The final push: Upper schoolers share their thoughts on upcoming virtual finals

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Photo credit: Grace Doyle

Flash cards and study guides fill the desks of many students in preparation for finals. Upper schoolers are reflecting on the online format. From nervousness to relief, students highlight how they feel going into finals. “I’m not that worried about it. I think that because we’ve done it before, before Winter Break, and I’m actually more relieved because I would have been more worried to do it in person,” sophomore Eliza Tiles said.

By Grace Doyle, Sports Editor

As the school year comes to an end, the culmination of a year’s work means it’s finals season. Similar to spring and winter 2020 finals amidst COVID-19, the 2021 spring finals will take place online. From projects to keeping the traditional format of a timed test, students reflect on the virtual setup.

Hannah Heyman, a freshman, has only ever experienced finals online. As opposed to a final exam, she says that projects are her preferred way to showcase her knowledge.

“I personally prefer projects because they’re more fun and they don’t make me as stressed,” Heyman said. “The work does pile up a lot, though, which is an issue. But I prefer working on a project rather than having to study for multiple tests at once.”

Similarly, sophomore Eliza Tiles likes the new format of finals. Rather than a sit-down test, she believes assignments that emphasize the application of concepts over memorization work highlight her best abilities.

“I like the format of a more analytical test better because … I can really showcase my knowledge,” Tiles said. “I think it’s more fun and better for the type of learner I am.”

Teachers are able to test their class as they choose. They can assign a project or writing assessment, spend the time watching a movie or not have a final at all. However, from June 1-3, each class is given a two-hour block to do with as they please. Some teachers choose to emulate in-person finals with a timed test, while others have already assigned long-term projects that will be due before their final class period. While some students very much prefer the tests being online, junior Olivia Jarvie noted a key drawback of virtual finals.

“I think that it would definitely be easier if it was in-person just to avoid distractions,” Jarvie said. “But given the situation, it’s totally understandable to make it an equal playing field and have everyone online.”

While Tiles currently prefers online finals, she said she felt “nervous” about her future experiences with finals.

“I haven’t really had much experience with finals,” Tiles said. “I’m a little nervous because it will be my junior year going back to school five days a week and having to take actual finals.”

I think that it would definitely be easier if it was in-person just to avoid distractions. But given the situation, it’s totally understandable to make it an equal playing field and have everyone online.”

— Olivia Jarvie

As opposed to last semester, students now have had the opportunity to be on-campus for their classes. For Heyman, this had a positive effect on her feelings of preparedness for finals.

“My finals were a bit different last semester,” Heyman said. “But, I feel a bit more prepared this semester especially because we’ve been in-person and I’ve had one-on-one time with teachers which has helped a lot.”

Similarly, Jarvie emphasized the greater preparation she has for finals due to attending the upper school on-campus learning days.

“Being able to see our teachers in-person and have some type of interactions with friends and classmates has definitely helped [my] motivation,” Jarvie said. “And in turn, that has helped prepare for finals and next year.”