Students Stress as Exams Approach

Natalie Frey and McClane McMullen

Students at Arrowhead High School will face final exams starting on January 19, 2016. There will be three days of exams, and each exam will have a duration of one hour.

Final exams occur at the end of each high school semester at Arrowhead, and depending on the course, finals are worth either 15 or 20% of a student’s final grade.

One method for studying is to cram for course finals a few days prior to the final exam. Dictionary.com defines cramming as an informal term used to describe the memorization of a large amount of information, in a short period of time.

Arrowhead school Psychologist Adam Boldt says, “Research studies suggest that the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep cycle help solidify the long-term memory and that the more REM cycles the brain experiences the better information is retained and recalled. Therefore, studying early and often allows the brain the opportunity to solidify and recall information learned. Cramming allow for only a couple REM cycles. Cramming also means that you are studying under a stressful situation. Under stress the brain is trying to survive rather than retain information, when you cram it is less likely that you will remember the information you will need for the test.”

The maximum semester course load for an Arrowhead student is eight courses a semester. This means that a student could potentially be studying for eight final exams that will be spread over the course of three days.

The exam days for semester one of 2016 are Tuesday, January 19; Wednesday, January 20; and Thursday, January 21. Exams are one hour in duration each, and there is a ten minute break between each exam. Students are released by 11:00 AM on exam days.

Boldt says, “A test being 15% of a final grade is still high stakes due to the weight placed on one activity. Many students are on the edge of one grade vs. another (C vs. B) and the exam will determine that grade. My advice is to work consistently hard throughout the semester. You will already know much of the knowledge needed for the exam and your grade will likely be in a place that you are comfortable with.”

Sophomore Jaxson Carr says, “Exams stress a lot of people out but you just have to push through that one week and then it’s back to normal.”

Carr says, “I don’t get really scared for exams because everything on the final is stuff I’ve already learned.”