Are you someone like me, who can answer all the questions during class but fails to do well on your multiple-choice exams? The first few semesters of college my grades suffered — not because I didn’t know the material, but because I generally don’t do well on anything multiple-choice related. Frustrated with the poor results from all the time and effort I put into studying, I began to question if multiple-choice is even an accurate way of measuring how much a person really knows.

How many times have you not studied for an exam but still managed to receive a decent grade on your multiple-choice exam? I have many friends who have gotten away with that, whereas I would pull all-nighters studying and end up with a significantly lower grade

. Bubbling random answers without even understanding the course material and then receiving credit for something unintentional seemed nothing short of unfair.

Essay exams are a more accurate reflection of how much people understand the material, because they either know the material or they don’t. Not only do essay exams accurately measure how much we know, it encourages us to come up with creative ways to respond to a question and allows us to use our critical thinking skills to provide examples that pertain to our own lives. It is easier to administer and also less expensive to grade than the costs of buying and grading scantrons.

In a recent speech, Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” said that introverts are responsible for some of humanity’s greatest achievements and that introverts make up a third to a half of the population. That’s a lot of people. I believe essay exams would benefit introverts especially. I know of a lot of professors who will categorize a quiet student into an “average,” C-student because he does not participate as often during class and therefore deduct points in their participation grade. But what these professors fail to realize is that just because a student doesn’t engage in a classroom discussion does not mean that he or she isn’t actually thinking.

An essay exam will provide an alternative way of expressing the student’s thoughts or opinions. Not only will the essay serve as some sort of “this is what I’ve learned” feedback, but the student will be able to write down the things he wasn’t able to express out loud in class.

Though essay exams can be more strenuous and time consuming, it is a more effective way of measuring a person’s knowledge. If you’ve been receiving good grades through memorizing books or learning to recognize certain information on multiple-choice exams, that will only get you so far. As students, we should encourage our professors to provide essay exams, which will help deepen our thoughts and encourage us to see things from all perspectives.