Final exams approach to tie up the 2023 school year

BHS final exams are approaching from June 9th-14th


Jane Holmes

Bernards High school June final exam schedule

Kilian Schlager, News Editor

With the end of the school year only a month away, summer is rapidly approaching, and with it, final exams are too. “It’s a big undertaking for the end of the year, one that I’m dreading,” said Alex Vaccaro, ‘25. As the primary cause of stress and anxiety among students towards the end of the year, why does BHS still have finals? 

Many schools across the state, especially private schools, have either abandoned finals entirely or have left it up to the discretion of the teacher whether or not to administer one. BHS, on the other hand, still has required finals, with the last week of school being dedicated solely to testing. While elective courses have the freedom to choose whether or not to give a final, all core subjects (Science, Math, English, World Language, History, etc.) are required per curriculum to end the year with a final cumulative assessment. 

Liberties are provided to the teachers as to the format of the assessment, yet there remain restrictions even to that. For example, last year, Mr. Dunker, a long-term substitute teacher for Mrs. Murphy’s US History II (H), was hoping to assign a project in place of the final exam, yet was unable to due to the curriculum, which mandated that all final exams be taken during the allotted 2 hour time period on their respected day. 

Weighing in at 10% of a student’s overall yearly grade, the final exams carry significant importance and warrant equally significant preparation. Out of 30 students interviewed at BHS, the average spent at least 1 to 2 weeks prior to the exams studying and preparing. Over 40% of them said that they had lost sleep or stayed up late doing so. 

Students are repeatedly tested year-round in every subject without question. A teacher’s ability to relay information or a particular student’s ability to retain that information is clearly demonstrated on a nearly weekly basis through quizzes and tests, without the need for finals. If the purpose of finals is to demonstrate that a student has retained information from the beginning of the year, to ensure that nothing has been forgotten, and to better prepare them for the coming year, then final exams fail miserably in that regard too. Studying for final exams involves re-learning copious amounts of information in a relatively short period of time, not a method that will by any means ensure the retention of information, and even so, the three-month gap, summer break, ensures their uselessness, as students will anyways likely have to re-learn certain topics again come next year.

It is time to adapt to the times and abandon the senseless practice of final exams. Bringing only stress and anxiety to students, any supposed benefits of final exams are clearly outweighed by the overwhelming number of issues that they pose. Summer is nearly here. Let students enjoy and look forward to it rather than face them with yet another mountain to climb; this one is the steepest and tallest of them all.