There’s a First Time for Everything


Photo by Sejin Hahn

Sophomore Ethan Franz studies for his finals.

From Dec. 17-21, students will be taking their semester finals. While finals are nothing new to Juniors and Seniors, it will be a new experience for underclassmen. Due to COVID-19, freshmen had to deal with transitioning from online middle school to in-person high school. For sophomores, most classes last year did not have traditional finals.

Although finals are a new concept to them, a fair amount of students do not feel the pressure, nor do they feel worried. Sophomore Louis Cerpoit is not stressed about finals, and is confident that the final won’t have a substantial impact on his grades.

“I’m probably just going to look at my stuff for a little bit. I’m not tripping about it, so I’m not going to study too much because I have other stuff to do. I think all my grades will still be fine even if I don’t do as well as I think I will,” Cerpoit said.

Miles Kim, another sophomore, shares the same opinion and believes that finals are just the same concept as a big test.

“Honestly, it’s not really anything new for me. First of all, we already had a lot of tests, and I see the finals have pretty much the same thing, just bigger. “I don’t find it very stressful, but I definitely see why a lot of people will find it that way,” Kim said.

The students on the other side of the spectrum are anxious, but feel prepared. Freshman Caroline Massman knows that finals can be significant, and feels uptight but is confident heading into it.

“I feel very stressed. I know that finals are really important and that a lot depends on the grade that we make,” Massman said. “I’m definitely very stressed out, but with the grades I currently have, I’m in a pretty good position.”

Some classes are not having the finals as a test, but rather as projects in some shape or form. According to Ryan Lo, most of his finals are projects, which comes with its own set of challenges.

“I’m pretty stressed because right now, we’re still working on this project. In geography, my group is not doing the best. Half the group works, half the group doesn’t. Then science and ELA [finals] haven’t been decided yet, so we’re not going to have much less time to work on them,” Lo said.

Tense or not, most students will be studying nevertheless. Sophomore Kleine McGraw, has saved all his notes and will be looking for class materials from his teachers.

“I have all my notes saved and all my homework assignments, and I’ll study everything to see if I can find practice items I can redo and try to remember all the topics, ” McGraw said.

The most considerable challenges of preparing for finals include the vast numbers of topics covered, and finding efficient ways to study.

“Classes like Honors Algebra II and Honors Chemistry are going to be really hard, because there’s a lot to remember there. [I think] just the large amount of information all at once, because it gets pretty intense,” Mcgraw said.

Another issue mentioned deals with finding enough review time, as some students have important extracurricular events going on.

“I’m in debate and I have a couple debates over these few weekends in December. So I’m kind of worried about being busy with other December club activities and being able to balance that and also studying for finals,” Massman said.

Teachers have also given out recommendations on how to prepare for finals. Chemistry teacher Amy Wiese shared some tips.

“I would get some sort of study guide from your teacher and try to work through that early and on your own to see what sections you might need to go back and review. Then I would divide your time up so you study a little bit every day or every few days before the final and not just cramming the day a few days before,” Wiese said.

World Geography and AP World History teacher Jeff Breedlove claims it is critical for students to know the structure of each final.

“The first thing you need is what the final looks like and you need to find out from your teacher. The format is key to knowing what’s going to be on it. Then you’re going to have to sort of start ahead of time like figuring out how you’re going to plan it out in your schedule. You can’t cram, it takes a schedule to plan,” Breedlove said.

According to Breedlove, students need to grasp the fact that finals are much more crucial than the regular tests. He also believes that a little bit of stress could be beneficial.

“What needs to be understood by most kids is that it’s a big deal and typically, finals are more than a regular test. I don’t know if kids have understood that they’re gonna have to know stuff from August. Also, a little bit of stress is okay. If it’s a big deal, sometimes stress is what will motivate you to study,” Breedlove said.