How does a new semester affect students?


Ava KLeeb

Cram sheets used by OHS students to study for final exams

Ava Kleeberger, Writer

The new semester for OHS students began on Jan. 23rd. With finals week occurring last week and students gearing up for the new semester, how are students affected when these high expectations for success are held against them? 

Junior Carsen Phelps said, “I’ve been studying a lot in preparation, I only had to take one final last year so I am expecting more of a challenge.”

 As finals week approached, students continued to take on larger work loads. The combination of these exams, remaining school work and the impending start of a new semester, many students found themselves overwhelmed by stress. 

Cram sheets used by OHS students to study for final exams.

Finals are used by teachers to assess a student’s understanding of the class. Mrs. Anderson, a Math teacher said, “It’s nice for me to know what sticks with them to the end of the semester, where our holes are in the curriculum, and what kind of things we need to teach more of.”

 Finals can provide teachers with insight as to what could be improved within their curriculum and how much of the curriculum students are able to comprehend. Although they can be a useful tool, many students feel the need to cram for multiple days to get a good grade, which negatively impacts their mental wellbeing. It is important for students to keep in mind what is healthy and unhealthy when it comes to studying. 

An article written by The Learning Center said students should, “Use your [their] syllabus, textbook and notes, and old exams to make a list of topics likely to be tested.” Other sites tell students to begin preparing early, create an outline for studying and to use tactics like the Pomodoro method to improve their studying skills. These tips can all be used to improve a students scores and to help them take in more of the curriculum. This also can prevent stress, by not forcing students to cram for exams. 

Finals are not the only stress contributor for students this year. In just a few months, OHS students will also be expected to take the MCAs, the ACT and the SAT, depending on the grade they are in. These tests are also used to evaluate a student’s progress and score them based on how well they do. 

Despite their importance in the past, many colleges no longer require or request students to provide their scores. According to an article written by NBC News, “Nearly every college freshman in the country today — and nearly every high school senior who hopes to start next fall — was able to apply without submitting a score.” This new wave of colleges no longer requiring test scores has lifted students of the stress that comes with the big exams. “I don’t like standardized tests,” Said Wannarka. “They overall don’t affect your schoolwork or college applications, so I don’t find them necessary.” 

The first week of the new semester introduces many new classes for OHS students, and it’s important that students do not become overwhelmed with stress as the semester progresses.