Missing an exam can seem catastrophic since it has too many negative consequences many students are trying to avoid so hard. During the rise of online education, technical difficulties are quite common, although some professors don’t see them as an excuse for missing a test. This fact initiated a debate on Reddit, due to one of the users being faced with a faulty online platform.

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Key Takeaways:

  • As online education rises in popularity, it brings unique challenges, including technical issues, feelings of disconnect, and difficulty keeping track of deadlines.
  • Deadlines in college, though often seen as stressful, serve a critical purpose. They teach students about time management, responsibility, and prepare them for real-world expectations.
  • To reduce stress and improve outcomes in exams, students are advised to study in segments, utilize daylight hours efficiently, engage in active learning, and avoid procrastination.

Online education lets students learn from anywhere, which is great, but it can also be quite tricky. Without being in a real classroom, some students feel lost or disconnected, as they miss chatting face-to-face with teachers and classmates. Plus, sometimes technology can cause problems, like slow internet or system glitches. And let’s not forget, it takes a lot of self-control to stay focused at home. On top of these challenges, keeping track of deadlines can be harder when you’re learning online. Without in-person reminders and the regular rhythm of a classroom setting, it’s easier to forget due dates or get caught off-guard. This can add extra stress to an already different way of learning. So, while online learning is super helpful, it can also be tough for some students.

On Reddit, one user expressed concern regarding an online exam for their class. The teacher had posted an announcement stating that the exam was due on Sunday the 27th at 4 p.m. OP attempted to take the exam around 2 p.m. on that day but couldn’t find it listed under the exam tab on their online platform, Blackboard. Adding to the confusion, the teacher had previously changed due dates from Saturdays at 4 p.m. to Sundays and then back to Saturdays earlier in the semester. The author fears that the exam might have closed on Saturday, despite the instructor’s announcement indicating a Sunday deadline. Eager to resolve the issue, OP reached out to the teacher via email twice but did not receive a response even 40 minutes after the exam’s supposed deadline. The author is particularly anxious because they had previously missed a quiz, which the teacher graciously extended. However, the instructor had mentioned that it would be the only extension they would receive. 

“She already extended a quiz that I genuinely missed and said that that was my only chance.”

While the earlier instance was genuinely OP’s oversight, they believe that the current situation wasn’t their fault and hope for understanding from the instructor.

Should College Deadlines Be Strict?

It’s clear nobody likes a strict deadline. The stress it brings can be daunting and demotivate the student, forcing them to procrastinate an assignment or a test entirely. But they exist for a reason, don’t they?

Strict deadlines in college play a crucial role in preparing students for the real world. Think of them as training wheels. In the workplace, deadlines are often non-negotiable, and missing them can have big consequences. College is a bit like a practice ground, where students get to learn the importance of time management and responsibility. There is a number of common reasons why deadlines are important. For example, deadlines help in determining priorities. When you set deadlines, you’re essentially organizing tasks based on their significance, because with countless ways to utilize your time, it’s vital to focus on what truly matters. Moreover, deadlines help you to clarify your objectives. Allocating a specific duration for a task requires a thorough understanding of the task’s parts and the time each part demands. This evaluation gives you a better perspective on your goals and the path to reach them.

Apart from that, as weird as it may sound for some students, a distinct end date forces you to accomplish tasks more creatively. Work smarter, not harder, right? The pressure of imminent deadlines can force you to come up with inventive solutions. Often, constraints can unleash the full creative prowess of individuals or groups. Also, being consistent with deadlines means you’re more likely to uphold your previous promises. And for those students who obsess over perfectionism, deadlines help to prevent it. Without them, there’s a risk of losing yourself because of diving too deep into task details. It’s essential to submit quality work, but you shouldn’t overcomplicate tasks and instead distribute your time wisely and efficiently.

