By Tommy de Jongh
Students come from all over the world to attend Western Michigan University. The exams given at Western may be very difficult for those international students due to cultural differences.
“I have no problem with exams although it gives me time pressure,” said Kamil Jebur, an Arabic graduate student at WMU. “No problem studying and prepping for it.”
Jebur also said that timed exams at Western need to be longer because English is not the first language for most international students and it takes them more time to finish the test.
International students also have different opinions about what exams they prefer to take depending on where they are from.
“I believe multiple choice is not a good evaluation; I prefer short answer because it is easier to write analysis,” said Shayan Nabeel, a graduate student from Afghanistan.
“For example, here they give us six questions and choose four; in Afghanistan they would make us do all ten,” Nabeel said.
Deogracious Upakawoth, a student from Uganda prefers something different .“Multiple choice is easier because when you see things from a list, it is easier to recognize,” said Upakawoth. “Where I’m from, exams are harder and ineffective but here they are [easier and effective].”
Yicheng Zhon, a graduate student from China, said he prefers final exams that are presentations of projects he’s worked on. “It helps me have deep expression of knowledge,” he said.
The international students also compared taking exams at Western to taking exams in their home countries. For some, exams at WMU are easier and for others they are not.
“In Uganda you must really study everything,” Upakawoth said. “Asking (a) teacher for help is considered cheating. There are no study guides. No multiple choice, mainly short answer, essays and sometimes matching.”
Fahad Dughalther of Saudi Arabia had this comparison:“Here there are many essay questions. In Saudi Arabia you answer more multiple choice questions.”