Tag Archives: Exams


14 Feb
Honor is everything at W&L

Honor is everything at W&L

From ‘The Honor System’ on the W&L website:

Honor is the moral cornerstone of Washington and Lee University. Commitment to honor is recognized by every student, faculty member, administrator, and staff member of the University. Honor provides the common thread woven through the many aspects of this institution and creates a community of trust and respect affecting fundamentally the relationships of all its members.

The centrality of honor at Washington and Lee is contained in its Honor System. The Board of Trustees has granted to students the privilege of overseeing the administration of the Honor System. The sole penalty for an Honor System violation is dismissal from the University. These responsibilities are administered by the Executive Committee of the Student Body, a group of students elected annually by their peers.

Academic life is essentially shaped by the commitment to honor. Assuming that students will behave honorably, the faculty grants flexibility in the scheduling of most final examinations, and all are taken without supervision. Take-home closed book examinations are a common occurrence. The pledge, “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this (exam, test, paper, etc.),” expresses the student’s promise that the work submitted is his or hers alone. Students’ dedication to honorable behavior creates a strong bond of trust among them and between them and the faculty. This student dedication and the bond that it engenders also provide the basis for the faculty’s commitment to accepting a student’s word without question.

The dedication to behave honorably is not confined to academic life. It is expected that students will respect each other’s word and intellectual and personal property in the residence halls and the Greek houses, on the playing field, in the city of Lexington, or wherever Washington and Lee students take themselves. This principled expectation provides the foundation for the community of trust which students seek to create not only in the academic sphere but in life outside it, as well.

The Honor System has been a unique feature of Washington and Lee University for well over a century. Thousands of students have lived under it while in residence, have been morally shaped by it, and as alumni and alumnae, continue to be guided by it in their professional lives. Current students are as committed to it as were those who lived and studied here before them, and they maintain with firm conviction this distinctive ideal of the University.


“On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this blog post.” -Ali


8 Dec

It is so nice being able to schedule your own finals. You have the option to take them all right away and finish or spread them out over the course of a week. Personally, I like finishing them right off the bat so these next few days will be long ones. I have four finals and am planning to take one each day starting today with Ordinary Differential Equations. Fun stuff right there. But the best thing about suffering through the next few days is the feeling you get once you turn in that last exam, which will be The New Testament for me. I can’t wait for that feeling of accomplishment and relief once I am done. Just like all here on campus though, got to get back to studying. Enjoy!

Tour Guide Spotlight: Cameron Dorsey ’14

6 Dec

Cameron Dorsey ’14

Hometown: Pepper Pike, OH

Major(s)/Minor(s): Art History/Museum Studies

What clubs/activities are you involved in on campus? Women’s Tennis team, RUF, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority

How are you involved in the Lexington community? Relay4Life participant

What are some of your other hobbies/interests? I love lacrosse, doing crafts, and telling jokes

Favorite weekend activity? Brunch on Sundays

Favorite thing about Lexington? It’s small, but comfortable. It doesn’t overwhelm you and it’s easy to navigate.

What’s your favorite W&L memory? Exam week, the school was distributing stress balls for students. My friends and I decided it was a good idea to relieve our stress by having a stress dodge ball war in the library.

What’s the best encounter you’ve had with a faculty or staff member? After I was involved in a car accident, all of my professors sent me personal emails giving me their condolences and hoping that I get better.

How to survive exams!

6 Dec

As we finish up the last two days of classes, students at Washington and Lee enter the most grueling part of the semester: Finals. Although we are lucky enough to have the ability to schedule our exams (thank you, Honor System), exams are still the most stressful time of the year for most students. Some students take all their finals in the first few days of exam week and get home as soon as possible, while others spread out their exams as much as possible for study time and stay until the very last day. No matter your personal strategy for exam taking, there are a few undisputed ways to survive exams at W&L. In my opinion, there are two ways to survive exams at W&L:

1. Utilize the free coffee in the Co-op and in Leyburn: Since Lexington Coffee Shop is my favorite place in Lexington; you might understand why I appreciate free coffee. My roommate and I started the LexCo tradition early in the semester. It wasn’t long before our weekly trip turned into an addiction satisfied several times a week. The free coffee during exams reduced my expensive trips to LexCo and allowed me to have at least three or four cups of coffee a day, which is only truly acceptable during finals.

