The Final Stretch To Second Semester: How Different Grades Choose Which Finals To Exempt

Brooke McDermott, Managing Editor

With the stress of finals creeping down every student’s back, the tedious last couple of weeks seem almost torturous to the student body.

In the midst of preparing for the end of semester, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors alike faced the struggle of triple-checking their absences, asking about exam policies and making sure their request forms were submitted.

But even though students are united under the war of stress, the battles differ between grade levels.

Freshmen have only one exemption between six classes. Sophomores get one extra exemption, but their classes are tougher. And juniors are struggling to raise their GPAs in a final attempt to boost their senior-year transcripts.

However, freshman Ellie Jones, sister of The Bear Witness Managing Editor Libby Jones, doesn’t oppose finals very much, except her English final.

“I don’t really mind [finals] because there’s only one final I’m super adverse to taking which is my ELA final,” said Jones. “I really don’t want to write the essay.”

Additionally, Jones said she sees some differences in her finals preparations in middle school from her finals preparations in high school.

“I study a little bit more now, and I study with friends more often now,” Jones said.

In the next grade level, sophomore Afton Ford finds similar obstacles in her finals stress.

“I personally don’t worry too much about finals,” said Ford, “But I do feel bad for other sophomores who take difficult classes because they only have two exemptions to use.”

Ford said she thinks finals should be based on ability rather than grade level, and that students should get to exempt the final of any courses whose content they have mastered.

“If you have an ‘A’ in the class, you should be able to exempt the final because it shows you’ve mastered the class,” she said.

Junior Kaine Dudley said that despite getting to exempt some of his finals, the end of the semester remains a source of anxiety.

“I’m more stressed out this year than before because I’m mainly taking AP courses and my finals have a bigger impact on my grades and GPA than they did before,” said Dudley.

“It’s really hard trying to choose which finals to exempt this year because I’m taking hard classes in most subjects,” he said.

And although some seniors may have not been able to meet the requirements for exemptions by the due date, many seniors around the school pulled up their grades in time to exempt their finals.

“Because of all the hard work I’ve put in, I think it’s kind of nice to have a break the last week of school,” said senior Rohit Reddy. “I really like that Cambridge gives students the option to exempt finals if they worked hard in that class.”

Reddy also advised underclassmen on their exemptions. He said students shouldn’t risk taking the final if they aren’t doing well in the class, and take any finals that act as a replacement grade because they pose no harm to your score in the class.