The debate continues: is it better to have finals before or after winter break?

More students prefer finals before break

Jack Soble, Sports Editor

The majority of students are unhappy that first semester exams were after winter break again this year.

Many feel that the schedule change to move the exams back to after winter break was the wrong move. Some students prefer to get them over with in December and have two weeks of no studying over winter break.

“I just think everything dies down over break,” senior Matt Mulhern said. “It’s a two-week gap, and you’re not really focusing on schoolwork. Where if you did it before break, you’d learn all the material and then you’d take the final. It’d probably help performance.”

Mulhern also saw the decrease of stress in himself and among his peers when he took finals before break, explaining that it’s “easier to bite the bullet.”

Junior Brandon O’Neil agreed with Mulhern. “I would have [exams] before break, because then you don’t have to stress over your winter break,” he said.

Many students felt that having finals before break produced less anxiety. Sophomore Darcy Barkal said, “It’s a lot less stressful, and it’s nice to get a fresh start after break.”

While these students felt that having finals before break made life easier, not all students share that sentiment. Senior Elizabeth Wei shed light on the issue. “Senior year, you have a lot of college applications due Jan 1, and it wouldn’t be smart to put finals week together with college application deadlines,” Wei said.

According to Assistant Principal for Administrative Services Gerry Munley, the biggest factor in deciding when to have finals was the construction on campus. The school was “trying to create a calendar to increase the length of the summer. They tried to make a very long construction season, and I think exams were moved as a function of that,” Munley said.

Some faculty agree with the students who believe finals should be before break. “I liked them last year before break, because then when everyone heads into winter break the semester’s over and nothing’s lingering. There are no more stressors hovering through vacation,” English teacher Jay Rosenberg said.

Science Department Chair Michael Lee also supports finals before break. Lee said, “When a kid has finals after winter break, there’s two scenarios. Either the kid did not study, which is not good. Or the kid is studying, and that’s also not good.” He also stated that based on informal conversations, he believes that the teachers in his department would also like to have finals before break.

However, not all staff members agree. “I prefer them after break, because they make the semesters more even. I also think they really felt rushed before break,” Math teacher Aimee Hart said.

Hart said that she understands why students would want to get finals over with and have a work-free break, while Lee pointed out that teachers who teach one-semester courses would have a problem with uneven semesters.

Both Hart and Rosenberg said that their finals were altered from last year based the length of the semester and the amount of topics they had time to teach.

While the school calendar has been solidified until the 2018-2019 school year, the class of 2020 and beyond could see changes to the finals schedule. Assistant Principal Munley didn’t make any promises, but speculated that the schedule could be changed.

“People are considering moving it because they know that there was such positive reaction last year. This is something people have considered for a long time, and construction made the opportunity, and it was an experiment as well as a necessity. So knowing that people really liked it, I think some people would really like to do it again.”