Lincoln Aftergood, Opinion Editor

When CESJDS administrators stated that there would be no high school final exams this year, many students felt relieved. Yet this is a short-sighted view. Finals allow students to retain the information they learned and prepare them for future college tests.

Exams are administered at the end of the school year to test students’ acquisition of knowledge. They compel students to review what they have learned and to revisit what they might not have understood before. They give students a second chance at learning.

Without the final exam, one important incentive for students to study and review previous instruction is eliminated. Because of this, many people will forget what they have learned soon after it was taught. This sets them up for failure in the future when they encounter a topic that requires them to build upon what they previously studied.

However, this natural cycle of learning and forgetting can be broken by the intensive studying that the final test encourages. As students attempt to retain information by preparing for the final, they try out different strategies. Eventually they may discover a few that work effectively.

Acquiring practical study strategies can often mean the difference between doing well in a class or not. Learning through studying for finals would help JDS students immensely in their academic pursuits.

Along with learning how to study intensively, finals teach students how to efficiently take long tests. JDS finals are all two hours long, which is useful practice for students on their way to college. Finals are the one opportunity for students to really experience exams similar to those they will likely encounter in their university classes.

JDS finals are also worth 10% of a student’s overall grade in a class. Administering a test that is so significant for students’ grades helps the students learn how to cope with the stress of large assignments. It gives them a chance to learn how to deal with their stress in a healthy manner. Eliminating the final would only leave them unprepared for the challenges they will have to face in the future.

People like to complain that finals are stressful, and they are right. But they fail to consider the alternative. It would be much more stressful to arrive in college without the kind of testing experience that finals provide, and then to do poorly on the first few tests. Compared to college, these exams have much lower stakes.

For the past two years, JDS has not held finals because of COVID-19. While it is unfortunate that the exams had to be canceled, it was understandable. However, these unusual circumstances should not lead JDS to eliminate finals altogether. Upon the return of normalcy, final exams should once again become standard practice because they provide valuable experience for high school students.