Finals are just around the corner at Leesville. Many seasoned students are entering a state of either denial or rushed studying. Freshmen, however, are entering into the unknown
Carter Cruikshank, a freshmen, is studying and preparing for her first ever finals. “I’m doing lots of quizlets,” said Cruikshank. She accredits studying and reviewing material to making her less nervous for her exams.
While most would assume that finals in core classes are the hardest, Cruikshank is expecting her orchestra final to be the most difficult one she takes. “I don’t know anything,” said Cruikshank, explaining that the subject matter of the test is mostly music theory that can be confusing to learn and easy to mix up. Cruikshank has only covered music theory for about a month, making the work on the final daunting.
The scariest part about final exams for her is the weight they hold in her final grade. “I don’t really get nervous during tests, but I’m nervous about my grades going down [after the test],” said Cruikshank.
“The 20% is what I’m nervous about,” said Emma Nani, freshmen. Most freshmen have never had a single test count for 20% of their final grade, and Nani and Cruikshank concur that the grading weight their finals hold is what they fear.
Despite all the unknown that finals hold Cruikshank is hopeful that her state-mandated exams won’t be much different than the ones in middle school, and she feels that the majority of her classes have prepared her to succeed.
Teachers understand that exam week is something new, nerve racking, and stressful for freshmen.
Mr. Moran teaches both World History and American History II Honors his first semester and has noticed that his first semester freshmen tend to be more nervous than any other group of students because they’ve never experienced a finals week.
However, students taking a high school social studies exam for the first time shouldn’t worry too much about the differences between them and middle school. “I have taught at both [middle schools and high schools], and I can say that the state is trying to be consistent in how they evaluate our social studies curriculum,” said Mr. Moran.
The exams at both levels have changed from being memory recall to requiring students to examine a historical text.
Ms. Self, who teaches Honors Earth and Environmental science and Physics, also understands freshmen’s worries.
“Freshmen tend to be more nervous about finals than my other students,” said Self. She believes they are more nervous not because of the actual exam but rather “the unknown.” The unknown constitutes everything from exam procedures, the nesting period, to taking a state exam written by someone other than their teacher (for some classes).
Words of Wisdom
“Do not panic. Four months’ of material is a lot to absorb, so it is very likely you will encounter a test question on a topic you do not know and/or you have forgotten. Breathe, think, eliminate really wrong answers, and try your best.”
– Ms. Self
“Stay calm. These tests are going to happen and you will get through them. They are not a final say on you as a student, but they are important and offer you a chance to demonstrate your mastery of the course material. Also, study. Studies have shown studying works.”
– Mr. Moran
“You tend to procrastinate and wait to study, but start to prepare earlier on and space studing out. It’ll help get the information locked into your brain.”
-Sam Melott, sophomore
“Make plans with your friends afterwards. You’re going to be so exhausted, but at the same time you kind of need to have a day for yourself. You need to have something to look forward to afterwards…you need to have positive vibes running into your finals.”
– Reganne Johnson, senior
“In order to study math, one must do math. Looking over completed, correct work always makes sense because you are not having to produce the work. I encourage students to copy down hard homework questions, classwork examples, any missed quiz and test questions on blank paper and resolve them without the use of notes. Also, utilize your teachers! Come to them with *specific* questions.”