Mary Beth Gentry – Reporter

It is the last full week in October, which means exams are just around the corner at the high school. Students are scrambling to raise their grades in order to avoid having to take the dreaded end-of-trimester test. Even though it is nice to be able to skip two days of school and not take these tests, it poses the question: does being exempt from exams help or harm students?

  As a student, it is a wave of relief when you find out that you have a high enough grade and the right number of absences to be exempt from your trimester exams. You get excited about not having to stress over relearning all the material that was covered in the last 12 weeks. You even begin to think about what you will do with the two days you do not have to go to school.

  However, being exempt from an exam often gives students a reason to zone out the last one to two weeks of the trimester. They think that they already have a good enough grade and that they will not be tested over the material. This assumption is often wrong since teachers at DHS test students until the last day before the exams. Since many students did not bother to pay attention to the material, their grade suffers.

  Students have the opportunity to be exempt if they have two or fewer absences throughout the trimester. This motivates good school attendance, but also gives students an excuse to go to school even when they should not go. For example, the February of my freshman year, I went to school with the flu for a week just because I did not want to take my exams. I was miserable the entire week; I was not paying attention in any of my classes, and I probably passed the flu on to several other students. But hey, I didn’t have to take my exams.

  Personally, I think not taking exams puts students at a disadvantage. Students need to be able to take a high-pressure test and not freak out about it. The only way this will be accomplished is to take away exam exemptions at Dyersburg High School.