Final exams resume regular schedule

Sydney O'Hara, Staff Writer

South will return to an in-person, mandatory finals schedule for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors beginning May 27, Cameron Muir, Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction, said.

This semester, students can expect a finals week free from these alterations, with operations returning to normal, Muir said. As for what normal entails, finals will be held over four days, encompassing Memorial Day weekend and in terms of weighting and style of final exams, students should consult their teachers, Muir explained.

“[The weighting of exams is] standardized up to 20 percent. Some classes are much lower than 20 percent and it should be communicated to the students in advance, probably in the syllabus,” Muir said, “Some [finals] are projects, maybe more long term papers that have a significant amount of work done outside of class [others include] writing a few answers to questions, show your work problems, [or] there might be some multiple choice questions.”

The past four semesters of finals exams have been altered one way or another due to Covid-19, Muir said. Governmental ordinances to move school operations online in 2020, a lack of stability due to outbreaks of Covid-19 cases, and hybrid learning created a necessity for the implementation of no-harm finals, Muir explained.

“Even though we were pretty consistent [last semester], there were spikes that occurred following winter break and Thanksgiving break as well as throughout the fall,” Muir said. “There were a number of students and teachers who were quarantined, so there was a lack of consistency.”

For many students, especially underclassmen going through a normal finals week for their first time, finals cause anxiety, freshman Kelly Akhikar shared.

“Nobody is excited to take them,” Akhikar said. “We are in fact, the opposite of excited to take them. I am very anxious, I’m really nervous, and I’m worried that I’ll do bad.”

Underpreparedness for finals is a typical concern for Freshmen Classes, Social Studies Teacher Nick Morley said. The difference this year is the magnitude of this unpreparedness, Morley explained.

“Even in a typical year, freshmen come in without final experience and this year, freshmen came in with just less general academic experience,” Morley said.

This lack of experience, though, might not be much of an obstacle for students to overcome this semester, Muir noted. While last semester’s finals were optional and no-harm, they still provided the opportunity for students to view the format of final exams and practice studying for them, Muir said.

“Finals have been offered every single term,” Muir said. “[Finals have] been available for students to take and often students have taken them. If [students] have taken finals in the previous few terms, it’s going to be very similar.”