Failing to take final exams in high school can have serious consequences that impact a student’s grade, graduation status, and future academic options. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key things that can happen if you skip out on your high school finals and provide tips for avoiding this situation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Not taking final exams in high school can lead to failing grades for courses, not meeting graduation requirements, having to repeat courses, summer school, not qualifying for scholarships, and other significant setbacks.

Failing Grades and Need to Repeat Courses

Finals often make up large portion of overall grade

Final exams are typically worth a significant portion of a student’s final grade in high school courses. In many cases, finals can account for as much as 20% to 30% of the overall grade. This means that not taking the final can have a substantial impact on a student’s final grade in the course.

Without the opportunity to earn those crucial points, it becomes much more difficult to achieve a passing grade.

Failing final can cause failing grade for entire course

If a student fails to take a final or fails to perform well on it, it can result in a failing grade for the entire course. This is because the final exam serves as a comprehensive assessment of the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the semester.

Without demonstrating proficiency in the material covered on the final, it becomes challenging to prove mastery of the course content. As a result, the student may be required to retake the course in order to earn credit and meet graduation requirements.

May need to retake course to meet graduation requirements

In some cases, not taking or failing a final can have serious implications on a student’s ability to graduate on time. High schools typically have graduation requirements that include the successful completion of specific courses.

If a student fails a course because they didn’t take or failed the final, they may need to retake the course in order to fulfill these graduation requirements. This can delay their progress towards graduation and potentially impact their post-secondary plans.

It is important for students to understand the significance of finals and the potential consequences of not taking them seriously. Finals provide an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and skills acquired throughout the course, and they play a crucial role in determining a student’s final grade.

So, it’s essential for students to prepare adequately and seek help if needed to ensure success in their final exams.

Not Meeting Graduation Requirements

Finals factor into credit hours earned towards graduation

Final exams are an important component of high school education, as they factor into the credit hours earned towards graduation. These exams are designed to assess students’ understanding of the material covered throughout the year and determine their level of proficiency in the subject.

By not taking finals, students risk not earning the necessary credit hours required for graduation.

Falling short on credits can prevent graduating on time or at all

When students fail to take their finals, they run the risk of falling short on credits required for graduation. Most high schools have specific credit requirements that students must meet in order to receive their diploma.

If a student does not earn the necessary credits, they may not be able to graduate on time or at all. This can have long-term implications on their educational journey and future opportunities.

May need to attend summer school or repeat year to earn missing credits

If a student fails to take their finals and does not meet the required credit hours for graduation, they may be required to attend summer school or repeat the year to make up for the missing credits. Summer school offers an opportunity for students to earn the necessary credits in a condensed time frame, allowing them to catch up and meet the graduation requirements.

However, this can be an additional burden on both the student and their families, as it may require additional time and financial resources.

According to a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, students who do not meet the graduation requirements have a higher likelihood of encountering difficulties in their future academic and professional endeavors.

It is important for students to take their finals seriously and fulfill the necessary requirements to ensure a smooth transition into higher education or the workforce.

Limited Scholarship Opportunities

When students don’t take their finals in high school, it can have a significant impact on their scholarship opportunities. Many scholarships have GPA requirements that factor into their decision-making process.

By not taking finals and potentially receiving failing grades for those exams, students risk bringing down their overall GPA.

GPA requirements factor into many scholarship decisions

Scholarships are often competitive, and one of the key factors that scholarship committees consider is a student’s GPA. Scholarships may have minimum GPA requirements, and not taking finals can result in a lower GPA.

This can put students at a disadvantage when applying for scholarships, as they may not meet the necessary criteria.

Failing grades from missing finals can bring down GPA

Missing finals can result in failing grades for those exams, which can have a negative impact on a student’s GPA. GPA, or Grade Point Average, is a measure of a student’s academic performance. It is calculated by assigning numerical values to letter grades and averaging them.

Failing grades can significantly bring down a student’s GPA, making them less competitive for scholarships that require a minimum GPA.

May miss out on academic and athletic scholarships

Both academic and athletic scholarships often have GPA requirements. By not taking finals and potentially receiving failing grades, students may not meet these requirements and could miss out on valuable scholarship opportunities.

