Finals: Questions Finally Answered

The time for finals has come around once again. Every December and May students test the knowledge they have learned throughout the semester, and also test their short term study skills. The thoughts of teachers and students regarding finals are rarely seen together, but that is what this article aims to do.

Most teachers believe that finals are used as an ultimate test of knowledge. Finals are the perfect way for teachers to see if students have captured the information that was taught to them throughout the semester. Students also agree on the fact that finals are very important to their growth as a student.

“It shows what you’ve remembered over a long period of time,”  Algebra 2 and Calculus BC teacher, Helaine Cohn said. “or what you’ve been able to re-teach yourself.”

“It’s good to reflect on what you’ve learned over the last few months,” Constance Benolkin, Honors world regional studies and world history teacher, said. “You remember what you’re learning and why you’re learning it.”

“I do think it’s important to have finals,” Renny Ma, Sophomore, said. “ We have to ensure that students actually have been learning and paying attention throughout the semester.”

“Finals are important because it shows that you accumulated lots of knowledge over the semester,” Nick Vance, Sophomore, said. “What’s the point of learning material if you aren’t going to remember it?”

Teachers agree that students should prioritize in studying for their finals. Students often prioritize by looking at how much a final is worth and at what their current grade is in that class. Then, after this process students can  better decide where the majority of their study time needs to be focused.  Cohn thinks that students should “absolutely” prioritize their studying.

“I think they should prioritize,” Benolkin said. “They feel overwhelmed otherwise.”

Students study in a variety of ways that range from flashcards to re-reading old information to looking over old tests.

“I plan to study a little bit each night and cram the night before,” Vance said. “It’s what works best for me.”

“I’m pretty sure I learn through writing, so I’ll probably either use flashcards, taking notes, or looking up videos/mnemonic devices,” Ma said.

There is one thing that is commonly overlooked when it comes to finals. In addition to testing your knowledge from the semester, finals are also used as a way of preparing students for their finals in college. Finals in college are often worth a  larger portion of a student’s grade than the 20 percent that a final in high school could potentially be worth. Both Benolkin and Cohn point to preparation for college as a small portion of why they think finals are important.

In addition to being a great test of knowledge finals can also be used as a tool for students to achieve the grade they want.

“There are many cases that that may negatively affect the student,” Ma said. “Sometimes I don’t think finals are the best way to measure if students really have learned anything because even the most prepared student could make a careless mistake or get distracted causing the student’s grade to plummet.”

“I like how finals make an impact,” Vance said. “For instance if you have a high B and want an A, you can do well on the final to raise it.”

Overall, finals week is perhaps the most important week of a semester. It’s a week full of tested knowledge, the opportunities to raise grades, college preparation, and lots of studying.