2Go to the midnight breakfast in D-hall: There are some dinners, which usually include grilled chicken, broccoli, and macaroni and cheese, which go above and beyond expectations. Thanksgiving dinner is the most delectable meal at d-hall, second to the Harvest Dinner before Thanksgiving. Still, the midnight breakfast was by far the best meal of the entire semester. The dining hall was full of upperclassmen and freshmen all using this study break to stress eat. It’s so worth it.

On the positive side, there are a few things about exams that make them almost fun, in the slightest ways. For me, these things include the excuse to use highlighters, legal pads, post-it notes, and staplers excessively. My appreciation for office supplies and organization thrives during exams. After a few sleepless nights and dozens of cups of coffee, I will be sure to survive another set of exams at Washington and Lee.


4 Dec

It is that time of the here again. We are not far removed from Thanksgiving and we are so close to Winter Break and the Holidays. There is only one thing in the way, finals. Yes, students take them at every school and I don’t think anyone of us enjoy them. But, the feeling you get once you finish them all is unbeatable. The weight that is lifted off your shoulders is immense and since we take our finals before break, not all schools do, we have at least three full weeks of time away from school work and the grind of classes. I can’t wait! But for now it is time to buckle done, and finish the semester well so all of the hard work pays off. So let me get back to work, while listening to some Christmas music. Still have to lighten the mood and have some fun here!

Something Special

26 Nov

Unlike many schools, Washington and Lee offers a full week off from school for Thanksgiving. The extra two days of Monday and Tuesday allows students to reach home with plenty of time to fully relax and decompress. As students return to campus one usually finds that most simply chose to sleep, eat, and do as little as possible over break. Many used the week off to recharge for the soon to come exam week.

Also differing from many schools, W&L grants students a full week to take all of their exams. There are no pre-set scheduled exam times or arrangements. Each student individually chooses when he or she will take their exams that week. This freedom to choose lessens the stress of a foreboding exam week, even if only slightly.

The ability to choose your own exam schedule is one of the many examples of trust and freedom that the school gives to students.  These opportunities are some of the reasons why W&L is so unique and special. To some people Washington and Lee may be special because of the location of the school amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains or the history and traditions of the school. For others it may be the assurance that the school itself believes its students to be good enough citizens and to not cheat while taking an exam alone. Any number of reasons make this school a unique and special place; you just have to find which one does it for you.

And the countdown begins…

11 Nov

Just one more week until Thanksgiving break!  As we head into the final stretch of the fall semester, students all around campus are gearing up to finish as many tests, essays, and assignments as possible before their last class on Friday.  For many students, the chance to relax and rejuvenate at home with friends and family for an entire week is an eagerly-anticipated event – and a much needed one, too.  After we come back from break, December will be right around the corner, and then the end of the semester before we know it!  And thus the countdown begins…

We’re all in it together

20 Oct

One of my favorite parts about W&L is that I have a lot in common with my classmates. We are all hardworking, determined to do well in our classes, but also passionate about other activities and interested in having fun.

Over the past two weeks, we have had midterm exams and midterm papers due. Although this period is usually accompanied by stress and long nights in the library, it is bearable because we are all going through the same thing. We all feel some pressure and we all want to succeed. In high school, I was sometimes frustrated because I felt like I was the only one who cared about doing well and working hard. That is not at all the case at W&L.

I bond with my friends over our desire to do well in school. We also bond over looking forward to having fun when our work is finished!

Take Home Midterm

16 Oct

I am so happy about the W&L Honor System for many reasons, but this week especially I am thankful for it because of my Solid Mechanics midterm.  It is a take-home exam, and I have 24 hours to complete it and then return it to my professor.  I can take it in my room, in the library, in a classroom, or even outside if I want.  I love the mutual trust and respect the Honor System creates between professors and students.

Buckling Down

15 Oct

Fall foliage in full force

After a restful Reading Days, the undergraduate students are back on campus and gearing up for midterms. It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through October and halfway through the fall semester. Itensity is picking up, whether that be in our coursework or seniors’ preparations for “life after W&L.” Several of my friends have been preparing for medical school and Teach For America interviews, while others await LSAT scores in order to complete their law school applications. But these preparations don’t just apply to seniors. I’ve already heard of sophomores and juniors applying for Spring Term courses and summer internships, so it seems that plenty of people are trying to balance their focus on midterms and future adventures right now. Thankfully, we have Lexington’s foliage to help us take a deep breath, put everything in perspective, and appreciate the beauty of fall in Virginia!