Finals are not serving the right purpose

Elijah Nichols, Reporter

School can be one of the most significant stressors in students’ live. From August until May, teens live in a constant state of anxiety and panic, although the end of each semester brings the worst stressor in a student’s life: final exams. 

Finals are famous for the stress they cause and the long hours they require each student to take upon themselves, but most of the anxiety and frustration is not even necessary and could be easily avoidable. 

High grades like A’s or high B’s are typically a direct sign that students have fully grasped the information that they are required to learn, so why do students with A’s or a high B in a class need to confirm that understanding again with a final?

 Students with A’s or a high B in a class at the end of the semester should not be required to take that course’s final exam. The student has demonstrated their knowledge in the subject area, and it would remove some of the anxiety from finals, allowing students to focus on other classes that they need to study for, typically math or science.

Final exams for A or high B students cause unnecessary anxiety. I know what it’s like to be studious for months on end and pull all of those all-nighters only to see all of your hard work wasted in the very end. It is unfair that the grade I had worked tirelessly for the entire semester was gone because of a single, unnecessary, and typically more difficult than needed test. 

If students that made it within the grade range that a teacher sets (A or high B would be typical) and still wanted to attempt to take the final exam to try to raise their grade, they should have the option to but with the knowledge that it could sink their grade too. 

The encouragement of an optional final exam would cause students to work harder throughout the entire semester instead of merely cramming during finals week and increase the passing rate and the number of future students to take that course.

 Surprisingly some teachers like a low passing rate to show how hard and rigorous a class is, but the only thing that lowering the passing rate does is have the school or university cut the class and deem the teacher inefficient at teaching such a course, as well as deter other students from taking that class, lowering future enrollment.

An optional exam would also encourage students to work harder and study longer for each test as well as making them think twice about procrastinating. 

Not taking the exam would ensure that they truly understand what was taught in the course as well by spreading out the time that they learn it. Since students will be trying their hardest throughout the year, the students would also retain more information as the use of material continuously is better than a one-week cram. 

In addition to creating a healthier and more efficient environment, making finals optional for A or high B students would lessen the load, allowing them to focus and do better on their other exams. High levels of stress can negatively affect the cognitive ability and brain development of students. Eliminating some of this stress will again be a benefit for the school overall because these students will have more time to study for their remaining finals, increasing the likelihood that they will perform better and improve the grades that need the final to improve. 

Some may say that finals are a cumulative test that shows if the student remembers the information, and therefore are necessary for all students, even those with an A or high B in the class. This statement is false; finals do not cause the students to retain the information better at all but the contrary. Because the exams are so extensive, most students cram before the tests, which is proven to decrease the amount of data that sticks with a student. The majority of students do not have time or energy to memorize an entire semester’s worth of information on top of end-of-term projects, tests, homework, and countless other responsibilities to maintain their grades. 

The sheer quantity of finals completely contradicts the purpose of them. Instead of causing students to retain the information better, it ensures that they do not even have enough time to learn it and retain it. If students had a smaller amount to take, then they might have time to study periodically, causing them to learn the information in the long run vs. putting it all in short term memory.

In conclusion, final exams are stressful, anxiety filled events for any student, especially for those who are working to maintain their A or high B. Leaving final exams optional for students with an A or high B in the class would be benefit to both the students and the school. It would allow the students to truly learn the material from all of the classes and give the students time to study for courses that they need to refresh on. Also, teachers would have more time to grade the tests of those who needed to take the test due to not meeting the teacher’s grade requirements. School can be one of the most significant stressors in students’ lives, but at least making final exams optional for those with an A or high B would decrease some of the worries, anxieties, and fears allowing them to perform better in other areas while also providing a reward for the students to push themselves to do well and earn high grades throughout the entire semester.