Are finals more exam-based or project / essay-based?
Methods of evaluation depend on the individual course. For three out of four modules in year 1 semester 1 (Literature and Humanities, Philosophy and Political Thought, and Comparative Social Institutions), there is no exam-based evaluation. To give you an idea of what assessment is like, LH puts the most weight on essays, and the weight of each essay increases as you get further along in the semester. In addition, your professor might ask you to write weekly discussion posts, assign you creative assignments, assign quizzes about the lecture, or ask you to make presentations about your text’s historical contexts. If I’m not mistaken, there is a presentation component in all classes. Although the principal mode of assessment (essays) is set for all classes, other methods of evaluation will depend on the professor.
On the other hand, courses that are more oriented towards the sciences and mathematics tend to have examination-heavy finals. This includes math-heavy modules like Macroeconomics, where exams count for a lot of your grade. For Mathematical and Computational Sciences (MCS) modules, this is coupled with a large amount of assignments because the subject matter requires so much practice and application. In fact, I would only add that Computer Sciences modules put even more weight on projects and homework and less on exams than some other math modules. The trend for Life Sciences modules is similar: both projects and exams have a big influence on your final grade. This is especially so because the subject matter in the Life Sciences tends to be content-heavy and requires remembering a lot of information, which tends to be tested as an exam.
Not all subjects have as much content as a Biology mod, of course. Modules in the Arts, like Computer Science mods, put a lot of emphasis on final projects submitted at the end of the semester, often as a performance or installation. This means that workload will ramp up as the course goes on and peaks right at the end of the course, unlike other modules where evaluation occurs constantly over the duration of the semester.
The language courses, as well, are exam based, although often with an essay component. However, almost all courses will have some weight placed on class participation and in-class projects over the course of the semester in addition to the finals.