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At the end of every course that a student takes in a school year, students must take an end of course (EOC) exam and/or a final. These tests can vary in difficulty depending on what class a student takes, especially if the student is enrolled in AP, IB, or Dual Credit.
If the course being taken has an EOC, it will be included in the STAAR test (state regulated test in texas), and a final can be exempt. For the final to be exempt, the student must have passed the STAAR/EOC and be passing the class for the grading period. If a student does not meet these requirements, the final exam, made by the teacher of the class, will be assigned to the student. Absences play a role in the classes that do not have an EOC exam, in which the student must have less than 9 absences and have a certain grade that corresponds with the number of missing days to exempt the final exam.
“I like how the EOC is in the STAAR test because that means that’s one more thing you don’t have to worry about at the end of the year,” M. Diehl (12) said.
Finals week is the last week of school, between June 4 through June 6, in which students will take a final exam for all classes that have not been exempted. However, some classes take finals before finals week, but most of these classes are AP or IB. The reason for this is because the tests are longer and have more questions and topics to cover, and have essays attached that need to be graded, so the teachers need as much time as possible to grade the exams. If a class does take their final earlier, the day assigned to that class on finals week can work on a project, assignment, or something else.
“Sometimes, AP students and IB students don’t do anything on the day of finals, so if you took a lot of AP or IB classes, that finals week just drags out forever,” Z. Soniwalla (12) said.
Finals can be stressful for many students, as the final is a culmination of the whole year and sometimes students worry about failing or scoring poorly on the last test of the year. Since the final usually makes up about 20% of the class grade, it is a test that should not be taken lightly, and that causes anxiety in some students who have test anxiety.
“I go to tutoring and study the night before, as well as getting good sleep and eating a good breakfast to calm my test anxiety. It usually works,” S. Wray (9) said.
Most teachers have their classrooms open the day before the test open for tutoring so that students can study and get one-on-one time with the teacher to make sure all the topics are covered for the student. Some students take advantage of this tutoring time, and study the whole week leading up to the test, as well as using outside sources like Kahn Academy or Sylvan Learning Center to get outside help on subjects they don’t fully understand.
“I used Kahn Academy to help me study, and I like it more because it goes a lot more in depth on the subjects i was looking for,” K. Mora (9).