As final exams draw near, students may find themselves indulging in late nights and stressing over final grades.
From Dec. 5 to Dec. 9, students will have final exams in numerous forms. They may be essays, presentations, multiple choice or in other formats. Students are preparing for this time with ways they have found to both cope with stress and study material that leads to success on their exams.
“To prepare for my exams I’ve been going through my notes and using a ton of notecards to lay out what I need to know. From there I usually move from what I’m confident into what I’m not and focus my energy there,” said Abby Haag (’25).
“As a future educator, I have seen people tackle exam week in numerous ways. From my experience in the classroom, I have noticed that the most successful students on exam week are those that prepared well in advance and worked with their peers in study groups,” said Marissa Luzac (’24).
Alma College does not have a universal grading system; instead, each professor sets their own grade requirements. These requirements are shown to students at the beginning of the year through the syllabus provided by the professor. Typically, professors declare a 93% and above is an A; however, some professors have pushed this requirement to a 94%. Some have even required a 95% to get an A.
“The diverse grading scale can be frustrating when in exam season. In some of my classes, I am required to have a 90% to pass. In others, I need to hold a 93%. It is frustrating is some aspects where even if I get a 91% in the class it isn’t considered an A and my GPA goes down in response,” said Mackayla Pirie (’24).
The high weight of a final exam on students’ final grades is what primarily causes students to stress during this time of year.
“It is a daunting task to complete an assignment that is worth almost a third of your grade. I know many students have difficulty taking tests because it doesn’t accurately display their knowledge of a subject,” said Pirie.
Exam week is also a factor in whether students will be eligible to continue their sport into the new year. All athletes at Alma College must have a 2.5 to be allowed to participate in their sport.
“When it comes to exam week, it is stressful for me being a student-athlete because we must uphold a GPA of 2.5. Many of my professors weight finals either 20-35% of the whole class grade. Although I prepare for my exams through different methods of studying, it’s intimidating to know that if you do not do good one test your eligibility can be at risk,” said Jack Knoper (’26).
To counteract the negative effects exam week brings, students have found a multitude of ways to destress while studying.
“I try to take my mind off the exam in general. After a good amount of time during a study session, I go to the gym and listen to some music. Communicating with my family through FaceTime allows me to destress as I am able to talk to my family about topics other than the tests I am studying for,” said Kaylee Gray (’26).
“I try to create a schedule, so I don’t study for too long. I have found that if I study for more than two hours at a time, I tend to not retain information easily. Whether it be reading, using Quizlet or looking over notes, I set a timer to make sure I only study for one hour,” said Jon Beerbower (’24).
Overall, there are numerous ways to combat the stressful times that come with exam week. Preparing ahead of time, studying in groups and meeting with professors during office hours will give students the highest chance of success during this time of year.