Review week pre-finals: a must for student growth

Taking finals comfortably is contingent upon scheduled review time



Next year’s schedule will also include finals before winter break and a shorter first semester

Finals had been shifted to being before winter break for the 2022-23 calendar, and it seems as though this will also be the case for the 2023-24 calendar. 

New Trier has the right idea. Winter break can finally be used in the way it’s been meant to: a good two weeks of holiday cheer sans schoolwork. Though, the way finals were structured this year made it hard to appreciate the change.

English, history, and language classes assigned essays, projects, and LPAs due the week before math and science finals. On top of that, many math and science classes arranged unit tests the week before finals. 

This structure caused two problems. First, any studying done the week before finals was for unit tests rather than the cumulative finals themselves. We only had three days at most to study for a semester’s worth of content for both math and science classes.

The second problem was that the amalgamation of unit tests, heavily weighted assignments, and LPAs prolonged what was meant to be a week of cumulative finals into a two-week testing period. 

Final assignments felt like speed dating gone wrong–between every colossal assignment due, we weren’t given much time to breathe before the next.

Part of the reason why this two-week testing marathon took place this year was because of the shortening of the first semester. Since finals were pushed to the before the winter break, teachers were forced to cram content towards the end of second quarter to stay on track in terms of their year-long schedules.  

This shouldn’t be the case. One of the biggest purposes behind finals is to prepare us for taking finals in a college setting. This preparation can happen best in the form of a review week pre-finals. A review week can guide us through testing tips, study habits, and general strategies in taking a final. 

In addition to a review week, all English essays, history projects, language LPAs, and math and science finals should be taken or due in the same week. 

Since all of these tests and projects were divided, final assignments felt like speed dating gone wrong. Between every colossal assignment due, we weren’t given much time to breathe before the next.

Yes, we understand that unit tests must happen– and they still can. If we were to have all final assignments and tests aligned in one week with the preceding week designed purely for review purposes, teachers can organize their unit tests two weeks before final assignments. 

With this structure, we can have more opportunities to strengthen our skills in test preparation and material recall.

Obviously with finals post-break, we get a good two weeks of well-deserved relaxation after a demanding semester. This restoration period is important for our mental health, as well as a strong start to a much longer second semester. 

High school is a preparation phase; it’s about giving us challenging experiences to help us grow and develop towards our later pursuits. Finals, if scheduled properly, can play a big role in that by letting us cultivate the right mindset critically and emotionally.