The “FINAL” Breaking Point


Adyan Al-Shamri, Editor-in-Chief

The final breaking point.

As the end of the semester is creeping in, so are finals. Many study sheets and packets have already been long distributed. Students are now making flash cards, clicking through Quizlets, and creating the cheat sheets allowed–all of this leading up to the one last test to assess a student’s knowledge over the course. However, with all of this preparation, is the stress from finals really worth it?

The anxiety of finals week is a roaming ghost through all schools, but many students argue it shouldn’t be that way. Elkhart High School senior Yuritzi Alvarez puts it all into perspective. “The way many teachers give finals is the issue,” she plainly states. “A big test with a mix of multiple choice and open-ended questions that is worth 15% of my grade. If I don’t do well on the test, then my grade goes down in a class I worked hard on all year and was doing well in.” 

Students often complain about how much the final can drag their grades down, arguing that it’s their main stressor. Being able to have a healthy and positive learning environment doesn’t only lay responsibility on how everyone communicates with one another but also on the work given. An excessive amount of anxiety can also lead to health problems for students, resulting in minor chest pains and even extremes, such as high blood pressure and heart disorders. The health of the student body should always be a number one priority, but anxiety seems to repeatedly get in the way.

Of course, having a final is an important tool to assess how well a student has comprehended the material, but what is truly the correct way to go about that? “I think final projects are a good way to give a final out,” Alvarez points out. “It includes all the elements we have been working on and applies it in a real sense.” 

Newer teachers have been known to lean to a more hands-on and long-term project and students seem to find these a better fit for them. While final tests tend to be more on the spot knowledge based, final projects are a mix of all the social and comprehension skills. Alvarez talks about a project she is currently working on. “In one of my classes, we are making slideshow presentations over an element.” She continues, “This is nice because it allows us to ask questions, investigate the material, and fully understand what is happening.”

As teachers begin to experiment with what works best for their class, there is one important thing that should be on everyone’s mind: the mental health of a student.