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.
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.
In the UK, most universities hold a single set of "Finals" at the end of the entire degree course; at Oxford these are referred to as "Schools", after the building in which they are held. 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.