Are Finals Fair?

Many students study for finals using resources like class notes, online study websites, and flashcards. Although students may study and know the material, not all will succeed in proving they understand the information. Many students fail to ace their finals solely due to their lack of test taking skills. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Fontaine.)

High school students prepare for finals in many different ways. Some create flash cards, highlight important information and review their notes. Others might choose to avoid studying and skip reviewing for their upcoming exams. Finals can also affect students in many opposing ways. Some experience extreme stress and anxiety, while other remain calm and collected throughout their exam preparation– which just goes to show that not all students experience the same opportunity to study for finals stress free.

About 16-20% of students will experience test anxiety in their lifetime, which begs the question: are finals really a fair way to assess student knowledge?

As previously stated, some students do not stress or worry about finals in the slightest. “I experience little to no stress during finals,” said Joe Mabry, a senior at Leesville Road High School. But this is not the case for all students. “I feel a lot of stress as finals approach. I already have anxiety, but preparing for school finals makes it ten times worse,” said Sydney Hunter, a junior at Broughton High School.

Although not all students are affected the same by the tests, most students understand the privilege bestowed to students who strive at taking tests. “Not everybody is good at taking standardized tests, so some people get the short end of the stick when it comes to finals,” said Mabry.

As study after study is completed, it is no secret that school alone causes the average student stress. “There is no doubt students in selective public high schools also experience high rates of chronic stress,” stated an NYU study, conducted on student health. Researches have also found that normal stress rates rise when finals roll around.

It is obvious that students who suffer from test anxiety and stress are negatively impacted by finals at the end of their courses. It’s time that we take a deeper look into the logistics of finals and see if they are really a fair, equal way to assess all students equally.


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