Exam emotions range from excitement to envy

Exams are fast approaching, but the exam experience can drastically differ between grade levels.

In general, 9th graders study for traditional memorization or essay based exams. However, in increasing increments as students get older, these traditional exams get replaced with final projects, an alternate that allows students to complete a culminating assignment instead of studying for a test. By senior year, the ratio of exams to projects is usually tilted towards the latter.

These different exam realities make the exam season differ in stress levels for different students.

Some students, like junior Jackson Biggs, are staying somewhat relaxed in preparation for their exams.

I wish I had final projects instead of exams, they seem a lot better.”

— 9th Grader Joey Stolpestad

“I feel good about exams this year,” Biggs said, “For my writing sem elective I have a final project instead of an exam which takes some pressure off.”

Senior Audrey Egly feels the same way.

“As a senior I only have one exam which is Stats so I’m excited to have a relatively stress free exam season,” Egly said.

Being upperclassmen, Biggs and Egly have already completed the most stressful exam periods during their 9th grade and sophomore years. Many students feel less stress about completing final projects because they have more time to work on them. While in an exam, students are given a fixed period of time to show what they know, projects allow more space for deeper thinking and reflecting on the themes and materials covered in the semester.

This sentiment is reflective of the general argument for projects over exams. Some argue that while for some students, testing can be an accurate representation of knowledge, for others it is not. A given student could be suffering from lack of sleep or an abundance of stress – both factors that have the potential to negatively impact the outcome of a test.

While the majority of students feel less stress with more projects, some still feel the burden of schoolwork piling up on them.

“I feel a little stressed but I only have four exams so I think I’ll be OK,” junior Sara Browne said.

Others are feeling envious of the seeming ease that comes with final projects.

“I wish I had final projects instead of exams, they seem a lot better,” 9th grader Joey Stolpestad said, “Hopefully Mr. Hovan gives me a good grade because I’m nervous about Physics.”

And some students have adopted to take the least stressful approach to exams by keeping their sights on winter break.

“I am excited because school is gonna be over,” sophomore Judah Thomas said. “I have big trust in my teachers.”