Reading Day Established for Fall Semester, Brings Saturday Final Exams

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Empire State Building, NEW YORK– The 2012-2013 academic calendar will now include one reading day, a full day without classes for students to study for fall semester finals. The addition comes at the cost of holding final exams on a Saturday.

Classes will end Wednesday, Dec. 12, and finals will begin Friday, Dec. 14, designating Thursday, Dec. 13 a reading day. Finals continue on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"There are only so many days in the year, so we need to make some compromises in the academic calendar," Registrar James Berneking said.

The King's Council compiled a report in January after students and faculty expressed frustration last semester because finals began the morning after the last day of classes. Classes ended on Wednesday, Dec. 7, and finals began Dec. 8 and continued until Dec. 14.

"At least in my House, everyone missed [reading days] and really wanted reading days," Thatcher President Becca Peterson said.

"I think all of us noticed that students were much more stressed during finals," Student Body President Madison Peace said.

The Council voted on two options that would allow reading days: add one reading day and push final exams onto Saturday, or add one reading day and shorten Fall Break by one day, which would make Fall Break a three-day weekend. The first option won.

Delaying final exams and holding reading days, also called "dead week" or "hell week", is a common practice among colleges and universities ranging from Ivy League universities like Harvard and Columbia to public funded campuses like Baruch College (City University of New York) and Penn State University.

In previous years, King's has usually provided two reading days each semester, sometimes on the weekend. This semester, for example, finals begin on a Monday. Other years, two reading days have been allotted before or after the weekend, giving students four full days to study. Exceptions include fall 2004 and fall 2005, which allowed one reading day and a Saturday with final exams.

"I think that holding final exams on Saturday is a great way to give students a little time to catch their breath and study before beginning final exams while still allowing students, faculty and staff to be home in time for Christmas," Berneking said.

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