A real finals week is back!

What can freshmen and sophomores, who missed in-person finals last year, expect this week?


Shut Lee

Finals will look a little different this year now that students are back to taking tests in person instead of from the comforts of their home.

The first finals week of the post-online school era has students and staff wondering what to expect after a year of virtual testing experiences.

Sophomores and freshmen in particular have no prior experience of what a real finals week is like and will find themselves enduring a completely new experience next week.

“I had maybe one real final [last year],” sophomore Sashreek Kalakota said.

There is doubt among both students and staff that the upcoming finals week will go smoothly because of the difficult adjustment several students experienced in coming back to regular school this fall.

“Some of the students have taken a longer transition into back-to-school and so for them, it will be harder,” Spanish 3 teacher Ivette Maclean said. “We’ve noticed that there’s a delay on getting back to, like, a little bit of a certain rhythm.” 

Many students are anxious about what to expect.

“There’s a lot more stress and material to go over this year,” said sophomore Nica Majlesi. 

Even upperclassmen who have experienced in-class finals in the past are not sure if finals week will be different.

“I expect them [finals] to be a lot harder,” senior Anthony Austria said. Austria said he thought last year’s finals were relatively easy.

Both Majlesi and Kalakota believe that it would be very beneficial to students if there was a way finals exams could be spaced out, rather than all put in just one week. 

Another factor contributing to the increased difficulty of finals this semester is the fact that cheating was much more prevalent last year than in other years because of the online setting. Since it was much more difficult for teachers to monitor their students when taking tests online from home last year, it is believed that many students took advantage of the situation. 

“I assume there was a lot of people cheating,” said Austria. 

Austria has heard of students using tools such as math apps in situations they weren’t supposed to.

Maclean also said that it was difficult for students to ask questions virtually to the teacher one-on-one, making the testing experience more difficult for some.

“It was also the fact that I couldn’t see [if] they were using resources they were not supposed to,” Maclean said.

Now that all test-taking will be done in classes again, the format of many of the tests themselves is likely to change to what they were like before the pandemic or possibly something new altogether. 

Among the teachers that are changing their final back to suit in-person learning is history teacher Ryan Cook, who teaches AP Euro and AP US History. Cook said the finals for his classes are returning to multiple-choice as opposed to the writing-based test given last year that had to be implemented to avoid cheating.

Since students can no longer use multiple devices at once during their final exams to find answers, memorization has become much more important.  

Upperclassmen have some tips to help sophomores and freshman with their first in-person finals.

“Make sure you study all the material,” said junior Athena Berris, who advises that students should try to be well-rested during the stressful week. 

Austria recommends students study in advance instead of just cramming the night before, an opinion shared by Cook and many other teachers.

Although more stress is being brought on by the fact that this is the first real finals week after virtual school last year, many teachers are optimistic that this will be a positive change.

“I think [students are] going to find it [finals week] easier when it’s live in-person,” said English teacher Donna Montague, who recommends peer tutors and Educore as helpful study resources.  “Being online made it more complicated for people.”