By Rona Ghanbari (1L) & Michael Cockburn (1L)
Despite an overhaul of the first-year curriculum which resulted in fewer exams to schedule than in previous years, the administration has created a schedule that leaves some first-years with only one day between exams.
Students are grouped into courses based on their small group, which remains a year-long course, so the exam schedule varies depending on a student’s particular course bundle.
Last semester, the Contracts/Torts group of first-years had an exam schedule that was very front-heavy, with exams on December 10 and 12, while students in the Torts/Criminal group had exams on December 12 and 17. There was a perception amongst many students that this gave the Torts/Criminal students an advantage, having significantly more time to prepare for each exam. Additionally, students in the Contracts/Torts group experienced more stress than other first-years due to the compressed schedule.
This semester, the same group has a front-loaded and tight schedule, with the first exam on April 13 and the second on April 15. The first exam will take place only four days after the final day of class.
After concerns were raised by the affected students, the Students’ Law Society (SLS) asked the administration whether the compressed exam schedule had any adverse effects on students’ grades. Associate Dean Ben Alarie said there was no statistically significant correlation between having more study time (clear days before an exam) and getting better exam results. Despite this, the perception of inequality remains a stressor for students.
The SLS is working with the administration to reschedule large courses on Thursday, April 9 for the first-years with the most cramped scheduling—the Criminal/Constitutional group—to give students extra time to study for exams.
Students from the other group have also raised concerns, given that the Torts large group exam is also on the first day of exams; there is a perception that canceling one group’s classes but not the other’s is unfair. The SLS and the administration have discussed the possible cancellation of all large classes on Thursday, April 9. However, all small group and LPPE classes scheduled for that Thursday would remain unaffected.