Student: Let’s give up the final exams. They harm our mental health. | Opinion

By Ashvin Trehan

After the end of each college semester or high school year, students across the country engage in the age-old tradition of cramming final exams. These exams, which usually take two to three hours, are intended to test students on their ability to absorb material from a complete course.

With college classes running an average of 15 weeks and high school classes running an average of 40 weeks, students have a lot of material to study which results in their stress levels being high. Final exam stress can affect students’ test performance and overall health. During the pandemic, many schools have canceled their final exams in favor of final projects, final papers and final portfolios due to concerns about test safety and student wellness.

However, as the country emerges from the pandemic, many institutions are reverting to traditional final exams which in turn bring back the notorious stress associated with them. As more and more test alternatives are proven to be able to test students’ knowledge, final exams must be replaced to maintain students’ well-being.

While the traditional one-session final exam can cause stress, anxiety, and depression among students, it is important to note that the premise of final exams has an advantage.

In a publication published in the National Library of Medicine, cumulative final exams have been shown to increase long-term content retention rates. In addition, cumulative exams benefit from spacing effect: If you have studied something, studying the same content after a period of time can lead to higher levels of learning.

When students relearn forgotten material or refine topics they don’t fully understand in preparation for a final exam, they inadvertently take advantage of the spacing effect.

The problem with traditional final exams is not the material being tested, but rather that the format puts a lot of stress on the students which causes stress and anxiety in the students which can lead to health problems in the long run.

as For research by Pew Social TrendExam and midterm stress is the main cause of stress for nearly a third of American students. Both high school and college students are in growth stages; They develop their personalities, create new relationships, and gain a new sense of independence.

Overburdening students with the stress associated with final exams puts these transition students in positions of weakness.

Stress It can lead to or exacerbate conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Anxiety about taking tests is so prevalent in society that there is a condition called exam anxiety Which deals with anxiety specifically in connection with the conduct of tests. Many sources of stress in one’s life are uncontrollable such as stress related to dealing with the loss of a loved one, giving up a job, and dealing with conflict.

If final exams are detrimental to the mental health of students and can be reformulated, they should be canceled to ensure the students’ well-being.

Ensuring that students understand the content they have learned is essential to ensuring a comprehensive education, however, final exams are not the only way to achieve this.

Because of restrictions on in-person exams during the pandemic, many colleges and high schools have had to get creative during the pandemic.

For example, Stephanie Bailey, an assistant professor at Chapman University, has traded her traditional final exam format for a community service project full of academics. Some other popular options include mini-presentations on various topics, poster seminars, and open book exams.

One-off final exams place great pressure on students to succeed so that they are considered viable options in the modern world.

With so many potential alternatives that require students to interact with a variety of content and analyze the material learned during class, the assignment for final exams can be completed in a less stressful way.

Although it is difficult to break away from tradition, doing so will truly mean to students that their schools value their mental well-being.

Ashvin Trehan is a final year student at Metuchin High School. He has worked with the Hamilton Laboratory at Rutger University for more than a year, helping research into adolescent mental health and suicide. He also serves as the co-chair of the Hamilton Lab Youth Advisory Board.

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