For early finals

Hsin Yen Huang

While early finals do subtract from the valuable time that students have to study, they make up for it by decreasing student stress and opening up the end of the school year for exploration beyond the course’s curriculum.

Early finals are convenient for students in AP classes as studying for the course’s final can help students prepare for the coming exams. Since teachers hold their students to AP standards, reviewing course material for the final allows students to study earlier for the upcoming AP exam. This is especially beneficial for students who have difficulty with time management, as the final can serve as a practice test for the mastery of material that will be tested by the College Board.

Teachers usually give early final exams nearly a month before the school’s allotted finals week, with some as early as the week after spring break. Although this limits the time that students have to raise their grades, teachers use the free weeks after AP testing to assign final projects that give students the chance for a last-minute grade boost. Projects diversify the content that is taught in the classroom and enables students choose what material they want to learn. For example, In AP Computer Science A, students are assigned a project requiring them to use the data structures they have learned to build an program of their choice, such as a game or an application. In AP English Literature, students assemble a reflective portfolio, write letters to their future selves, share their favorite works of literature, and create a timeline of their four years in high school.

Without early finals, students would have to juggle both AP and college preparatory coursework, cramming for numerous subjects and taking multiple hour-long exams during finals week. By giving final exams for AP classes prior to the AP exam, teachers reduce student stress by spacing out the tests students will have to take, allowing students to relax as the school year ends. This is advantageous for student performance because students are likely to feel fatigued after a marathon of studying, which may negatively impact their exam performance.

Overall, the reduced time that students have to prepare for finals and AP testing is a small price to pay for the numerous advantages that come with early finals. Early finals decrease stress, prepare students well for AP testing, and give teachers time to let students creatively explore the topics they have studied throughout the year; these conveniences tip the scales greatly in favor of implementing early finals in AP courses.