An Ultimate (Week) Request

Three times a year, Andover students are faced with the daunting task of reviewing and relearning academic material from the entire term while attending normal classes. During this period, known as Ultimate Week, students are expected to do basic studying for all their finals, familiarizing themselves old material from the beginning of the term. Although Ultimate Week lacks major assignments and faculty do not teach a great deal of new material, it still fills precious studying time with preseason winter sports, club meetings and classes. But the biggest time commitment for any student during Ultimate Week is going to class. For the most part, Ultimate Week classes are designed to help students review for finals. Many teachers devote the week entirely to review, answering questions and advising students what to study for the final. But experienced Andover students know that grades are not improved solely by forty-five minute question and answer sessions distributed over a few days. Improving grades takes two-hour practice finals, three-hour study sessions or four hours of editing a paper. These necessary modes of studying are difficult, if not impossible, to practice during Ultimate Week. Students spending their days in class, on fields and in meetings have little time for these long study sessions. The only time to study like this is over the last weekend of term, and even then some sports teams have games and the performing arts departments have holiday performances. Should students spend their entire weekend in a non-stop studying marathon, barely stopping to eat or sleep? Alternatively, should they spent the weekend recharging, then have to study all night right before each final? Neither is a good option. Students need a day, in addition to the weekend, entirely devoted to studying, free from other obligations. They need a day where they are able to study in two or three hour blocks. They need a reading period. Turning the Monday of Extended Period Week into a reading period would solve the dilemma students currently face while maintaining the generally helpful Ultimate Week. During Ultimate Week, teachers can explain concepts, answer questions and put their students in a position to succeed during Extended Period Week. Students would no longer be forced to cram all weekend and come into Extended Period Week already exhausted. With three open days to study, students would be able to pace themselves, study in a way that more healthy and come into Extended Period Week better prepared. Though the system would not be perfect, it is preferable over the current system that denies students long study-blocks during the week and forces them to choose between revitalizing and studying before Extended Period Week. Opponents of this change may argue that students have time for long-block studying during Extended Period Week or that a reading period Monday would force finals to happen over four days, reducing study time during the week. But students know that even a single final can mentally drain you, preventing meaningful studying from happening during Extended Period Week. A reading period would improve grades and morale, with minimal drawbacks. This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXIII.