Are Final Exams Pointless?

Mattea Vecera, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The last week before Christmas and summer break is devoted to studying for final exams. Students spend hours frantically cramming months worth of information into their heads, hoping to remember it all in every subject for the one test that determines usually 10-20% of that semester’s grade. 

A common murmur by the student body during this time goes something like this: “Why do we even need finals? I’m so stressed. Final exams are pointless.” 

It’s easy to make that claim as a student under high pressure to do well from their teachers, parents, and even peers, but is this really true? Are final exams pointless?

My answer: No. Before you close out of this article or mentally attack me, read what I have to say. 

The purpose of final exams is for the teacher of a class to gauge how much you’ve actually learned throughout the semester. Usually, a week or two is spent on a topic before a test is taken. It is likely to never be discussed during the year (or sometimes throughout all of high school) ever again. However, a final exam forces you to explore that topic another time.

This is incredibly important to see your retention of information and any possible growth. If the topics were actually learned during their respective units, the final should be no problem. If they were just memorized directly before the test, they most likely would not have stuck and could be forgotten altogether. 

However, the same reasoning could be used as a counterargument. When cramming for multiple huge tests in the span of three days and just learning to pass the test and get a good grade, what is the purpose? 

The purpose of school itself is to understand and expand your knowledge on a specific topic. If you are just memorizing material in order to pass a test, of course it will not seem effective to you. However, if you actually learn the material the first time around, this would not be an issue. 

I understand procrastination and the mentality of “only studying the night before and the morning of” (and I am ashamed to say this is usually what I do), however in doing so I am giving up my right to complain about needing to remember that information months later–and you are too. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that some people are good students but bad test takers, but it is still important that they remember what they’ve learned earlier in the year just like everyone else, for their own benefit at least.

So this week when you are thinking about complaining about finals, just try to grind and study as much as you can–it’ll all be over in a few days. 

This year’s break is incredibly long, so you’ll have plenty of time to regroup and relax over the holidays. Think about these moments when starting second semester and use these feelings of stress as a learning experience. Take the time to better your studying habits, and I guarantee more information will be retained, making your life during finals in May much easier.