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Finals dread arises

How the new exam schedule will impact Rebels during the coming finals week

TESTING+A+NEW+SCHEDULE%3A+The+revised+finals+week+will+present+new+challenges+that+all+Rebels+will+have+to+overcome
TESTING A NEW SCHEDULE: The revised finals week will present new challenges that all Rebels will have to overcome

TESTING A NEW SCHEDULE: The revised finals week will present new challenges that all Rebels will have to overcome

Photo by Grace Murphy

Photo by Grace Murphy

TESTING A NEW SCHEDULE: The revised finals week will present new challenges that all Rebels will have to overcome

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Every year, I approach finals week with a sense of apprehension, trying to adequately prepare myself for the eight exams I will be taking over the course of four days. In addition to the normal stress that accompanies this time of the year, I, along with all Rebels, will face an additional challenge: a completely revised version of the finals week schedule.

The biggest changes come in the amount of finals per day and the length of each final. Students will test periods one, three and five on Wednesday, periods two, four and six on Thursday and periods seven and eight on Friday. Exams will take 70 minutes instead of the previous 75 minute exams. The new schedule adds two days of instruction on Monday and Tuesday.

Principal Mr. Chuck Weisenbach explains that, with the old schedule, students were missing out on valuable classroom time.

“There was an overarching concern and uncomfortableness with spending eight days [of the school year] that turn into half days, and four of those days where half the school [was] leaving after an hour,” Weisenbach said.

Based on these concerns, administration announced the change at the end of last year. Department heads had been meeting with administration months before the change, and the new finals week schedule was derived as a result in order to maximize instruction time.

Teachers have had to adjust their exams to focus and reduce the information students will be tested on. Social studies department chair Mrs. Erin Bohn believes her new final, made to accommodate the 70 minute time restraint, provides a more comprehensive summary of her class.

“The questions I’m asking are the most important information [students] need to know at the end of the class,” Bohn said. “I’m not just asking for memorization of things we covered in class but for true understanding of important ideas.”

Although the thought of a shorter and more condensed version of a final sounds appealing, the stress that accompanies taking three finals in one day will play a factor in student performances on exams. Getting home later each afternoon and having an additional final to study for the next day will take a mental toll on students.

Guidance counselor Mrs. Lisa Beckwith is sympathetic to the additional pressure the new schedule will bring.

“Our finals are difficult, and I understand the stress of adding another final,” Beckwith said. “As counselors we recognize that it is going to be a big shift.”

The new finals week schedule is another stressor added to an already exhausting and taxing time of year. I prefer taking two finals per day, having adequate time to rest my brain and being able to to study for the other finals I will take the next day. I fear that this year I will be too pressed for time that I will need to rush home after taking three finals and immediately jump back into my studies to prepare for, not two, but three exams the following day. By having less time to prepare myself mentally and academically, my scores on exams will most likely be lower. The new finals schedule does not allow for adequate preparation time.

Senior Collin Prince also feels that students will be more unprepared for their finals than in previous years.

“I don’t think students will be able to show their best effort, and [the exam] won’t reflect how they are doing in the class,” Prince said.

Additionally, by having an eight period day, I will be taking two days of three finals each, and one of those days will consist of three core class exams, which are my most difficult. The mental stress I will have to face during finals week will be unlike any I have faced in the past; therefore, I will need to adjust my study and time management habits.

“I would stress communication with the teacher,” Bohn said. “They are the ones writing the test. That’s why we are here. We are not trying to make an impossible test–we want you to learn.”

Whether I agree or not, the new finals schedule is quickly approaching, and all students need to adequately prepare themselves for the new challenge. By accepting the inevitable, students can move past their annoyance and embrace a new mindset that will allow them to succeed in the classroom.

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Finals dread arises