Academic scholarships are typically awarded to students who excel in their academic pursuits, and a high GPA is often a prerequisite. Athletic scholarships also often require students to maintain a certain GPA in addition to their athletic achievements.

Hurts College Application Prospects

When it comes to college admissions, high school transcripts and GPA play a crucial role in evaluating a student’s academic performance. Colleges and universities carefully review these documents to gain insight into a student’s capabilities and potential for success at their institution.

Failing to take finals can have a significant negative impact on your college application prospects.

Colleges look at transcripts and GPA during admissions

During the college admissions process, admissions officers closely examine a student’s high school transcripts and GPA. These records showcase a student’s academic achievements and provide valuable information about their academic abilities.

Colleges want to see that students have taken their high school education seriously and have demonstrated consistent performance throughout their four years of study.

High school transcripts typically include information such as class titles, grades, and credits earned. Admissions officers carefully review these documents to assess the rigor of the courses taken, the student’s overall GPA, and any trends or patterns in their academic performance.

Missing finals and failing grades raise red flags

Missing finals and receiving failing grades on your transcript can raise red flags for admissions officers. It indicates a lack of commitment to your academic responsibilities and may suggest a lack of motivation or disciplinary issues.

Colleges want to admit students who are dedicated, responsible, and willing to put in the effort to succeed.

Furthermore, missing finals can disrupt the overall grading scale and GPA calculation. The final exams often carry a significant weight in determining the overall grade for a course. When a student skips these exams, it can result in incomplete or inaccurate grade calculations, which may further impact their GPA negatively.

Can jeopardize acceptance into chosen schools

Failure to take finals can jeopardize your acceptance into your chosen schools. Admissions officers may view missing finals as a significant academic setback and may question your ability to handle the rigors of college coursework.

It can raise doubts about your commitment to your education and your ability to meet the demands of a college curriculum.

Colleges receive numerous applications from high-achieving students, and they have the luxury of selecting candidates who have consistently demonstrated their academic potential. If a student has a pattern of missing finals or failing grades, it can give admissions officers a reason to prioritize other applicants who have shown more consistent academic performance.

It’s essential to take finals seriously and ensure that you complete all required exams. Your performance on these exams can have a significant impact on your college application prospects, so it’s crucial to give them the attention they deserve.

Social and Emotional Consequences

Stress and Anxiety from Falling Behind Peers

One of the major social and emotional consequences of not taking finals in high school is the stress and anxiety that can arise from falling behind your peers. Finals are an integral part of the academic process, and not taking them can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unprepared for future coursework.

The pressure to perform well on exams can be a motivator for many students, and without that external push, it can be easy to lose focus and become disengaged.

According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, academic stress is significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression among students. So, by not taking finals, you may inadvertently be subjecting yourself to unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Alienation from Classmates Who Move Forward

Another consequence of not taking finals in high school is the potential for alienation from classmates who move forward. Finals are often seen as a rite of passage, a shared experience that bonds students together.

When you choose not to participate in this important milestone, you may find yourself feeling disconnected from your peers.

It can be difficult to relate to conversations about exam preparation, grades, and future academic plans when you haven’t gone through the same experience. This sense of alienation can lead to feelings of isolation and even contribute to a decline in social interactions and friendships.

Loss of Pride and Self-Confidence

Not taking finals in high school can also result in a loss of pride and self-confidence. Finishing the school year with a sense of accomplishment and success is important for personal growth and development.

By opting out of finals, you may miss out on the opportunity to prove your knowledge and skills, which can leave you questioning your abilities.

Additionally, high school is a time when students start to build their self-identity and establish their place in the world. Not participating in finals can make you feel like you are not fully contributing to your own growth and progress.

This loss of pride and self-confidence can have a lasting impact on your overall well-being and future academic pursuits.


  1. American Psychological Association. (2014). Stress in America: Are Teens Adopting Adults’ Stress Habits?


In summary, skipping final exams in high school can derail your academic progress through failing grades, lack of graduation credits, harm to GPA and transcripts, and emotional toll. Protect your future by preparing thoroughly for finals and making your best effort.

If facing personal obstacles, speak with a guidance counselor for solutions. With determination, you can successfully close out your high school academics on a high note.

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