Diving into the pros and cons of final exams

Brooke Bolinger, Eyes on Owls Section Editor

As the semester comes to a close, students prepare for final exams to test what they have learned over the months. Most courses finish with a final exam so teachers can see how well students have understood the information. While some students agree that finals are helpful, others strongly disagree saying that they add too much stress and worry to what they already have on their plate.


Love or Hate?

Many people dislike final exams. The tedious hours put into studying for the long tests are stressful to students. Some worry a lot because “They’re just so long and it’s very hard to remember ALL the information you learned over the course of 5-6 months” as Maddox Rogers says. This can lead to more stress since finals make up a big part of your grade.

Finals can be helpful for advanced courses that end with standardized state tests, and as Makenna Horne says, “I honestly do not like finals, but I understand why we have them. It is especially good for classes that have STAAR or AP exams so that you can refresh your memory and have an incentive to study what you learned throughout the semester.”

Eve Bamber has a slightly different view of finals saying, “Finals and I have a love-hate relationship. All the studying I do leading up to them is definitely very beneficial, and I’m always confident in the reviews that I complete.” But she goes on to say “However, the finals themselves are not a fun process, and definitely do stress me out a little.” 

The anxiety and stress leading up to finals definitely puts students in a cycle of doubt and worry, but as long as they prepare and study hard, finals will seem less threatening.


Beneficial or not?

Final exams can benefit students in helping them to see how well they have retained knowledge throughout the year. Teachers are able to see how well they taught the course, if they need to change anything, and if students are struggling in any aspect. Ava Holubar goes into this saying, “I think finals are helpful to teachers to see where the majority of their students excelled and where they maybe didn’t do as well. That info can help them with teaching the same class in the future.” 

But what if they also can hurt students? Those who struggle with remembering concepts that they have learned throughout the year or those who choose to not put in study hours can be negatively impacted by final exams. As McKinnley Rupp says, “I like when they are finished, but I hate the prep and the act of doing them, they stress me out.”

From a teacher’s viewpoint, finals are VERY important to them. Mrs. Pearson states, “I think final exams are a good way to summarize the semester. I don’t think they have to be too long or too complicated, but I think it is important to review and recall information from the entire semester to see what you know and how everything relates.” Finals are also helpful for those going into college and for preparation for the bigger tests given in later years. As Mr. Wennersten puts it, “Students preparing for and taking finals helps to prepare them for college exams that oftentimes will count for a significant portion of their overall grade.  Without practice with finals in high school, students may have no prior experience with semester-long cumulative tests going into college.  This could be a detriment to overall student success long term.” 


iUP Finals vs. Brick-and-Mortar

Finals taken at iUP are definitely less stressful than those taken at B&M schools. Many courses at iUP allow the use of notes and/or other resources to help students as they take their tests. They do not have to be taken at a set time, and some are able to be corrected as well.

Yahia Osman goes into this saying, “Finals at iUP are not too different from finals at B&M. The only difference is where you take the test and that you are working alone without supervision. At a B&M school, you are constantly monitored during finals.” Being at iUP allows students to take their finals in the comfort of their own homes.

Sachin Kommineni says, “They are less stressful here at iUP than the B&M schools for sure. You have more of a notice/head up here and the way they handle it at iUP is much more effective than B&M schools.” This is especially true in that finals at iUP can be taken at your own leisure, and as Ava Holubar puts it, “Finals at iUP don’t start at a specific time, you can do them in the morning, at night, or whatever works best for you. At B&M your finals start on a specific day in a specific class period, there is no way to delay it if you don’t feel prepared.” This is helpful for students who are athletes or performers or do extracurricular activities that take up most of their time.


Overall, final exams can be extremely stressful, especially if a student chooses not to study and prepare correctly for their test. But, with the flexibility of iUP, students may be able to use notes and are also able to take them when they feel comfortable and ready. This brings less worry and anxiety, and the amazing teachers at iUP help get us ready in such a great way that hopefully none of our owls have any discomfort taking finals at all!