Exam Exodus

The clock struck midnight as junior Rett Palecek uneasily sat in his chair, contemplating whether or not to go on with studying for his semester exams. He had already been studying for about three hours, but he still felt a little anxious about whether he was going to do as well as he wanted to. However, what if there was a way for him to get exempt from some of these exams for students with a 95 or above average in some classes?

Palecek says that he can spend, on average, anywhere from three to five hours studying for semester exams in total. He said, “Exams are definitely the most stressful and time-consuming part of Catholic High, and students would work much harder if there were an opportunity to skip exams. I feel students would push themselves even further if there were an incentive for keeping a 95 or above in classes.”

Obviously, some classes at Catholic High are less challenging than others; therefore, some exams would be easier to achieve exemption. “Some classes are easier to have a 95 or above in than others,” said Palecek. “So most students could at least be exempt from a few exams, even if they still had to take one for their harder classes.” Both teachers and students would appreciate the positive grade trend the no exam opportunity could bring. “Overall grade averages would be boosted for the middle to upper students at Catholic, who truly care about their grades, and if a student had some version of an A and could attain the 95 average, he would push himself to get that goal. Also, students would not have to focus on as many classes for exams which would allow them to put their best foot forward for their harder classes.”

Not having exams in some classes could even allow students to thrive in their more difficult classes. “I think focusing on a difficult core subject on exams, instead of studying for an exam in a class that I have a high A in, I could really start to understand the variety of topics, and get a good grasp on the subject as a whole,” Palecek said. “I could go over and get help with topics that are unfamiliar or difficult for me and feel a lot more confident going into the exam.”

The competitive class rankings at Catholic High could also see some changes if this new rule came into play. Palecek said, “You might see some new people start to climb the ranks. It is all about finding the proper motivation. For the top of the class, it might be getting into a top university. For those outside the top 30, having the opportunity to skip an exam could be the motivation they need.”

Brooks Ward, another junior at Catholic High, agreed with Palecek and said that students would both work harder and grade averages would be increased if the 95 average or above was taken into account. Ward said, “Having an incentive like that would compel me to push myself more, and really start to care about each and every individual assignment for classes.”

There is no doubt that anxiety exists throughout Catholic High when exam week is in session.  Ward said, “Some students are just naturally not as good at taking tests or exams as others, so people can be at a disadvantage when it comes to exams. However, if a student has proven he knows the material by having at least a 95 in that class, he shouldn’t have to take the exam.”

Ward believes that having the opportunity for no exams would likely reduce stress while increasing motivation. He said, “I know myself, and likely others, would be able to reach their true academic potential, and really start to see what they are truly capable of if we did not have to take an exam in classes we had a 95 or above in. Students could really start to figure out their true academic potential if they were rewarded for maintaining a 95 or above.”

Junior Will Aclin, who is ranked second in the class of 2024, also agrees with the benefits of not having to take exams. He said, “A 95 or above is proof that a student knows the material in a class well enough to not have to take the exam.”  However, there would probably be some changes to tests if students did not have to take exams. Aclin said, “Instead of a semester final, I would just make all of the tests build off of each other and be cumulative in a way.”

Many of the top students would likely be exempt from multiple exams, but even those who aren’t as high achieving would likely be exempt from a few as well. Palecek, who believes he is a little bit above average student, said, “I think I would have to take around two to three, or maybe four, exams if this new rule came into effect. I feel like a good chunk of students would be in this situation, which would be greatly appreciated by all students.”

At the end of the day, if you asked most students at Catholic High, the vast majority would support the idea of not having to take exams if they had a 95 or above. Palecek said, “Even though it is highly unlikely that this rule will ever come into effect, it was nice to at least dwell on it for a little bit. I really cannot think of many better things related to school than not having to take exams.”

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