A Few Steps Behind the Finishing Line: Semester 1 Finals - Dragons News

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Few Steps Behind the Finishing Line: Semester 1 Finals

By Diana H., December 13, 2017

Four months have passed since the students at Korea International School, Jeju (KISJ) entered the classroom as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Over the second and third weeks of December, 2017, all KISJ high school students are taking final exam to assess what students have learned and the knowledge they have acquired throughout this semester.

Dorm Activities Schedule
Photo taken by Diana H.
In previous years at KISJ, final exams were administered in the gym, where all grade level students would take at the same time. Exam for each subject lasts for two hours. The exams last for three days, with one exam in the morning and one another in the afternoon.

Seniors are given special privileges. Day students are not required to come to school when they do not have to take any tests during the day, while dorm students can stay on their floors and come to school only when they have a test to take.

However, there are changes in regards to how finals contribute in one’s final grades. In previous years, the final exam was only worth 10% of the final grade. Starting from this year, it counts as 20% of the course final grade. According to Mr. Lehmann, the reason behind this recent change in policy is related to college preparation. When students go to college in the future, they will find out that there will be about three term tests in a semester that will make up 75% of the final grade. Unlike how KISJ gives more emphasis on assignments and projects, the college significantly puts less attention on the assignments. Teachers also believed that increasing the portion will motivate students to study and perform better on the exams. In the recent meeting, Ms. Maltby encouraged students to work hard on finals as it is “a good chance to raise final grades.”

While returning high school students have an experience of final exams, they are new to freshmen since the middle school does not administer finals. For those students, dorm specialists prepared several activities to help with academics and with de-stressing. Instead of normal evening study halls, students were encouraged to participate in different activities; specialists wanted to help students to stay healthy and mentally prepared for the finals week. Ms. Sheridan hoped students to actively participate in the activities that are designed for student well-being. Some activities include meditation, stress balls, study sessions, open gym, run/walk, drop-in art, and volleyball. Grade 12 student Jinhee I. took advantage of the study session and noted that it helped her prepare for the test she had the next day.

For those students who are worried about finals, school teachers also shared some essential study tips for the final exams. Mr. Cordeiro, 11th grade U.S. History and AP U.S. History teacher, suggested his students to formulate a “plan of attack” by planning ahead and “prioritizing their studies based on where they stand in each subject.” In addition, 9th grade Global Studies teacher, Mr. Harris, emphasized the importance of avoiding procrastination; they should effectively use study tools, such as study guides, to master the materials. AP Macroeconomics and Psychology teacher, Mr. Bracciano, highlighted the importance of sleep in the learning process. Grade 10 Mathematics teacher Ms. Pfeiffer said, “Take this as an opportunity to celebrate your growth.” She encouraged that students should “remember that learning takes time,” thus they should never give up even if they were not satisfied with the results.

Grade 11 student, Stella B., commented that it is “definitely stressful to spend several days taking different exams.” However, she was relieved that winter break is just around the corner after finals. Furthermore, grade 12 student, Sarah L. stated that she wants to “finish [her] second-last senior year semester solid and strong.”

KISJ students spent a fruitful semester, being involved with several projects, sports, extracurricular activities, and academics. Thus, students deserve to be praised for the outstanding performance they have achieved. Students now only have to clear the last hurdle, the finals. It is crucial to stay calm and try not to be nervous to perform best on the exam. Students should eat breakfast and lunch, and they should spend time every night reviewing the materials until the day of the exam. In the end, they will exit the gym with a relieving smile. Let’s go, Dragons!

Aiden K. (G12) in Study Session
Photo taken by Diana H.
About the author:
Diana H., a grade 12 student attending Korea International School, Jeju, is in her second year in Journalism class. She remembers the moment when she saw her first article posted on the Dragon Tales; it motivated her to craft articles that can connect KIS community into one. Outside of her job as a writer of the newspaper, she participates in various activities, including orchestra and theater production. In her spare time, Diana usually listens to music, watches videos on Youtube, and spends time with her friends. In addition, she is interested in science, specifically in biology, and she wants to pursue a career related to the field in the future. As a final message, she would like the readers of Dragon Tales to watch two movies, Me Before You and About Time, as she believes that they can learn important lessons about life.

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