which made it even harder for me.

For subjects like sociology or history, these desks may be fine. Even taking a Scantron test, students usually have enough room to sit one or two seats apart to avoid bumping into each other.

Many students voiced their opinion to the person next to them, and other students laughed about how crowded it was. It was clear that something wasn’t right about this kind of poor treatment while taking a test.

I wonder how the university could have overlooked such a thing. It’s vital for the university to provide students with their own desk and college seat in order for them to be able to concentrate.

The writing exam may not be a math or science test, but it is still a test that everyone needs to pass before they are eligible to graduate.

April 21 was the last test date of the spring semester. For some students, this could have been their last chance to pass the test before graduation.

Space and comfort are essential when taking a writing test that lasts for an hour and a half. These minor changes can be the difference between someone passing or failing this test.

I hope that someone will be able to organize better testing conditions for future students with the $20 that we are required to pay. How hard could it be? Our campus is full of classrooms where each student can have their own desk, especially on a Saturday.