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Final exams: easily the most stressful part of the semester for both high school and college students. They cause unnecessary anxiety for most students, and this stress could be relieved if finals were made optional for those who strive for success throughout the semester.

Many improvements could be made by making finals optional at CHS for those who already have an A in the class.

More time could be designated for studying other subjects, and students would be more motivated throughout the semester. Additionally, finals seem unnecessary at the end of the semester because students have already demonstrated a significant understanding of the subject.

Most finals are only worth a small percentage of your grade. Therefore, if a student already has an A in the class, it is nearly impossible for them to get to that next A+ level, but much more easy for them to lower to that A-, negatively affecting their GPA. This process and seemingly unfairness of finals are the main causes of students’ stress.

“I kind of fall into a spiral when I start taking my finals,” senior Eliza Copilevitz said. “It’s like my grade depends on it, and it’s going to affect my GPA which will affect what college I get in to. It’s frustrating because then when I have the test in front of me, that’s what I’m thinking about.”

Despite the insignificant amount that finals can truly impact your grade, Clayton students continue to worry. “Clayton students especially put so much pressure on themselves to succeed and do well on finals. It drives us to the point of not sleeping and not eating, and we develop unhealthy habits. We are willing to sacrifice ourselves for our grades,” Copilevitz said.

In addition to causing overwhelming amounts of stress, finals are unnecessary for students with a high grade in the class. This is because they have already demonstrated their knowledge of the subject. It wouldn’t be possible for students to achieve a good grade if they hadn’t worked tirelessly during the semester to make sure they succeeded on tests and other assignments.

“If you have a good grade in the class, then you have proved that you already know the material, and it makes sense that those students should not have to take the exams,” freshman Kellen Mottl said.

Making finals optional for students with a high grade in a class would also be beneficial because it would encourage students to work harder throughout the semester.

“I think that people would work harder if they knew that if they had a good grade then they wouldn’t have to take the exams, because I don’t think many people enjoy taking the tests,” Mottl said. “If there is an opportunity to not have to put themselves through all the stress, students would work harder.”

Without needing to study for finals in classes that they already excel in, students could focus on preparing for classes that they do struggle with.

“The benefit is that the kid can get prepared for another final more readily and they’ve already put in the work and they’ve earned it. They’ve earned the grade they’re supposed to get in that class,” Homer Turner, a counselor at CHS and someone who formerly worked at a school where finals were optional, said.

The possibility of being exempt from finals, again, would not only encourage students to work harder throughout the year, but would relieve the massive amounts of stress forced onto them at the end of the semester, ultimately improving their mental health.

“No, I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen any drawbacks from [making finals optional],” Turner said. “It just gave students more time to get prepared for another class.”

Due to the clear understanding of the subject and relief of stress, students at CHS would most definitely benefit from the possibility of being exempt from finals if they work hard throughout the semester to obtain a good grade.

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