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Everything You Need to Know About Exams and Grading at JMHS

Written by Nicole Dalbo on Tuesday, 22 November 2022. Posted in Helpful Tips

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Taking tests can be one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of school, especially when you don’t know what to expect. It’s time to take a deep breath and relax, because we’re about to break down some of the most frequently asked questions about exams, grades, and everything in between at James Madison High School. In this blog, you’ll also be able to find out about resources available to you so that you can successfully pass your courses and boost your GPA along the way.

What type of exams does JMHS have?

There are two types of graded assignments you’ll experience at JMHS. A majority of your exams will be open book, multiple-choice exams. In these exams, you’ll have 3 hours from the time you open the exam to complete it and in each question, you’ll have a choice of 4 different answers. Once you complete and submit this type of multiple-choice exam, no waiting is necessary! You’ll instantly see the percentage you got correct and which questions were correct, and which were incorrect.

What does it mean to have an open book exam?

Open book exams mean that you’re allowed to access your notes or reading material while taking your exam. When compared to closed book exams, there are definitely benefits of open book exams. Former senior editor of Psychology Today Magazine and researcher of learning and cognition, Annie Murphy Paul listed that open book exams generate less anxiety, help develop problem solving skills rather than focus on memorization, and more closely resemble tasks students will need to do after they graduate.

Although you’re allowed to look at all of your readings, remember that it’s still super important to study! You’ll only have a certain amount of time to complete your exam, so you won’t want to waste it looking up all the answers individually. Develop good study habits by reading, creating flash cards, writing out notes, or whatever helps you remember your information.

Pro tip: Writing out and referencing your notes can be a helpful resource when taking your exams.

The other type of assessment you’ll come across when working on your lessons are graded assignments. Each written assignment will have a rubric attached letting you know exactly how you’ll be graded and will come with a prompt letting you know what the topic is and how long it needs to be. While some written assignments are longer like essays, you’ll also encounter short answer questions in some of your assignments as well. For written assignments, you’ll have as much time as you need to focus on your prompt.

Read more: 5 Effective Skills for High School Online Learning Success

How are JMHS exams graded?

Once you complete and submit a multiple-choice exam, you’ll receive your grade instantly. Out of the four answers provided, only one is correct, so it’s important to choose your answer wisely! After submitting your exam, you’ll be able to take a look at what you got right versus what you got wrong and use it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If you plan on retaking your exam, just be aware that you may have different questions than your first attempt!

Written assignments at JMHS are graded a bit differently than multiple-choice. Once submitted, it may take up to 10 business days for your assignment to be graded. Because there’s so much that goes into your assignment, an instructor will read each submitted element and will grade them based on the rubric that you’ll come across on the assignment page. An awesome perk of written assignments is that you’ll get personal feedback from the instructor letting you know what your strong points were and how you can improve.

Read more: 7 Ways Online High School Can Help You Focus More

What is a passing grade at JMHS?

In order for you to pass your exam, you’ll need a score of at least 70% correct. You’ll also need to receive an average of 70% on all your exams so that you pass your class and receive credit.

Can I get help with studying, written assignments, or exams?

Of course! After you’ve read your material and put your study skills to use, getting additional help can aid you with your lessons. Here are a few options you can choose from:

Instructor office hours: On the course page for most of your classes, your instructor will list an optional time where you can connect with them. During these instructor office hours, your course instructor will be available to answer questions or go over material you may be having a tough time with. Although office hours are a great resource, these hours are at specific times and days of the week, so this option may not be a best fit for everyone.

Tutoring appointments: If your schedule doesn’t match up with the office hours or if you’d like a more focused one-on-one session, scheduling a tutoring appointment is a flexible way to receive help with an assignment! You’ll be able to set up a 15-minute appointment with an Academic Advisor and receive the assistance you need. It’s best to come prepared with your questions during this meeting to make the most of your time.

Although 15 minutes of focused attention is generally enough time, if you feel like you’re still unsure about a topic, you’re able to schedule another appointment.

Math/English tutoring appointments: For Math help, you’ll connect with tutor specialized in Math, while for English help you’ll connect with a Writing Coach to help you improve your writing skills. These sessions are more specialized than regular tutoring appointments.

Pro tip: Math and English tutoring appointments book up fast! Make sure you schedule your appointment in advance and don’t wait until the last minute to do so.

Read more: 3 Tips to Help You Stay Motivated in Online School

What happens if I fail a test?

If you fail a multiple-choice test at JMHS, it’s possible to retake it for another attempt at a passing grade. Everyone has their off days or topics that aren’t their strongest—and that’s okay! Use these opportunities to learn where you need to focus your studying and grow from there. Most importantly, don’t be afraid of retaking an exam. Your highest score is the one that is kept, so giving it another shot can only help you, not hurt you!

Pro tip: Even if you’ve passed a test, and would like to use your retake, you can! Because only your highest score is recorded, use that second attempt to get a higher grade and boost your GPA to new heights!

What happens if I fail a class?

If you fail a class, don’t worry! There are a few ways you can improve your grade to still earn credit and pass.

Step 1: Go back and study where you struggled the most. Use this time to take notes, review your learning material and get focused.

Step 2: Check to see if you have any open retakes. If you do, take them one at a time, studying between each one. If your second attempt on an exam is enough to help you pass the class, then you can move on! If you’re still not there, you’ll need to move onto the next step to ensure you earn your credit.

Step 3: If you no longer have retakes available for your class, you’ll need to submit a request for an academic review.

What's an academic review?

Academic reviews are for students that have used up all of their exam attempts, but still have not yet earned a passing grade for their course. In an academic review, an academic advisor will pair up with you and help create a plan for you to earn a passing grade for your class. If you’ve passed your course or still have remaining attempts, you will not be approved for an academic review.

Pro tip: Without an academic review for a failed class, you will not be able to graduate and earn your diploma, so it’s best to request one if you need it while your lessons are still fresh in your mind!

Can I receive honors as a JMHS student?

Yes, you can Once graduated, if your GPA is a 3.5 or above, you can qualify for Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, or Magna Cum Laude. Additionally, you will be invited to join the Delta Epsilon honor society. Becoming a member of an honor society can give you a boost on your resume, or be a standout factor when applying to colleges.

Take charge of your education with JMHS

If you feel ready to take tackle your exams in online high school, we’re here to support you. James Madison High School is an accredited high school with no age limits. James Madison High School is nationally accredited by Cognia and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Get started owning your education today by enrolling online at or reach out to an Admissions Specialist at 1-800-349-6861 for more information.

About the Author

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo studied English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Scranton and is currently working toward her MS in Marketing. When she isn’t writing, Nicole can be found watching the newest Marvel movie, baking something sweet, or jamming out to live music.