Finals don’t measure success

Morgan Dowler | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

As we near the end of the school year, many students will find themselves stressed, spending hours in Moody Memorial Library fueled by espresso and vending machine snacks. Occupying a quiet space, students open their laptops to consult every inch of information they “learned” throughout the entire semester as they begin to prepare for the ultimate feat: final exams.

Final exams are meant to measure the amount of information that students have retained over the last 16 weeks of classes. However, these tests induce frantic studying and stress, which has been shown to not really reflect how well a student may understand the class content. Cumulative finals are not an accurate way to measure our classroom experiences.

Not to bash on those who will be able to score an A next week, but most students who do well on finals do so because they are able to memorize large amounts of information in small settings — and not everyone is built to learn the same way. Finals consist of long research papers, projects, presentations and sit-down exams that test how much regurgitation students’ brains can handle. An increased amount of stress, anxiety and depression is often common during the last two weeks of the school year as additives to academic performance on finals.

Many professors propose tests the week before finals, adding another layer of stress on students. And after those assignments are done, students are given one “study” day in between classes before finals start on Saturday. Finals shouldn’t start on the weekend, and students should have more than one day in between to prepare for these large exams and/or projects. Additionally, professors will bump up their finals to try to “help” and “get it out of the way,” but in reality, that typically only causes more problems. So, as many professors get a jump-start on grading and get to begin their summer break, students are crunched for time while deadlines jumble together.

As Baylor students finish up the spring semester next week, they will be looking at the grades they receive on these finals to define their worth and success as a student. Most final exams are weighted between 10% and 30% of a final grade, heightening the importance of doing well on them.

However, on average, a full-time student has six to seven classes with individual exams and projects; each student is asked to complete and do well on these items in a significantly shortened timeline compared to during the semester. Students have lives outside of finals week of school, and they don’t magically find 12 more hours each day to study and work on homework.

Whether or not you decide to put in the time, energy and stress to study for these tests, sometimes it doesn’t always pay off. Finals focus more on how well you can perform in high-stress situations than on applying your knowledge from the course. Nevertheless, Baylor students, let’s finish strong in our final week and try our best on our finals. Remember that your grades don’t define the value of how hard you work or the person you are.