The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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Are finals best for students?

©HAWKEYE image credit: Dewey Jones

Finals? Who likes them? Poor and little sleep, high levels of stress, and anxiety are just some of the unforeseen results of finals season. These problems ramp up over a short period of time, but can have lasting effects on students’ mental health. Having to take final exams shouldn’t be the only way to test our knowledge as students.

When finals week comes around, students are studying as much as they can, especially if they have multiple finals. Once you know the dates of the finals, the best strategy is to start planning out how you’re going to study and what subjects you’re going to do on which days, weeks in advance. But maybe, you spent too much time studying for one class and didn’t have time to go over the material from other classes. This leads to changes in your study plan and going to bed at later times.. This is the case for many students—too many classes to study for, and too much material to memorize, resulting in very little sleep.

Many students, including myself, experienced high levels of stress. All I could think was, “What is my score going to be? How much will it affect my grade? What if I don’t pass?” Questions like these occur in students’ brains throughout finals week. Some people even resort to cheating from either peer or family pressure.
According to an article by engineer Belka Dijemil “The broken educational system values grades more than learning… and some students try by any means to pass the class.”

The broken educational system values grades more than learning… and some students try by any means to pass the class.

— Belka Dijemil

This is very true as a lot of students want to meet expectations to do well, which isn’t always possible without asking for help from a friend in the same class which some students take too far.

Most people don’t know how to manage stress, either because they feel that time is too short, or they don’t know how to study in general. Which simply leads to more stress itself. Causing a lack of sleep and more doubt in their already overwhelming schedule. To top it off there is an all-school lunch, a battle for a spot in the line for food. Trying to find a quiet spot to get some extra studying in before a difficult test.

Both a lack of sleep and high levels of stress or anxiety can have effects on students’ mental health. Lack of sleep, especially, can cause headaches and other physical symptoms.

Students may, and can get panic and anxiety attacks. Students’ moods can also change, feeling frustration, impatience, and irritability over small things. For example, students who have younger siblings at home know how annoying and loud those little ones can be. Just imagine trying to study with all the loud noise. But, if one is studying for finals, the stress is there at all times. If a younger sibling is playing on the tablet, even if the volume is not loud, the student is going to get frustrated and impatient at one point, feeling like they can’t concentrate, taking their anger out on the little one.

Let’s talk about exams themselves. Some people plan out what they are doing for finals preparation, but a lot of people struggle with time management. Many students use sleep time to study. But sometimes, that is not enough for students, so they end up cramming in a lot of the material, remembering just the bare minimum to pass their exam, and most forget it with the start of the new semester. Let’s also not forget the fact that some people just don’t do well on exams. They freeze up and sometimes can’t remember some things on their tests, or final exams.

Although there are many downsides to final exams, we can see why there are reasons we have them, the “positive” aspect to final exams. For example, finals help you towards the future, as most college classes will have large final exams at the end of each term. Final exams also teachyou how to study for higher stress and higher stakes situations in the future, where finals can be worth more than 60% of your grade. And lastly, finals mean the start of a new semester, it gives a fresh start to classes and their grades, helping everyone feel better with less sense of dread, but instead bringing with it a feeling of relief, closure, and relaxation.
Do finals in the end help or hurt more? Is it worth it to see what you’ve learned over the course of the year for that large amount of stress? Maybe as we find different ways to express ourselves, we can find new ways to show our expertise in our studies.
Most of the survey respondents who voted “YES” were parents, and most who voted “NO” were students. The survey was posted on the Hawkeye’s Instagram account (@mthshawkeye) and was available for roughly 24 hours earlier this month. What do you think? Write a letter to the editor 

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About the Contributors
Kalliope Whalen-Robinson
Kalliope Whalen-Robinson, Hawkeye Staff
Kalliope Whalen-Robinson joined HSM because she wanted to learn how to design and take better photos. In her free time,Kalliope Draws and takes pictures of the places she travels. Her post-high school plans attend a university close to home andstudy to be a teacher or chef/baker.
Yarinet Hernandez Mendoza
Yarinet Hernandez Mendoza, Hawkeye Staff
Yarinet Hernandez Mendoza (she/her) joined journalism in her sophomore year of highschool (15 almost 16 years old). She wanted tobe more involved with MTHS. As well as because one of her role models, Rory Gilmore, was in the newspaper. (Yarinet wished to bemore like her.) Like Rory, Yarinet is making a concerted effort to branch out and try new things while building her resume in preparation for applying to the dream college, Harvard (or another Ivy). Being acutely aware that things may not always turn out as planned, her alternative school would be University of Washington (which has the bonus of being close to home).
Dewey Jones
Dewey Jones, Hawkeye Staff
Dewey Jones joined HSM because he wanted to help produce content for the Hawkeye, and improve in his writing and drawing skills. His goal is to create many pieces of art for The Hawkeye, and make articles that its students find interesting and informative. In his free time, Dewey enjoys chatting with his friends and playing games. He also finds time to draw, in hopes of improving his skill as much as possible. While he doesn’t know his post-high school plans yet, he hopes to study some form of digital art, and possibly go into a career in animation.
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