Oakmont Students Confused on Status of Final Exams


Delaney Taylor

The calendar depicts Oakmont’s final exam schedule for the first semester courses.

As the first semester of the 2022-2023 school year comes to a close, many students are beginning to wonder about final exams. One question that has captivated the Oakmont Regional High School student body is, “do we have final exams?” With so much change in grading formulas and final exams since the Covid-19 era, The Oakmonitor decided to conduct a voluntary survey to get a pulse on the topic.

The survey was given to 100 Oakmont students of all different homerooms and grade levels during the week of December 20th. Interestingly enough, just 30 days away from the end of the first semester, 56% of those surveyed answered ‘I don’t know’, when asked if final exams would be administered. In addition, 33% of those surveyed answered ‘Yes’, final exams would be given, and the remaining 11% answered ‘No’, they would not be given. Obviously, there is much confusion among the student body. 

Students who entered their freshman year at Oakmont after the Covid-19 pandemic began have never experienced final exams, and many are unsure as to what they even are. Final exams are cumulative projects, essays, presentations and/ or tests that count for a certain percentage of a student’s final course grade. Prior to the Covid-19 shutdown, during the 2019-2020 school year, final exams accounted for a mandatory 20% of the final course grade. The other 80% of the final grade was divided evenly between Term and Term 2 averages. 

Abby Mulhall, a senior who has experienced traditional final exams, commented, “I have heard from my teachers that we do have final exams this school year, but it is up to the individual teacher whether they want to give one or not.” Although some students are under the impression that traditional finals will be given, it seems unclear to students whether teachers are required to give them or not. 

For the 2022-2023 school year, Oakmont Regional High School has scheduled days for teachers to give final exams. Those days are Friday, January 20th, which is reserved for C and D Block final assessments, and Monday, January 23rd, which is reserved for A and B Block final assessments. They will not count as a certain percentage – like 20% prior to Covid-19 – of a student’s final course grade, instead they will be factored into the Term 2 grade. 

In The Oakmonitor survey, students were also asked about the pros and the cons of schools holding traditional final exams. The Oakmonitor condensed all of the pros and cons brainstormed by students into the following list: 


  • Final exams give students an opportunity to improve their final grade. 

We’ve all experienced it, having an 88% in a class and not being able to obtain that A. Having final exams that are factored into the final course grade gives students a chance to improve their grade tremendously. Although it may be a pain to spend a few weeks studying, doing well on a final exam could boost your final grade by 3 points or possibly more. 

  • Final exams can boost class participation and help students pay attention. 

Many high schooler’s main focus is to get through to the end of the semester with a passing grade. They may not prioritize actually retaining the information past the chapter tests and quizzes. Final exams give students a goal to work towards at the end of the course. It forces students to pay attention and participate in class, because of a final assessment that can make or break their grade. 

  • Final exams help prepare students for college. 

According to homework.study.com, 67% of college classes require a final exam that accounts for between 15% and 45% of the final course grade. For high school students that are college bound, final exam experience in high school can make or break their performance in college. After having four years to practice studying and preparing for final exams in high school, students would be a lot more prepared for final exams and college grading, upon arriving at college. 

  • Final exams allow teachers to see how students comprehended the course. 

In order for teachers to do their jobs, and learn from their mistakes, they must know how much of the curriculum students understood and retained throughout the course. Final exams give teachers a way to assess their students on several of the topics that the course covered. Seeing what students did well on and did poorly on, helps teachers to fix aspects of the course and instruction that didn’t work well, and improve the course for future years. 

  • Final exams help students learn organizational skills and good study habits. 

Although many students will cram for any test they’re taking, having a more difficult cumulative exam may help students learn to study ahead. Preparing for final exams requires reviewing notes, staying organized, and filling learning gaps, and all of these tasks cannot be fulfilled in one or two nights. Having more pressure on students to do well, may help them take it seriously and put in the necessary time and effort. In a nutshell, finals can teach students how to manage their time well. 


  • Final exams may put an immense amount of pressure on students. 

School itself can be extremely stressful and time consuming for students, and and added pressure from a heavily weighted exam only makes it more stressful. Finals can be especially stressful at the end of the year when concerts, banquets, and other school events are taking place. Having to prepare for such a large exam, may also overwhelm students who get extreme test anxiety, which gives them a disadvantage in taking their tests. 

  • Final exams can be unfair to those who aren’t good test takers. 

One very hard part about exams of any kind, is that many people aren’t good test takers and they feel that their test scores don’t reflect their performance in class. With the traditional formula for final exams, a student could have an amazing grade before finals, but a bad grade on a final exam could bring their grade down tremendously. 

  • Final exams promote comparison among students. 

The significance of a final exam on a student’s final course grade is extremely high. Due to this, many students who are academically competitive may compare their final exam grades to those of their peers. This can cause students to put a unhealthy amount of pressure and fault on themselves for not performing well on finals exams. 

  • Final exams can cause tension, anxiety, and depression in many students. 

In this day and age, mental health is an extreme crisis affecting our schools, and their students. Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic took place, many students have experienced a major loss of motivation to do well in school. Having final exams, after three years of school that has been somewhat less challenging would overwhelm a great amount of students. Many students who are already experiencing anxiety, depression, etc., may not take the added pressure well, and may feel that their mental health is negatively affected. 

  • Final exams may focus on memorization instead of critical thinking skills. 

Although this preference varies from student to student, many students believe that they should be assessed on their critical thinking skills and problem solving instead of their knowledge and memorization skills. While there are still ways for teachers to assess students on their critical thinking and problem solving skills through group and individual projects, many students believe that those skills are the only ones that should be thought of when it comes to assessments.