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Semester vs Annual System – Which is Better?

Sakunth Kumar
Sakunth KumarUpdated On: May 29, 2020 05:14 pm IST

Most of the institutes and universities in India follow the semester system as it improves the quality of education. However, both the semester and the annual system have its merit and demerits.

Annual Vs Semester System of Education: Which is Better?

Ever since the inception of an educational system, it has never been consistent all over the world. Through exposure and elevation in the knowledge for new ideas and concepts, the educationalists keep looking for feasible manners to pass the knowledge. There have been innumerable reforms in the educational system leading to greater results. The idea of these reforms has always been to have a comprehensive approach to education. As a product of these investigations, the semester system of education was introduced replacing the annual system.

Both semester and the annual system have its merit and demerits. Some of the students say that annual system is far better than the semester system and vice-versa. The semester system has been introduced by the government to improve the quality of education. The semester system was introduced during the 1970s. However, most of the students opposed this move. Let's figure out the advantages and disadvantages of the semester and annual system.

What is the Semester System of Education?

A semester system is an academic tern that divides an academic year into two terms or parts. The word semester literally means six-month period. In most of the Indian colleges, the sex-month semester system is followed. So, a three-year-long bachelors degree comprises 6 semesters and a two-year-long master’s degree consists of four semesters. The central universities in India have been following this system for quite a long time now. Apart from India, colleges in other countries like USA, Germany, China, etc are also shifting towards the semester system of education.

Pros and Cons of Semester System



Opportunity for Self Assessment, learning and Feedback for students

Failure of timely completion of syllabus for Subjects

Students can avail a better understanding of subjects

Increased workload and pressure due to evaluation is done twice a year

Higher classroom interaction and constant engagement between teachers and students

No scope of extra learning due to a tight timetable and lack of time

Improvement of regular study habits

Lack of extra co-curricular activities as there is a lot to cover in the syllabus

Promotes evaluation of the performance of students twice a year


Less burden of the syllabus as it is divided into two halves


Enhanced learning through a scope for designing and delivering a variety of courses


Development of skills and subject-related knowledge in a better way


Provision of regular classes due to the attendance system


Advantages of Semester System

  • It will provide an opportunity to the students for continuous learning, assessment and feedback.
  • It facilitates a better understanding of the subject.
  • More emphasis is laid on class interaction because of constant engagement between teachers and students.
  • This system improves regular study habits among the students.
  • It facilitates in evaluating the performance of students twice a year.
  • The students will not have more burden of the syllabus as it is divided into two halves.
  • A semester system allows greater freedom and scope for designing and delivering a variety of courses that the students can pick to enhance the quality of learning.
  • Through this system, students attend the college regularly without failing as there is a regulation of compulsory 75% attendance.
  • Students can develop skills and subject-related knowledge in a better way through this system.

Disadvantages of Semester System

  • Semester system faces inadequacy of time. Most of the times teachers fail to complete the syllabus in time. Students who join late will face lot of difficulties to catch the subject and complete the revision.
  • Semester system increases the workload as the evaluation process is conducted twice a year.
  • Semester system does not give any scope for extra classes due to lack of time.
  • Semester system restricts co-curricular activities as most of the time teachers are engaged in completion of syllabus and students are involved in the revision of completed syllabus.

However, some of the students feel that the annual system is better than a semester system.

Also read:-Five Ways to Make an Impression During Placements

What is Annual System of Education?

In the annual system of education, an academic year is not divided into different terms. The final exam, also known as annual examination, is the only test of learning throughout the year. Not many colleges in India follow the annual system of education yet, many of the schools still go with this system.

Pros and Cons of Annual System

Pros of Annual System

Cons of Annual System

More time to revise the syllabus

Negligence toward examination conducted once a year

Opportunity to study subject related books

A higher burden on students to complete the syllabus for entire year at the time of exam

Provision of using library sources to prepare self-study notes

No provision of self-assessment or regular feedback

Opportunities for extracurricular activities

Lack of attendance regulations, making students skip classes more often

Teacher have the time to provide enhanced learning concepts to the students


Less burden and work pressure


Advantages of Annual System

  • The students will have much time to revise the syllabus.
  • Students will have a chance to refer to various subject related books.
  • They can prepare their notes by using library resources.
  • Students can participate in all the co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
  • Teachers will have a chance to give as much knowledge to the students related to the subject.
  • Teachers can take the students to various field trips and give them much exposure.

Disadvantages of Annual System

  • In the annual system, most of the students show negligence towards studies as the examinations are conducted once a year.
  • Students have to study the entire syllabus for annual exams which is a burden.
  • Most of the students do not attend the college regularly as there is no strict regulation on attendance.

Also read:-5 Hacks to Help You Prepare for Exams

Most of the institutes and universities in India follow the semester system as it improves the quality of education. Though students feel pressure in the semester system, it facilities them to study regularly which develops reading habit among the students.Many a time, because of having to manage assignment deadlines and exams simultaneously, students feel academically burdened. But, this system has been proved to be better at grading assessment than the annual system. All in all, in many aspects, the annual system surpasses the list of the advantages whereas, in other cases, it’s the semester system that is in the lead. Both have their pros and cons and that is how a balance is created.

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