Tests vs. Projects: Projects


It is 3 a.m. the morning of a test, and you are cramming every fact on your study guide that you don’t remember learning all year. You don’t look up from that study guide all night until 7:45 a.m. because you have to walk to class.

You get to class and take your test. It might go well, it might not. Regardless of the success,  you walk out of class and think back on the things you studied all night.

You don’t remember any of it.

That is the problem with tests. It’s all memorization. Rarely do students retain the information they study.

Projects are completely different. Normally, students get to pick a topic they are interested in when they have a project. A student is going to be more inclined to spend quality time on a project when they are interested in the topic than studying for a test that they are not interested in. In a media studies class I took, we had to do a report on a company in the media business. This allowed some students to study movie companies. Some looked at TV networks. Others studied newspapers. When we got to choose a topic that was personal to us, we spent much more time and effort on it.

Also, projects require students to spread out their work over a longer period of time than a test. A lot of time, projects require gathering information, running reports on that information, writing a paper on what you learned, putting together a presentation, and practicing that presentation. That is impossible to do in one night. This eliminates cramming. When students are reviewing their information daily for weeks, they are going to retain the information more.

College is a way to prepare us for our next stage of our lives, and our next stage in our lives will not require us to take tests. Projects put us in the real world and make us apply ourselves to problems we will actually face first-hand in our professions. Between the lack of cramming, the ability to focus in on a specific topic that you are interested in and the real life application, projects are much more beneficial than tests.