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Pleasant Grove students react to finals and the stress they bring

Finals are stress time for many students.

At Pleasant Grove High School, in the aftermath of fall semester finals, students have a lot to say about how the exams increased their stress levels, and about finals’ value and whether they can be too important in determining grades.

Finals are usually scheduled for mid-December, and students believe that they are getting progressively harder every year. Some students say the learning gap caused by the Covid 19 pandemic has increased the difficulty.

April Pierce, a swimmer and a junior, said most finals do not have a significant effect on semester grades.

“Everyone stressed over finals worried about how they will do,” she said. “But I have found that for most classes the final doesn’t even affect . . . more than 10% of your grade.”

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Still, Pierce said finals should not be graded at all. Instead, she said, they should be used by teachers to reflect on how well students have absorbed information taught during the semester.

“Semester finals shouldn’t exist for the purpose of giving students a grade,” Pierce said. “The finals should be an evaluation of how well students were able to take in the information given to them.”

She said that not only are finals over-emphasized for purposes of grading, but the stress they cause can negatively affect students’ performance.

As a result, Pierce said, finals do not “reflect how well they learned the information but how they handle stress and how it affects them.” In her own case, she said, “My stress increased because of the time limit put on the final and because I ran out of brain power making it hard to focus and think.”

Faith Seto, a junior, cited the school and family pressures associated with finals and questioned whether they should exist at all.

“I can see where teachers come from when they say it allows them to know where their students are at in their education and if they’re actually paying attention, and that it helps with college,” she said. “But tests and quizzes allow the same thing.”

Junior Jocelyn Clark said the stress didn’t bother her much, and that finals serve a useful purpose for students.

“Personally, I don’t take a whole bunch of stress because if I am paying attention at school then I will know the material for the final,” she said. “I am OK with semester finals because they teach us to pay attention, but they can be stressful for a lot of people.” 

Isabella Hoang, a junior, took a middle-ground position, saying finals should exist, but that they should have a smaller effect on grades.

“I like that semester finals exist,” Hoang said, “but they should not be worth so much of your grade percent.”

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Parneet Kaur
Parneet Kaur, Reporter
I am a student at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove.
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