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Students with an A should not be required to take finals

Finals for an A-student can only worsen their mental health and their GPA

Grace McLeod, JAG student life editor

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Every student knows all too well the feeling of intense stress building up. Juggling school, sports, clubs, activities, work and a social life is an enormous task that can leave teens feeling completely and utterly drained. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, studies have proven that the average high school student’s stress level is greater than that of a child psychiatric patient in the 1950s. I understand that stress is inevitable, but the amount of stress put on one test is dangerous and unhealthy. That is why if a student has an A- or above in a class, they should not have to take the final.

Finals week only adds an immense amount of stress to an already stressed out student. Sometimes the stress can can even turn deadly. In April of 2018, a 17-year-old died from brain hemorrhaging due to stress from finals week. This is an extreme case, but there are other dangerous health side effects from stress. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is common for students to experience migraines or stomach pain during finals week. Obviously, the fact that students are subject to that amount of stress from finals week is absolutely ridiculous. We should be doing everything that we can to take some of the load off of students. Having one test worth 20% of your grade is bad enough, but having two of those tests a day for four days straight is absolutely terrible.

In addition, finals can only be detrimental to the GPA of a student with an A. For example, if a student has an A- in a class, they have the best grade they can achieve for their GPA. However, if that student takes the final, it could lower their grade to a B, which would hurt their GPA. Either the student’s GPA is maintained or it is lowered, but either way it would not help the student. Also, a student who has earned an A throughout the semester has already proven that they know the material. Finals do not test knowledge, they only test long term memory. They are not a good measurement of how well a students understands the content.

Furthermore, finals force students to stay up ridiculously late studying. According to Nationwide Children, teenagers are supposed to get a recommended nine and a quarter hours of sleep per night. However, during finals week, many students struggle to even get six hours a night. This leads to students having a worse memory, worse judgement and worse decision-making, which are all invaluable on a test.

Students with an A- or higher should be able to opt out of the final exam. Finals are a stressful process that can only serve to hurt students who are already successful in a class. Something needs to change.

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