As the term slowly approaches its end, students gear up in preparation for finals week, the last set of challenges they must face before enjoying sweet freedom.
Depending on the subject you’re reviewing for, these challenges can mean a variety of things. Usually, it’s reviewing pages upon pages of notes, remembering and understanding all kinds of significant details. Meanwhile, for subjects that involve a lot of math, it’s memorizing dozens of complicated formulas while practicing on sets of exercises and examples.
However, for MARKET1, things work a little bit differently. One of the things that makes the introductory marketing course stand out is the uniqueness of its final exam: a departmental take-home exam consisting of 50 multiple choice questions. While this may not seem like much of a challenge, it’s one of the trickiest tests you might end up taking throughout your stay in DLSU.
Peers and pressure
So why is the MARKET1 a take-home exam? Milette Zamora, a legend within the marketing department and the maker of the exam, states that the MARKET1 finals are complicated enough that having to answer it alone and under time pressure might be too difficult. “It takes a while to analyze what the questions are. And I made the questions difficult enough na sobra na yung torture na ‘yan kapag nag-iisa na ninyong ginagawa.”
Furthermore, she adds that the take-home exam is a test of not only a student’s knowledge of the subject, but also of their character. Given a week to answer it, students are expected to devote their time to analyzing, answering, and reviewing the test over and over before finally passing it to the professor. Often times, though, students procrastinate and answer the exam only the night before, or a few hours before the class.
Meanwhile, some students form study groups and answer the test together, an idea that Zamora does not necessarily object to. However, when worse comes to worst, these students—having similar answers—still end up failing the exam. “It’s just that they believe the wrong person and everybody’s grade was the same. So that means that they just didn’t want to think,” explains Zamora.
So are students recommended to answer the exam as a group? “It depends on how much you trust each other or how much it is you trust yourself,” she says.
It’s no secret that students pass around old tests as one method of reviewing, especially for the more difficult subjects. In the case of MARKET1’s take-home final exam, it becomes especially dangerous as older students have the ability to picture their answers and pass these around to the younger batches. Zamora, however, doesn’t seem to be worried about any form of leakage that might occur. “It takes eleven trimesters to perfect the exam. So until I see a perfect score, that’s the only time I change the exam.”
However, the legendary marketing professor shares that she has encountered students who have captured her respect by refusing to view an answer key. Despite the numerous old tests readily available, these students instead rely on their own judgment in answering the final exam. She shares that even if these student receive low scores, she greatly appreciates the fact that they answered it by themselves.
It all goes back to the exam being a test of character, as Zamora poses a question to the students who sell answer keys for money: “Can you ask yourself, what kind of values do you have?”
For the better?
Zamora wholly believes that the take-home exam is a better gauge of learning for students as opposed to your average, objective, fill-in-the-blanks exam. She takes this ‘high-school’ level exam up a notch by making it more mature; the MARKET1 finals require actual analysis and application of the concepts learned throughout the term, as opposed to memorizing a list of concepts and definitions. “That’s parroting. If you’re gonna memorize it, you didn’t learn anything,” she explains.
More than anything, Zamora says she wants her students to think. “I designed the final exam, the questions, in such a way na yung reaction nila, ‘Holy crap, what’s this!?’ so ‘yun, mapapaisip kayo.”
Art in Advertising
A large portion of the exam is dependent on Art in Advertising, a six hour lecture delivered by Zamora herself to be attended by all students taking MARKET1 during the term. The lecture covers a wide range of topics, from advertising to architecture and music, and is an extremely integral part of the course. Zamora shares that she wrote the lecture herself, drawing from her knowledge in advertising and philosophy, and her background as an artist and marketing professional. She claims it took her four years to perfect and complete the lecture, and while it is not easy to deliver, it is something she is very passionate about.
When asked about the origins of the seminar, she shares, “10 years ago, one of my students asked me what the difference between Batman, Superman, and Spiderman are, and it started there.” This does not come as a surprise as bits and pieces of pop culture are creatively incorporated throughout the lecture, such as when the different superheroes are used to represent the different periods of art. Everything from modern music to commercials is creatively used to make the seminar both informative and fun.
At first glance, a take-home exam made up of only multiple choice questions barely seems like a challenge. Between having an open notebook, consulting with your classmates, and relying on answer keys from the upperclassmen, it should be an easy perfect score, right? Well, MARKET1’s final exam defies expectations as an exceptionally tricky test to answer, even with all these advantages. Indeed, this unique exam may be one of the largest hurdles to leap for any student, doubly so for marketing majors, who require a passing score to qualify for higher marketing subjects.
In the words of Zamora herself, “The test is gonna freak you out.”