Finals: What to expect and how to prepare

By Finn Thomas

Hillmen Messenger Staff

Some high school students, especially freshmen, are new to finals. They may be worried about their grade, and not know what to except.  However, important steps can be taken to increase the rate of succeeding on this exam.

Around campus, students with seemingly good grades appear to be more nervous about the final, then students that would need to do well the final, in order to pass their current classes. But how much are these tests really going to affect our grades?

“It depends on the teacher. Mine’s at 10% of your grade, so it’s basically two tests worth. I think in general that’s probably kind of where it ends. But again, that depends on the subject, and the teacher,” stated Kathy Long, a Placer High School math teacher, explaining that most finals in high school will not be more than the two tests worth.

Doing poorly on this test will obviously drop the grade of a student. People with lower grades may suffer as a result of a not so good final score.

“Generally I would say that the final is typically not what we would call a cumulative, which is an entire year’s worth of learning in one test. There may be aspects of that, but I guess it depends on where you sit with your grade percentage at the time you take the final. Obviously if you are borderline and you don’t do well on the final then you might not pass, but if you fail the final, you’re not going to fail the class unless you are sitting at a borderline grade,” said Annette Udall, an English teacher at Placer High School.

Steps can be taken to possibly improve the results of your own final test score, and ensure that the grade on a report card will be better than if a student went into the final without preparing themselves.

“For math, old tests, and going through key notes. Most math teachers have practice or reviews; those are pretty close to what you’re probably going to see on the final, so definitely go through those. Look through them without talking; go through the questions without talking to anybody, or looking up at your notes. If you can do that without looking at your notes, and your book and stuff, then you know what you’re doing. If you’re constantly looking back to look something up, you don’t quite know it yet,” Long continued, explaining how to get ready for a final math exam.

For different subjects and teachers, studying or preparing for this important day is going to be unique to each class. Math is most likely going to be a written test of some sort, however a presentation could be given as final for various other classes.

“Every teacher has a different final that they give. We do have a freshman final, we call it a final word, but is a presentation. I did my speech a little earlier, and I’m doing Romeo and Juliet presentation for my final,” Udall responded.

“The final is up to the teacher discretion. What would help students is definitely communicating with the teacher, understanding what units are coming up and what they need to do. I believe each teacher probably does things a little bit differently, but preparing, communicating with your teacher, understanding what the assignment is and will be, and asking questions if necessary if you’re not sure is the best way to prepare,” Udall continued.

Some may wonder how students can see their scores after they have completed the final.

“You can see it all on Aeries,” Long said.

Checking the score of your final is just as simple as checking a score for a regular test, just look online. Even after all these steps, students may still be worrisome on the day of.

“Generally, if I think students have been prepared, and they are paying attention in class, and they communicate with the teacher about expectations, they should be fine during the finals, Udall concluded.

Doing bad on the finals is not the end of the world. If a student has done well on all their other work, and has kept their grade at a decent level, preparing and taking the final should be easier than one may think.