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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Students sitting a final exam at the University of Vienna
This article is about a type of examination; for other uses, see Final examination (disambiguation)

A final examination (or final) is a test given to students at the end of a course of study or training. Although the term can be used in the context of physical training, it most often occurs in the academic world. Most high schools, colleges, and universities run final exams at the end of a particular academic term, typically a quarter or semester, or more traditionally at the end of a complete degree course.

Isolated Purpose and Common Practice

The purpose of the test is to make a final review of the topics covered and assessment of each student's knowledge of the subject. Not all courses or curricula culminate in a final exam; instructors may assign a term paper or final project in some courses. The weighting of the final exam also varies. It may be the largest -— or only -— factor in the student's course grade; in other cases, it may carry the same weight as a midterm exam, or the student may be exempted. Not all finals need be cumulative, however, as some simply cover the material presented since the last exam. For example, a microbiology course might only cover fungi and parasites on the final exam (not on the previous exam!) if this were the policy of the professor, and all other subjects presented in the course would then not be tested on the final exam.

Prior to the examination period most students have a week or so of intense revision and study known in Commonwealth countries as swotvac.

In the UK, most universities hold a single set of "Finals" at the end of the entire degree course. In Australia, the exam period varies, with high schools commonly assigning one or two weeks for final exams, but the university period -- sometimes called "exam week" or just "exams" -- may stretch to a maximum of three weeks.

Practice varies widely in the United States; "finals" or the "finals period" at the university level constitutes two or three weeks after the end of the academic term, but sometimes exams are administered in the last week of instruction. Some institutions designate a "study week" or "reading period" between the end of instruction and the beginning of finals, during which no examinations may be administered. Students at many institutions know the week before finals as "dead week."

Though common in French tertiary institutions, final exams are not often assigned in French high schools. However, French high school students hoping to continue their studies at university level will sit a national exam, known as the Baccalauréat.

Take-home finals

A take-home final is an examination at the end of an academic term that is usually too long to be completed in a single session as an in-class final. There is usually a deadline for completion; typically a week or two. A take-home final differs from a final paper.

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