Stressed for the test

Students and staff give their opinions on finals week

Junior Kenzie Schertz studied her final reviews to get ready for finals. She has four finals this term and shes aiming for all As.

Junior Kenzie Schertz studied her final reviews to get ready for finals. She has four finals this term and she’s aiming for all As.

Isabella Martens, Reporter

Pulling all nighters to finish late assignments, staying after school to retake tests, filling up notebooks full of notes; everyone feels the stress during finals week. Finals are student’s last chance to raise their grades before the end of the term; they are the make or break moment for students’ GPA. Some students only have to prepare for one or two finals and some have four. One positive students and staff have found from finals is the early out.

This year at West, each class will be two hours with a ten-minute break in between and students will be released at 12:45. Finals are stressful for students for obvious reasons, but what some people don’t know is finals also puts stress on teachers. Many assignments come in towards the end of the term and teachers have to grade them all before the deadline. 

“It usually starts the week before when all the procrastinators decide to try to get their work done, that’s when it starts to get stressful. All finals week I have to drink my fully basil tea just to keep my sanity,” Spanish teacher Stephanie Hansen said.

For Hansen, finals are even more stressful because there are multiple. Language classes have a four part final that consists of speaking, listening, writing, and a multiple choice. She finds it stressful because she wants to make sure her students are prepared for all parts of the final.

“We practice all parts of the final and there’s reading, speaking, listening, and writing. We just do all kinds of practices so they have everything that they need to be prepared for and I go over things they can’t help themselves with,” Hansen said.

Freshmen at West have only taken one final in high school before, which means they need extra preparation. Science teacher Jason Hensel has freshmen for Earth and Space class and he says he spends extra time going over the schedule with them. Having a fifth block and advisory can be confusing, so making sure everyone knows where to go is important. Not all finals are a 100 question multiple choice; some classes get to do fun projects to end of the term. 

“Our final this year is a project where they take things about earthquakes and volcanoes and apply what we’ve learned throughout the past four weeks about layers of the earth and stuff like that,” science teacher Jason Hensel said.

Finals also take preparation from the students. Junior Jaylen Green has advice for his classmates on how to get ready for finals.

¨I recommend taking this week to just pay attention in class and do any study guide your teacher gives you and make sure to go over your notes before the final,¨ Green said.

Some students find finals pointless and unnecessary because it’s at the very end of the term. Students could do good the whole term and if they do bad on the final exam, it would drop their grade.

¨I wish we could opt out of our finals if we already have an A in that class. If you have an A in that class you obviously know what you’re doing, so I don’t think you should have to take a final,¨ senior Elise Nelson said. 

Teachers use finals to see what their students learned throughout the term and what they struggled with.

“Finals in here are to see if they can apply what they have learned. It’s more like here’s some more information, what can you do with it. That way, I can make sure I’m doing my job right, too,” Hensel said.

Teachers in the building prefer the schedule for this year’s finals over last year. Last year on finals students still had all four blocks and did not get an early out. Even though not all classes will use the full two hours, there is extra time left over to make up work or study for your next test.

“As an English teacher I appreciate the two-hour block since most of ours involve a writing portion if not a writing final exam. This is a great opportunity for students to show their best writing and gives teachers an opportunity to grade in the afternoon,” English teacher Angela Staber said.

The biggest problem for most students is that the material on the final is over the whole term. Students have to go back and review things they learned a month ago and it can get overwhelming for them. 

¨I would say finals are not beneficial because for me doing the unit tests over the term helps more than just taking one big test at the end,¨ sophomore Elizabeth Paustain said.

The most nerve racking part of finals is how it will affect the students final grade in the class. If your grade goes down, there’s little to no time to fix it and that can be bad for some students’ grade point average. Finals can be anywhere from 15 to 20% of a student’s grade.

¨Finals honestly hurt my grade because they are worth so much of your grade in some classes. Even if you do good it usually only brings it down,¨ Nelson said.

Overall, students said that if you study and get your grade up as high as possible the week before finals, then you will be fine. Finals don’t have to be stressful as long as you’re prepared. They can help you prepare for college and more testing in the future. 

“I think it’s just good practice for college as well. In college when you take exams, it will be for a lengthier time. It’s a cumulative exam that should be your best work and you need time to do that,” Staber said.