As you can see, by sticking to strict deadlines, students not only get the hang of juggling multiple tasks but also develop a sense of discipline. It might feel tough, but it’s kind of like exercise – it strengthens your skills for later. Plus, it’s a way for professors to ensure fairness; everyone gets the same amount of time. So, while it might be tempting to wish for flexible deadlines, there’s a good reason behind the strict ones we often encounter in college.

Be Prepared for Anything: Redditors Share Their Advice

Missing an important deadline such as an exam can force everything that follows to tumble. It’s very hard to get back to your previous schedule and workload, especially at the end of the semester, when lots of assignments start to pile. Due to this fact, it is absolutely necessary to avoid procrastinating your exam deadlines, even if you think you have enough time. The most upvoted comments under the post expressed that any student should have “a safety net” and take the test or submit a paper as soon as they can.

“Unfortunately a lot of professors can be stern about preparedness for exams and are less sympathetic toward students who take them at the last minute. Taking it two hours before it is due is very risky.”

“Whew! Been there, done that where I missed a final exam. Please take this as a heavy piece of advice. Do not wait until last minute to take important exams like this. I follow a golden rule with college work: Anything that can go wrong, most likely will go wrong.”

One of the commenters shared a sentiment, highlighting the fact that we are too dependent on circumstances when studying online since many things could interfere with our ability to be present during class. 

“I used to wait til the last minute to take exams because it gave me more time to study, but eventually I became too paranoid about this exact scenario and started taking them earlier. Online exams need optimal conditions, and there’s a chance that something goes wrong when you wait til the last minute. Your neighbor is throwing a loud party, your computer malfunctions, the power goes out, there’s a storm, you’re stuck in traffic and can’t get home, etc.”

Due to such factors, it’s super important to reach out to your teacher or professor if something goes wrong during online learning, especially during an exam. Things can sometimes mess up online, like tech issues or confusing instructions. When this happens, your teacher needs to know so they can help fix it or give guidance. It’s their job to support you. Plus, by telling them right away, they’ll understand what happened and might be more flexible or offer solutions. If you stay quiet, they might think you just didn’t do the work or try hard enough. Always speak up to avoid bigger problems later.

“Missing an exam can be incredibly stressful, but you did the right thing by immediately reaching out to your teacher to clarify the situation.”

So, to eliminate the stress, you should approach your exam preparations responsibly and keep in touch with your teachers if anything goes wrong. After all, we are human and it’s okay that something goes wrong from time to time. The most important thing is how you deal with it.

How to Handle Your Exams with Minimum Stress

Navigating college life can be busy, but good study habits can make all the difference. The Randolph-Macon Colege shared a list of tips for students who are struggling under the immense pressure of exams, since striking the right balance in academics can be very challenging. Here are some of them:

  1. Study in Chunks: Segment material and time and don’t forget to take breaks between different subjects.
  2. Use Daylight Hours: Stay active during the day and try to avoid naps, since they can mess up with the learning process.
  3. Make Healthy Choices: Prioritize sleep, monitor stress, and eat healthily. Those are very basic tips, but they proved themselves to be quite universal.
  4. Active Learning: Engage critically with material by asking questions. This way your professor will see your interest in their subject.
  5. Find the Right Place to Study: Choose a location that complements your study habits. A nosy bar is definitely not the right choice!
  6. Get Organized: Prepare all your study materials and notes in advance. It will be easier for you to revise everything and remember the necessary info.
  7. Plan Ahead: Begin revising early, especially for cumulative exams. Don’t wait for the night before!
  8. Say, “Goodbye” to Distractions: Keep focus by eliminating disturbing things like your phone, TV, or even background music.
  9. Create a Study Group: Engage in meaningful discussions but stay on topic. You’re all in this together, so having a peer to revise the information with can be very helpful.
  10. Create Study Materials: Utilize tools like flashcards and online platforms for a more interactive study experience. By stimulating different parts of your brain you will be able to tackle a broad set of tasks.

Of course, it’s all easier said than done, but if you start to apply them one by one into your academic routine, you will be amazed at how efficient you can be. So keep up the good work and good luck on your next exam!


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