Are Midterms Worth It?

Almost all students can agree that midterms cause stress, but the question is, is all the stress worth it?

Head of School Judy Guild thinks so. “Midterms help students coalesce their understanding of material,” she says. “If you really look at studying as a process, and not just as a one-time event before a midterm, I don’t think it should be that stressful.”

Math Department Chair Nancy Bradley agrees, adding that midterms encourage students to review a wide scope of material. “It keeps students up to date on what they really know and what they don’t know,” she says. But Bradley does acknowledge some downsides of midterms. “Percentage wise, I don’t weigh mine very much because it’s really just one sitting. Some kids test well, some kids don’t test well, some kids cram better than other kids.”

Genevieve Lefevre ’15 agrees with Bradley. ”The situation of sitting and taking a two-hour exam on everything you’ve learned this year in every subject is intense,” Lefevre says.

Owen Meredith ’16 takes seven classes, and other than having to study for exams, he has other work to complete. It’s hard to get things done when there’s so much going on the week before exams,” he says. “It’s difficult for many students to get the studying they need to get done when teachers assign so much work in the weeks leading up to exams.”

Leilani Sung ’16 echoes Meredith’s sentiments. “For us, since we’re juniors, midterms can count for 25% of the grade, so if you don’t test well then it’s not gonna help your grade at all,” she says. “That’s not fair, and it’s just too much stress to do well on them.”

Science Department Chair Cecelia Pan agrees that midterms help students cement a comprehensive understanding, but she also knows that they can be very difficult. “If you take a full course load, you could take up to seven exams in a one week period that cover everything that you have done from September on,” she says. “They can also count for an awful lot. If you are a senior, the exams can count for up to a quarter of your grade. That’s a lot of pressure for one test.”

What are your thoughts? Please take our quick poll.

However you feel about midterm exams, The Gator wishes you the best luck next week.

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