How do students really feel about finals?

The return of finals season leaves students pondering if finals have a lasting impact on their learning experience.

KF via Wikimedia

The return of finals season leaves students pondering if finals have a lasting impact on their learning experience.

Lauren Anderson, Copy Editor

The past few years have been epitomized by unprecedented circumstances and changing schedules, especially when it comes to school. Last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, PV decided to scrap finals, but the final-free school year was short lived as finals returned during the 2021-2022 school year. 

Seniors have been through years with finals and years with no finals, but do students believe final exams have an impact on their actual learnings and retention? 

Senior Emily Hoskins does not enjoy the stress of finals season and does not find the exams beneficial to her overall learning experience. “We just have so much going on right now, especially as seniors trying to graduate, that finals are too stressful,” she said. “Finals teach you how to cram information which isn’t a bad thing, but I don’t think I remember much of that information long-term.”

So is there a better way to go about finals? 

Senior Tarun Annavajjula suggested keeping finals was probably beneficial to students, but changing the format could make finals less stressful and more advantageous. “[Finals] should be spread out more to give students a chance to specifically prepare for each part,” he explained. 

“There should be more options rather than a test or a speech, like a combination or a project that you take upon yourself to work on and present what you’ve learned… From a college perspective, finals are an integral part, but right now they cause a lot of stress for students which could be changed if the format was changed,” he said. 

Although Annavajjula described finals as an important part of high school, students from different schools without finals disagree. 

“We haven’t had finals in two years now and I think I’ve retained the same amount of information as I did when we had finals,” senior at Warren Township Jenna Heron said. “We have final projects in some classes, but it’s so much nicer to have a calm end of the year.” 

Heron also mentioned how the imbalanced weight of final exams on overall grades degraded the efforts she made to keep her grades up throughout the year. “I don’t like the idea that so much of your final grade comes from one test when you’ve been learning information all along. It makes the rest of the year feel so much less important,” she said. “It’s hard when you feel like you’re always trying to do well, but most of your work isn’t as important as just one test. And with the tests for all of your classes being at once, it sucks that your final grade is determined by a couple of stressful weeks.” 

Though PV has returned to a normal finals schedule, some students continue to doubt the impact of their exams on learning and information retention. Whether students are fond of finals season or not, it seems finals are here to stay.