The importance of taking final exams


"Writing" by jjpacres is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Final exams show the most transparent and direct way of displaying the comparison in the depth of knowledge before and after taking the class.

Daniel Lee, News Editor

Only a couple years ago, final exam weeks were students’ biggest fear of the school year. Test-formatted final exams cover every class material taught within the semester, or sometimes even the whole year. However, more and more final exams are disappearing from high school curriculums and other alternative projects or assignments are starting to replace them these days. Are final exams not helpful for students’ learnings? As much as they are stressful for students, there are more than enough reasons why high schools should keep a traditional final examination in their curriculums. 


One of the most significant pros of having test-formatted final exams is that they allow students to check what they really gain from taking these classes and how much they can apply or build up to these knowledge in their later lives. Final exams show the most transparent and direct way of displaying the comparison in the depth of knowledge before and after taking the class. They also provide one’s overall performance in that field in comparison to other students who have taken the same class. Since final exams reflect the most accurate level of knowledge each student carries off from taking classes, more than the overall class grade throughout the year, it is vital for students to have an opportunity to learn their proficiency within the field of study and their interest in continuing to learn the subject in the future. Without this key component in mastering a subject, students have no other way of checking their overall cumulation of knowledge and the areas of improvements that they miss to realize. These benefits of taking an actual proctored test are incomparable to completing projects, presentations, or assignments in replacement to final exams, as none of these new alternatives provide students with the accurate reflection of their overall performance in attaining the semester-worth of knowledge at the end. 

Another strong reason why final exams should be kept the traditional way is that big tests like final exams provide a good source of preparation for high school students for college. Although lengthy examinations are vanishing rapidly from high schools, most college classes determine one’s students’ grade of the course mostly based on two to three exams per semester with a proctored final exam in the end. It is very important for most high school students, who will soon be focusing on more in-depth study of a particular area, to gain study skills and habits for a big test to prepare themselves for their future. In reality, what students really gain from taking high school classes are not only to learn the materials taught in class, but more to have a foundational understanding in building their personal skills and methods in acquiring knowledge that can guide them through their denser studies after high school. Along with realizing what areas of studies they are interested in, they also get to learn what way of learning works best for them and how to utilize them well in their daily lives. 


To be truthful, proctored final exams are stressful. They force students to revisit materials taught months ago in class and have them memorize thousands of terms within a short period of time. However, the ultimate goal of final exams is just to test the current knowledge of students. Final exams provide an important gateway for students to realize their proficiency in the field when choosing an academic career beyond high school and help prepare themselves to grow as learners who will soon face bigger examinations in the future. Considering these benefits, high school classes must continue to have test-formatted final exams as a part of their curriculum.