Why do finals stress us out so much?
I have yet to meet someone who relishes the opportunity to take tests, let alone finals. The amount of stress that comes with trying to remember a semester’s worth of information and then regurgitate it for your teacher in unbelievable. And unless you have a photographic memory, this takes a ton of hard work.
Now I am sure that this isn’t true for my students, but I think part of the challenge of finals is that there is little learning that happens throughout the semester. We live in an instant gratification culture where learning and retaining new information is difficult. Subjects that come naturally we enjoy, and the ones that don’t make sense to us, we give up on and find ways to justify our poor performance.
I always thought I was horrible at learning languages. You know, I am just not a “language” person. But the truth is, that memorizing words and learning grammar takes time, too much time. And because I didn’t want to put the time and effort in, I never did well in the four languages I have studied.
Finals are actually an unflattering mirror.
Just like a mirror, finals are simply a reflection on our true knowledge of a subject. If you are not proficient with the material, a test proves that and makes it clear to you, your teacher, and your parents. There is no escaping the awful truth, you don’t know the material.