Cancel Final Exams This Year


The week of final exams always stresses students out. (PC: David Schaffer)

By Gabriela Vasquez Rosado (II), Contributing Writer

As this school year comes to an end, students are bombarded by stress as they struggle to fulfill their academics while also coping with the pandemic. Students are overtaken by a tsunami of strains: virtual learning, mental health struggles and many more. With these unfortunate circumstances, should students truly be expected to ace their final exams? To account for each student’s circumstances and the many challenges they have faced, it would be unjust to hold final exams this school year.

It is no secret that this shortened school year has led to both students and teachers struggling to compensate for lost time. Teachers try to shove as much of the curriculum as possible into the three classes per week so that students can learn the required material. Despite these efforts, however, many teachers have been unable to teach the entire curriculum, and what they have been able to cram into this shortened year has been rushed.

According to Mr. Trevour Smith, a geometry teacher at Boston Latin School, “We don’t see [students] every day, […] and we haven’t been able to cover everything we normally would during this shortened year.”

As finals near, students are expected to recall this rushed material, which is nearly impossible because they have not even had the time to fully understand the whole curriculum.

Juggling this hurried curriculum during the unfortunate circumstances of this school year has taken a mental toll on students as well. During an in-person school year, students would be able to rely on motivation from their peers in order to stay on top of their academic responsibilities while also fostering a community among their classmates. This year, students lack that community and have to face the tests, quizzes, essays and other academic responsibilities alone, making school completely unenjoyable.

This lack of motivation has made it much harder to focus on school, not to mention the impact of  COVID-19 on many families, which directly affects a student’s ability to focus on schoolwork. Holding finals this year would just be fanning the flames and worsening the situation for students.

Additionally, these final exams will provide unequal opportunities for success. Each student has faced different challenges throughout the year. Certain students have been hit harder by the pandemic either physically or mentally — not to mention their families.

Tiffany Trinh (II) adds, “In an actual classroom setting, everyone has the same chance. Everyone gets the same amount of noise and the same amount of silence, but when [students] are at home, there are so many different factors that can deter them from success.”

Despite some students being able to take finals at school, not everyone will be able to do so. Each student needs to be accounted for and deserves empathy for whatever struggles they have experienced this school year, which may make finals much harder.

Final exams are always a challenging part of the year. Students spend countless hours creating study guides for each course and reviewing mountains of material. It would be unjust to put everyone through this stress again after an already demanding school year. Final exams would just be too much for everyone to handle after all that they have gone through.