Students Begin the New Year With Intense Final Exams

Having final exams the week after winter break allows time to study for some, but for many, the stress of the holidays and the time constraint of family events makes these extra two weeks counterproductive.

There are five final exams scheduled to take place beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 12, with two exams daily, through the morning of Thursday, Jan. 14. This leaves one slot Thursday afternoon and two slots on Friday for make up exams.

Last school year, finals began on Friday, Jan 16. Students returned after the three day weekend due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and proceeded to take finals Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving Thursday, Jan. 22 for make up exams.

This year’s schedule leaves students with back to back exams, being taken four days earlier than last.

Each final is worth 20 percent of a student’s first semester grade in that respective course, and extensive studying has become a necessity for many students.

Students such as senior Caroline Murphy believe that taking final exams before break relieves stress during the holiday.

“I think that the way it’s set up this year with there only being one week in between when we get back to school and finals I think that kinda adds a lot of stress because we don’t really have a lot of time to prepare for them,” said Murphy, “I think it does make break more rewarding when we have finals before.”

However, for students like sophomore Amyah Anderson, the extra two weeks provide ample preparation time.

The final exam schedule is given to students. Dec. 12, 2015
Julia Barragate
The final exam schedule is given to students. Dec. 12, 2015.

“It’s easier for me to do [final exams] after break because I can use that time to study,” said Anderson.

Guidance Counselor Catherine Szendrey believes that the guidance department is open to the idea of a change in the date of finals week.

“I think the stance of the Guidance Department is we’re open to the idea, and we’ve talked to other schools where it has been beneficial to students and I think that the first year is an adjustment and people would need to really have to work with faculty and students to work out the glitches,” said Szendrey.

For teachers, having exams before break could be a drawback in that it leaves them with less time to prepare their students for exams.

Spanish teacher Amy Fogerty said, “I would like to have exams before winter break. There is so much information lost during the vacation, it is challenging to review it all before the actual exam.”

“We would really have to push during the first semester from a teaching standpoint to be sure all information was covered, but I have done it in another district and it really worked well,” added Fogerty.

English teacher Carol Boyd said she would also prefer to have finals prior to break, however, she believes that school would have to start earlier in order to allow teachers to adequately prepare.

“As it is, I had difficulty getting everything accomplished in time for finals. I can’t imagine having one week less to teach the material that needs to  be covered. I would, however, be happy to start school earlier in order to have finals before winter break and then have spring finals earlier,” explained Boyd.

Although there may be consequences of pushing final exams to an earlier date, the change would allow students to truly enjoy their break and to spend time with family and friends during the holidays.

Junior Jacob Keffer said, “When you’re around family and on break, you don’t really have time to do homework and studying so that’s like a big plus of having finals before we leave for break, and it just kind of gets it out of the way so you can enjoy break more.”

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