Before Jennings County High School students began celebrating the start of their winter break, they first had to deal with semester final exams — a source of anxiety for some.

Students take a final exam in each class at the end of each semester to test how much information they have retained about the courses. Finals are worth 20 percent of a student’s final semester grade, while the end grade for each nine weeks is worth 40 percent.

For some students, the final exam determines if they pass or fail a class, giving those borderline students a last chance to raise their grade. But for students that already have a high grade, a final test can greatly reduce their semester grade despite the work they have put in throughout the semester. For many students, finals week can be stressful for this reason, especially when they have to take one final for every class in the same week.

Student opinions vary on the value of final exams, though.

“Finals are a waste of time. I don’t see why they give them to see what we have retained. So what if I don’t remember the material from the rest of the year? They wouldn’t reteach it again next semester if every student failed,” senior Anna McDonald said.

However, students are given ample time to study for final exams, as each class is required to hand out a study guide prior to the test. Additionally, each hour-and-a-half testing period is preceded by an hour-and-a-half long study period in an attempt to guarantee that the student has time to study for each of their potential eight finals.

However, not every student uses the study period.

“Most of the students, myself included, don’t study during the study time,” senior Annabelle Allman said.

Not every final exam is the same, either.

While the majority of classes administer a multiple choice exam, some classes opt for less traditional tests. Advanced Placement Art, for example, requires that a student submit five of their best pieces in Scholastic’s annual art competition. This allows students to practice photographing and submitting their work, and even gives them the chance to win awards for it.

For example, Nathan Vogel, a senior, has won a national gold key, a gold key and a silver key in this competition. On the other hand, students in A Touch of Class, the show choir, final grades based on their performances at the Christmas showcase. Classes such as these do not require studying or even a test period, like most other classes.

While students may have mixed feelings about finals week, it is a tradition that in unlikely to change for many years, and still remains an accurate representation of what students are retaining from the class.

In any case, it is clear that the teachers of Jennings County are given flexibility in their testing approach, and the students of Jennings County are given many opportunities to do well on theses crucial exams.