Finals week: Let’s review

Graham C Wheat & Mayan Lara, Editor-in-Chief & Photo Editor

PRO

 

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, student minds tend to gravitate toward one singular purpose.

The looming dread of finals is an omnipresent force that seems to hang like a carrot before a donkey, carting us either to oblivion or redemption.

There can be many scenarios when it comes to the reactions and feelings toward finals that are elicited from students. For most, that carrot is the fear that all the studying and hard work will vanish when it comes to test time. These are usually the overachievers that are passing the class with flying colors, yet such is their process to attaining their goals of straight A’s. For many it is usually a time to improve a grade by acing one final exam with diligent studying of material.

Whatever the strategy or focus, one thing is necessary for final examinations.

They should all be comprehensive in nature and reflect the bulk of material covered in the course, as opposed to the student loved “last material covered” examination.

To understand why a comprehensive examination is so important we must look at what each type of exam is saying, or at least portraying, about the relevance of the class.

The final tests that cover merely the last material reviewed deliver a message of unimportance. After fifteen weeks of proper attendance and diligent note taking, your presumably competent knowledge of the subject is distilled to 2 and half weeks of information that may or may not be compelling. The impact of importance is relegated to the final two weeks of information.

Pose a hypothetical situation. A student who attends class and has received good letter grades on all assignments and tests prior to the final unavoidably misses two weeks. While another student who misses class and has been receiving C’s on all tests and assignments prior to the final takes meticulous notes the last two weeks.

The A student has his grade drop because of poor performance on the “last material” final, while the C student passes with flying colors raising himself to a B.

This type of testing perpetuates carelessness among students. The idea that sliding by and acing a “last material” final is indicative of real knowledge gained ultimately harms our school. Those students are underprepared for the next level of school.

Comprehensive finals on the other hand are true barometers of knowledge acquired.

Pose the same situation with the “A” and “C” student. They only correlation that can be drawn is such: the A student will do well because he has attended class and participated, while the C student will get a grade deserving of their effort.

The amount of knowledge a student gains at the community college level is critical. What we learn here is critical to what we gain at the university level and a “last material” final exam is denying us the most knowledge we could attain. It is only with a true barometer of a student’s comprehensive knowledge that we become prepared for the next step.

 

CON

 

Finals week is arguably the most stressful week of the semester. We study and study for days, maybe even weeks, for a test or tests that may help us or screw us over.

I don’t know about you, but most of the time, finals do not help me. They almost always drop my grade a little, which sucks.

It sucks when you are doing OK in a class (notice I said OK and not great) to where you have a good enough grade to pass the class and because you didn’t do so well on your final, the final test you take at the very end of the semester after you’ve mentally checked out, you don’t pass the class.

You can sit there and try to argue that you don’t mentally check out of class in the last couple weeks that are left of the semester, but you and I both know that you are only lying to yourself. Mostly everyone starts to check out, or not be as focused, toward the end of the semester. It’s hard to stay focused in a class or subject for 16 weeks. Not only are we expected to stay focused for the whole duration, but we are also required to take the biggest test of the class at the end of those 16 weeks.

Sure it’s easy to say that we could try harder in the beginning of the semester, but it’s not always that easy. Sometimes the classes we barely get by in are classes that we aren’t that great in, like math. Or sometimes we have other things in our life that might interfere with us doing well in the beginning of the semester to where all we can count on is barely getting by.

How are we supposed to get by if the last chance we have at passing a class is a huge test on the very last day? I don’t understand how professors can expect us to do fantastic work on our finals.

I especially don’t understand how they expect us to do so well when we might have three to four and maybe even more, depending on how many classes we took, finals to take all in the same week. We are expected to study the weekend before, which is about two to three days, and be able to retain all this information from different classes and subjects when I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner the night before.

Speaking of food, due to finals, most of us don’t even eat properly. We, students, end up eating and drinking the unhealthiest stuff they sell out there. Most students buy chips, pop tarts, soda, energy drinks, and countless cups of coffee to help keep themselves awake and energized during study sessions.

If you go on Instagram, Facebook or any social network during finals week most of what you see is people posting pictures of their Starbucks coffee, Monster, or 5hr energy drink.

Not only does finals week bring stress to many, but it also brings unhealthy eating habits, therefore I don’t see any good coming out of having to take finals. I don’t believe taking finals should be mandatory. It should be optional.