Why We Shouldn’t Have Finals

Lauren Klein

Finals week was CRAZY stressful in my opinion. It involved lots of semester review, flashcards, coffee, and studying. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students had not taken a final in over two years (or at all), but they know about the schedule and studying that comes along with it from seeing it in TV shows, movies, and hearing other kids and teachers talk about it. The only good thing that came with finals week was the schedule that came along with it. “While many students enjoyed the shortened days and long weekends of finals week, the stress of exams made some people wonder, “Is this really necessary?”In my opinion, no. Let me tell you why.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “When a grade hinges on just one test, it’s impossible to get a clear idea of someone’s true performance.” This is completely fair; say a student has a bad day on the day of their final, (which isn’t unlikely per se, with all the studying some students do, someone could easily be sleep deprived which affects focus among other things) that is a considerably weighted test that would definitely have the ability to make a semester grade fall. It’s valid to mention that some students just aren’t good test takers, no matter how much time they put into studying, especially with so much stress and pressure to do well. 

Finals are also easily able to negatively affect students’ GPA. Even though it’s a single test you’ve taken and just happens to be weighted 10 percent of your grade for the whole semester. This can obviously affect students’ GPA, which is a big part of getting into colleges for students who plan on attending universities. It could be potentially unfair for students who are hard workers if they happen to fail one test and then see that their GPA gets messed up, which puts them in the position of having to try and raise it again, which can be difficult. 

A single test does not always show how much students have learned in the class over the semester. Learning progress is looked at throughout the semester when students take summative and formative tests, which already happen regularly. I had to take several tests the week before finals, which added unnecessary stress to the week leading up to the test along with already having to study for other exams. 

Overall, finals are an extremely stressful way of testing students that could be avoided pretty easily by implementing other ways to see what students have learned over the course of a semester.One way schools could do this are semester reflections, which would give students the opportunity to talk about what they learned throughout the semester, what they most enjoyed, their favorite subjects covered in the class, biggest takeaways from the class, or other types of reflections. If that ended up not being a viable option, something like small group discussions could be a great way for students to discuss what they have learned. Students could have small, low-pressure conferences with their teachers as well depending on how much time they have. There are many other options that would be much better for students’ mental health and stress levels compared to traditional tests.