Final Frenzy

The positive and negative effect on students stress levels during finals

Melia Rasmussen and Cheyenne Such

Finals: Once a semester. Twice a school year. One hour and 10 minutes long. Within January, soon after the end of winter break, the talk of finals becomes more common. Whether it be the increasing workload, the approaching due dates, or just the end of a semester, finals present changes of many kinds.

     Research done by the State University of New York give the best examples to review for exams such as studying in intervals, not staying up all night and cram,  and exercising for at least 20 minutes to give you energy and improve your memory. Eating superfoods and antioxidants that include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt to protect from sickness and staying focused. Finally, performing techniques and tips to help remember the material, and avoid distractions like social media and electronics while studying. What one does in the weeks leading up to Finals is just as important as what is studied the night before. 

     “I find the study periods really helpful because I can either take a break from just the stress of testing, or I can study for the next period,” said senior Annie Givens. The bell schedule is altered to allow students half an hour before each period, save the first one, to study in the library, play in the gym, or hang out in the cafeteria. Students can also head to their classes as normal and study or relax there. Staff are stationed at intersections, handing out bananas and apples to students for nutrition. The study breaks will be beneficial for students who don’t normally get a chance to eat breakfast or lunch to have an option to eat before tests as staff hand out bananas and apples during that time.

“I think a lot of students know that their grades are about to be final.””

— Sylvia Sorenson, Science Teacher

     Another factor of finals is the way teachers organize their tests for students. Depending on the subject, tests can vary from essays to solving a word problem to Analysis of Famous works of Art. Most comprehensive finals that are handed out are composed of multiple choice and short answers. A comprehensive final is a test that covers all the material a student has learned in semester one, compared to a test that just covers the most recent unit.

     “I feel like Honors English will be hardest just because the workload in there is already intense, and I don’t know what to expect on the final,” freshman Sophia Hansen said. “Like if it’s going to be an essay or some questions on any book we’re reading.” Hansen has partially seen how finals worked from when she came over to the school for Geometry last year, but now, as a freshman, she can experience the way the school functions during these weeks through all of her classes.

     Givens said she felt the same way as a freshman–not knowing what to expect, worrying about the difficulty level of the tests. “[As a junior] I know what to expect more and also I have more opens, so it’s just less finals to take.”

     Among other classes, Givens is enrolled in AP US History, AP Composition, and AP Calculus AB. She thinks her hardest final will be a tie between AP Comp and AP Calculus due to the higher standards and the speed that they cover the material.

     However, some students feel confident enough in Finals that they don’t stress too much in the weeks prior. Schedules aren’t as mixed up for some, as others have to prioritize their assignments so they can get done. Senior Devin Davis is enrolled in five AP classes, his hardest one being Calculus BC. He says that finals are the same every year; they don’t really change. 

     “I think a lot of students know that their grades are about to be final,” AP Chemistry teacher Sylvia Sorenson said, “they’re a little more studious, a little more concerned about missing assignments.” As long as students do their assignments, Sorensen said, they shouldn’t fall too far behind the class.

     “My focus–my goal–is to use these tests like a step up to prepare myself for the harder ones later,” said Hansen. Going through old tests, seeing what questions need to be worked on, and prioritizing time to study is on Hansen’s mind. She said finals are a good way to assess where a student is, to make sure they’re prepared for the next few years of high school. 

         “I think it’s a really positive experience because it gives students a chance to experience what finals might be like in college where you have several classes to prepare for,” Sorensen said. “It’s important for students to realize that [you pay for procrastinating] now, rather than in their first year in college.”