Finals are just around the corner, but the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have the option to not take any. They can normally exempt three of their seven finals. This semester, however, if a student earned an “A” or “B” grade for both the third and fourth quarter, they can exempt all their finals.
Some students felt that if they knew about the possibility to exempt every class, they would have made sure they got better grades in the third quarter. On the other hand, some teachers are just giving extra work, like worksheets and quick projects, which can lead to an “easy A”. These students still need to retain the knowledge they learned all year though, for the finals.
According to the American Psychological Association in 2013-14, 49 percent of students were seeking counseling for mental health issues. The previous percentage includes only students who have recieved help, there are possibly many more. Finals and end-of-year exams can have many negative effects on every student though. Long-term stress can cause sleeplessness, headaches, and immune system issues. This type of stress can also cause or worse anxiety and depression. Students wake up around six am and are staying up until around the hours of one and three to study for their exams. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on their health, including memory problems and lack of focus. Students think they are helping themselves, but they are really hurting themselves. Exemptions take that need to “pull an all-nighter” away.
“I like how I don’t have to really stress,” sophomore Erika Munoz said. “I don’t have to worry about failing as much.”
From the teachers’ point of view, these exemptions equal less grading and paperwork. Some teachers feel as though the students really need this after the events of Feb. 14.
“I’m really pleased that students are able to exempt as many finals as they can. This school has been through enough stress and the added pressure of studying and taking multiple finals is not necessary,” English and creative writing teacher Stacey Lippel said. “If a student has been keeping up with their grades all semester, good for them. If they have no finals to take, they deserve it.”
Students who are able to exempt all of their final exams will have an extra week in their summer vacation. However, students who are testing will come Friday, June 1 to Thursday, June 6 to take their exams. The exam schedule starts with seventh and eighth period and ends with first and second period. Testing days start at 7:40 am and end at 11:40 am, except on the 6th when it ends at 12:40 pm.