First Semester Exam Week 2021


Eleanor Kattman, Reporter

Over a week ago our principal, Mrs. Levek, sent out an email regarding finals week. This had been a heated topic of discussion not only between students but between teachers as well before the break. Here are the most recent details about finals week:

It is scheduled for the same week: January 18th to January 22nd. As students, we still have Monday, the 18th off, with finals running Tuesday through Thursday. We also get Monday the 25th off of school, giving us a three and a half day weekend (half day on Friday). Finals week itself will follow the same schedule of having period 1 and 2 on Tuesday, 3 and 4 on Wednesday, 5 and 6 on Thursday, and just period 7 in the morning on Friday. The final part that will stay the same is that students still have the opportunity to exempt one class given that they meet all of the standards for absences, tardies, disciplinary measures, etc.  

However, there have been some pretty major changes instated as well. One of the biggest is that no exam will run longer than 90 minutes. In the past, students have had to stay at least 90 minutes, however exams could take up to 180 minutes, or three hours. The reasoning behind this is that A and B cohorts must both take the same exam so the three hour segment is broken into two 90-minute sections. The first 90 is for A cohort students and the second is for B cohort students. This means that A students will be taking their exams from 8:15-9:45 a.m. and from 12:30-2:00 p.m. each day, and B students will be taking their exams from 10:00-11:30 a.m. and from 2:15-3:45 p.m. 


Exam Schedule 1/19 1/20 1/21 1/22
8:15-9:45 Period 1 A Cohort Period 3 A Cohort Period 5 A Cohort Period 7 A Cohort
10:00-11:30 Period 1 B Cohort Period 3 B Cohort Period 5 B Cohort Period 7 B Cohort
12:30-2:00 Period 2 A Cohort Period 4 A Cohort Period 6 A Cohort
2:15-3:45 Period 2 B Cohort Period 4 B Cohort Period 6 B Cohort


Another big difference is that all exams will be between 10-15% of students’ semester grades. In the past, exams have been weighted anywhere from 10-25%, and usually fell on the heavier side of that scale, so this change is a huge relief for a lot of students. As far as where the exams will be taken, that is up to individual teachers and student preference. The classes that are most likely to be required in-person format are math, science, and foreign language classes. The rationale behind this is that classes like English or history can use writing exams which evaluate a student’s developed writing skills rather than objective knowledge which can be copied down from a notes packet. Due to their blended or virtual modality, all exams other than math, science, and foreign languages will be open note to ensure fairness. 

In general, students should expect a relatively easier exams week than in years passed. The shorter exam time allows for more time in between exams which allows more time for our brains to reset a little and to get in any extra studying. The decreased exam percentages also take a lot of stress off of many students who feel their ability to learn and retain information has significantly decreased this semester and are concerned about their performance. Many students are also disappointed about the fact that there are exams at all and were under the impression that we would not have them this semester, however this new format appears  to be a worthy compromise.