Are finals worth taking in college?

Student showing signs of academic stress Photo Credit:

Around this time, the weather gets warmer, the days feel shorter, and the smell of summer looms. But this time for college students, it means exam after exam, projects, presentations, and papers. All are due right before the semester ends, leaving students to pull all-nighters in the library and stress about their final grades. All this stress and anxiety prompts the question of whether finals are worth taking in college.

Ashley Saddler Jr., a fourth-year architecture major with a minor in military science feels as if final projects are unnecessary because they don’t attribute to anything you can use later.

“For architects, we make final projects but we don’t make them to necessarily go in our portfolio,” Saddler said. “We make them for a presentation at the end it’s not working towards a portfolio. We can pivot it towards that but if we don’t have the time or we don’t take that step then it won’t get done.”

He continues by saying, “I think that schools and universities should make final exams that pivot toward our resume, our LinkedIn, that pivot towards our business cards that work toward who we are and what we do and not just a grade or assignment that’ll get graded and passed over.”

Final exams usually weigh a major part in a student’s grade but doesn’t capture the entirety of that student’s knowledge of the curriculum throughout the semester. 

Kanya Crawford, a writer for the Gonzaga Bulletin a student-ran publication at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, published an article about how final exams are only worth a snapshot of a student’s semester.

Give me a paper or a project, but move away from the tests. It’s time to find a different way for us to show growth than exams that stress students out and diminish all the work they do throughout the semester,” Crawford said. 

With the amount of dedication and time put into studying for final exams, the result doesn’t nearly compare. It takes a strain on mental health and the perception of who we are as academic individuals. 

The Washington Square news published an article in May of last year discussing the weighted average of a final exam versus any other assignment in the class. 

Since final exams cover so much in so little time, they rarely give students the chance to show what they really know about the subject matter. Other assignments given throughout the year can provide a much better way to measure students’ understanding.”

Molly Koch, the opinions editor for The Washington Square News, continued by saying, “ A project that requires in-depth research and pages of writing should not be weighted less than one two-hour exam. 

So if final exams aren’t truly showing the growth of a student within an academic school year, what is the reason for taking them in the first place? Allow students to have the option of what they feel will best represent the information they’ve learned and not just memorized.