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Semester System vs. Quarter System

dylpkls91dylpkls91 Posts: 253Registered User Junior Member
When applying to the UC's (Berkeley, Davis, and LA), I noticed that Berkeley and Merced are on the semester system, and the rest are on the quarter system. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both?
Post edited by dylpkls91 on
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Replies to: Semester System vs. Quarter System

  • LeftistHominidLeftistHominid Posts: 3,803Registered User Senior Member
    Semester system is cheaper to run (I read some old article from UC Davis about it).

    One major problem with a quarter system is that it is keeps you on your toes.

    Think about a ten week quarter and sixteen week semester using a standard 2MT, 1 Final courses.

    Week 1 you will start getting settled
    Week 2 you will have to start studying
    Week 3 your will start midterm 1s
    Week 4 you will end midterm 1s
    Week 5 you are somewhat free
    Week 6 you will start midterm 2's
    Week 7 you will end midterms 2's
    Week 8 you are somewhat free
    Week 9 you will start studying for finals
    Week 10 you will be starting finals

    Semester system
    Week 1 you will start getting settled
    Week 2
    Week 3
    Week 4
    Week 5 you will start midterm 1's
    Week 6 you will end midterm 1's
    Week 7
    Week 8
    Week 9
    Week 10 you will start midterm 2's
    Week 11 you will end midterm 2's
    Week 12
    Week 13
    Week 14
    Week 15 you will start studying for finals
    Week 16 you will start finals

    Generally the gaps in the semester system test schedules, allows your professors to more accurately assess your abilities by allowing time for more alternate assessments like projects and papers.
  • iVinsheiVinshe Posts: 446Registered User Member
    We get out mid-May. All the quarter system people get out mid-June. Enough said ^^
  • Batman17Batman17 Posts: 3,221Registered User Senior Member
    I wouldn't call it a problem though. A quarter will keep you more attentive and you'll finish the classes you don't like much faster. A semester has you going to classes you are pretty much forced to take for your major and whether or not you like them, you have to stick it out for the entire 16 weeks.
    I say the disadvantage to quarter is like what Hominid said in the end. But if you feel like you're up to the quicker pace, then the quarter system is fine. (Though the East Coast college people like to scoff at the quarter system for some reason)
  • LeftistHominidLeftistHominid Posts: 3,803Registered User Senior Member
    In line with iVinshe,

    Semester has spread out breaks, so that we can enjoy them thoroughly. Quarter systems have summer-heavy breaks. A short two week winter break that is packed with holidays (and hence family commitments and such) does not give one enough time to relax and unfold.


    Summer
    We start early and end early, they start late and end a bit later

    Thanksgiving:
    Same

    Winter Breaks:
    4 weeks (semester) v. 2 weeks (quarter)

    Spring Breaks:
    Same
  • stlystly Posts: 618Registered User Member
    However, a lot of my midterms fall the week or two after spring break so I can't fully enjoy them.

    I feel like you can take a lot more classes with the quarter system for elective than with semester
  • LeftistHominidLeftistHominid Posts: 3,803Registered User Senior Member
    ^true, but then you learn a lot less in each of those electives, and you have a lot more major classes to deal with too.
  • stlystly Posts: 618Registered User Member
    For both Berkeley and other schools, general intro courses are divided into sections that are taught by different profs. At Berkeley, this is often 5 week sections taught by different professors for a total of 3 professors. At other schools, this is like 2-3 week sections taught by diff profs so you really don't get to know them that well.
  • LeftistHominidLeftistHominid Posts: 3,803Registered User Senior Member
    Actually it is a bit confusing, the intro courses you are alluding to are specifically Bio 1A-B i am assuming

    UCLA General Catalog 2008-09: Life Sciences Course Listings
    Biological Sciences, Division of—Courses

    At quarter system schools, the equivalent of Bio 1A-B is actually three courses. I don't know how they split it up between professors though.
  • stlystly Posts: 618Registered User Member
    It's what I have heard from friends... I'm not sure about the details
  • Batman17Batman17 Posts: 3,221Registered User Senior Member
    Well, tbqh, it's not like I got to know Feldman really well after these 5 weeks. lol
  • LeftistHominidLeftistHominid Posts: 3,803Registered User Senior Member
    you normally do not get to know your intro course professors.

    (same would go for large UD courses)
  • AnhingaOfFogAnhingaOfFog Posts: 36Registered User Junior Member
    ^ unless you go to his/her office hours practically every time it's available and stay there for hours and ask endless questions or talk about life, which some people do, lol. gets really annoying especially when others are waiting w/ questions.
  • Batman17Batman17 Posts: 3,221Registered User Senior Member
    You know...sometimes I get worried cuz people are like YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR TEACHERS NOW FOR RECS IN THE FUTURE!!! But I don't really want to spend my free time in office hours every week talking about my life and their lives...haha I go because I honestly don't understand or have questions about the materials and that's it...
  • LeftistHominidLeftistHominid Posts: 3,803Registered User Senior Member
    you generally seek recs from your upper division professors.
  • AnhingaOfFogAnhingaOfFog Posts: 36Registered User Junior Member
    ^ yup, or the professors you're doing research or working for.
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