Special to the Collegian By: Brandon Guthier
Prepare yourselves, Fresno State students, midterms may be over, but finals week is quickly approaching. Soon it will be time for the moment all of you do not look forward to – taking a final exam inside the University Test Center.
Taking an exam of any kind is stressful enough, so the last thing Fresno State students need are more reasons to feel stressed out during finals week.
Some Fresno State students like Ethan Blair believe having to take exams in the University Test Center has caused just that.
“I hate having to wait in line to take a test, especially on finals week when everyone is trying to take one,” Blair said. “I’m already stressing out.”
Past experiences at the testing center make some students like Blair prefer to take exams in a classroom.
“I really don’t like taking tests there,” said he.
Fresno State student Doug Rutherford said the testing center’s environment is very strict.
“The way they are with calculators, the weird little rules that they have – and the fact that they walk up and down the little walkways and desks and everything. That does not make it easy to take a test. I’m already terrible and nervous about taking tests, so that just doesn’t help somebody like me at all,” he said.
Testing Services director Rita Bocchinfuso-Cohen said that the numbers of instructors who use the testing center has grown 400 percent since it opened and by more than 30 percent each year since, creating a big problem for everybody.
“There’s certainly not enough space for every course and section that possibly would want to assign an exam to the test center,” she said.
Bocchinfuso-Cohen and her colleagues have been working tirelessly to find solutions to the issue. With finals week on the horizon, they try to work with the Classroom Reservations Office to find empty classrooms that could be used for remote testing sites.
They are continuing to strategize for this semester’s finals, willing to do anything to “alleviate the backup and the lines that occur.”
A lot of that backup comes from what Bocchinfuso-Cohen refers to as the “peak period.”
“There is a peak period that students will come to take their exams. Pretty much 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the peak period, so even though we might have a seven-and-a-half to eight-hour testing window on a regular basis, they’re shooting for the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which creates a problem,” she said.
Bocchinfuso-Cohen and her staff have already proposed some changes to help combat that issue. One of those changes will be extended hours during finals week.
“We’ve already started advertising some of our strategies to the faculty that have used the test centers to make them aware and to make their students aware about some of those changes so that hopefully students will have a more positive experience when their exam is assigned there,” Bocchinfuso-Cohen said.