Usefulness of notecards during finals contested

Notecard policy depends on course level and teacher

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First semester finals started on Jan. 23, leaving many students and teachers discussing if some courses had less intense finals.

Junior AP Physics student Rosemary Shelton was allowed a notecard for her final, but she heard that this was uncommon for an AP class.

“I don’t know about anyone else having a notecard on an AP final. We couldn’t have any words on the notecard, it was only formulas.”

Classes that aren’t AP usually allow students to use a notecard, but ultimately it depends on the teacher.

Level-four chemistry and level three pre-calculus student sophomore Lidia Orta said that having a notecard on the final would have helped with her final grade and would’ve reduced stress associated with finals.

“I spent a lot of time studying so it paid off. For sure my final grade wasn’t ideal; however, some classes like chemistry require a greater amount of studying,” said Orta.

She was allowed a notecard last year, but not this year, making finals more difficult.

Orta believes that each teacher teaches differently, so it is up to them whether they choose to allow a notecard or not.

“A lot of my friends were like ‘oh you didn’t get to use a notecard?’ so I think it just depends on your teacher,” stated Orta.

Chemistry and biology teacher Brian Woodruff said that because each class is different, finals for each class are different.

“It’s not the same test,” said Woodruff adding that, “It varies a little bit based on level.”

This year he allowed his Biology students to have several pages of notes.

“They had multiple pieces of paper, but that’s a rarity,” said Woodruff.

Like many teachers, he believes that finals shouldn’t be overly difficult, but he also thinks that notecards don’t impact much of the final grade.

To use “[a notecard] doesn’t make that much of a difference,” stated Woodruff. “My intent on the final is not to make it so they’re not going to do well.”

Environmental geoscience student sophomore Sofia Russick acknowledges that despite having a notecard in geoscience, last year’s biology final was much easier.

“We had a notecard, and I think I did pretty well,” said Russick. “Last year in biology it was multiple choice so it was easier.”

Sophomore Georgia Jones said she assumes most math teachers allow students to use a notecard on their final, but in science it depends.
“I think for math [a notecard] is a given,” said Jones.

“Because of the different disciplines, there is necessarily some variation,” remarked forensic science and chemistry teacher Jackie Gnant.

She agrees that whether or not she give a notecard depends on the subject and level of the class.

Students and teachers both agree that if students don’t understand the material, then despite the subject and level, whether or not a notecard is allowed won’t help.

“If you don’t know the material, it doesn’t matter if you have a notecard or not,” said Woodruff.

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