On November 13, 2023, I opened my email to find a new announcement from Schoology detailing how Concord Academy would conduct the Fall Semester’s final exams. Upon further examination, I discovered finals week would only be three days, instead of the usual four. Exam periods were going to be designated based on the type of class, not the block in which the class met, meaning, for example, all science classes would have their exams simultaneously. I also learned that English, history, and MCL classes would each be designated two different exam blocks.

While I was excited to have an extra day of break, I thought there were some drawbacks to this new schedule. First, the new schedule makes it more difficult for people doubling in major classes or taking a computer science elective. The last of the exam blocks, on Wednesday, is used for computer science exams, exams for students doubling in a discipline, and make-up exams. If a student were doubling in a class and was sick during an exam block, there would be no designated time for them to complete the remainder of their finals.

I was also not looking forward to taking my math and science exams in the gym with 400 other students. I find it very difficult to concentrate with lots of other people around me, so having to take my finals while surrounded by almost every student at CA did not bode well for my exam scores. If CA were to use this finals schedule again, I think students should have the option to take their exams in a smaller setting with fewer distractions.

Additionally, I was not excited about there being two different blocks in which students might take their English, history, and MCL exams. The MCL and history exams were scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, respectively. The first potential exam block for these classes was 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., while the second was not until 1:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. If someone had an exam during the second possible block, they would have to wait nearly three hours after their first exam before beginning their MCL/history assessment. While students could spend some of this time eating lunch, I still think that is a lot of time to be stuck at school between exams.

Finally, the new finals schedule is also not very accommodating for the train kids. Each exam day starts at 9:00 a.m., allowing students to take the usual 7:30 a.m. train from North Station. However, depending on a student’s schedule, Monday and Tuesday exam days can end at 3:15 p.m., forcing train kids to wait at CA for nearly an hour before being able to return home. I would not want to be stuck at school for that long after a grueling day of final exams.

Overall, I think there are some significant drawbacks to the new finals schedule. Though I enjoyed having a shorter finals week, I think there should be some adjustments made to the schedule if CA uses it again next year.