It’s a Love Hate Relationship: Midterms

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It’s a Love Hate Relationship: Midterms

It's a love-hate relationship.

It's a love-hate relationship.

Kaitlyn Strada

It's a love-hate relationship.

Kaitlyn Strada

Kaitlyn Strada

It's a love-hate relationship.

Kaitlyn Strada, Writer

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This time last year, students at Madison High School were recovering from a five-day week of midterms. This is the first year midterms were taken out of the curriculum due to timing issues regarding the PARCC testing. For some, not having midterms was similar to having a weight lifted off of their shoulders, but for others, a fear of the future finals in June looms. This week is also the start of the second semester, so now the question is: did midterms make or break the transition into the new semester?

I interviewed seven juniors who had interesting opinions on this topic.

I started off by asking how they felt about not having midterms.

Two juniors agreed that not having midterms was great for their grades and served as a nice break from the studying they entail. One student pointed out, “last year, due to Christmas break just weeks before midterms, I came back and it was hard to get back into the study groove for midterms right away. I struggled studying for all of my core classes and my grades clearly reflected that, even though I had done well in the classes themselves. It was very nice to only have my class grades count for my first semester.” The next student concluded that without midterms, there was an easier transition into the new marking period because “our classes just continue to learn without the stress that the midterms brought us.” One other student, however, has a different view. He is nervous about the final test at the end of the year. “Since we didn’t take midterms, all the material from the first and second marking periods will be put on the final test. How am I supposed to remember all of that well enough to do well in June?” he questioned. Overall, the two students agreed that the break from studying for midterms was nice, but having a full week of school was tough!

Next, I asked which marking period is the hardest and why.

Out of seven juniors, five agreed that third marking period was the toughest. “We have February break and spring break and most teachers don’t take that into account. When I come back to school, teachers cram the last few chapters in before the end of the marking period,” one student said. Another student added, “the third is the toughest because the first is introductory to classes, the second is more work, and the third is toughest material taught since the fourth wraps it up and sums it all together for the final.” The other two argued that the last marking period is the hardest due to the temptation that summer brings. “I never focus well when it gets hot outside and it’s hard to stay determined when summer is calling my name,” one junior mentioned.

My third and final question was if students would rather take midterms or finals.

In unison, the seven high school juniors replied, “Midterms!” Their reasons were identical; they would rather study in the winter than study close to summer. They also agreed that they would rather prepare for a midterm that only included the first and second marking period material rather than a final that would be created from all four marking periods. “Why would I want to study four marking periods’ worth of material when midterms only include two marking periods?” one student said. One other student made a very fair claim, arguing, “I don’t think a test at the end of the year including most material from each class would represent me as a student. I have good grades and work hard, but it is so hard to keep all that knowledge to ace a huge test at the end of June, in the heat of summer.” Lastly, one student spoke for them all, saying, “we are happy we didn’t have midterms this year, but having a test on two marking periods is much more manageable and reasonable for our lives and brain capacities in comparison to taking a huge final that covers way too much material at the end of the year.”

I don’t think these students could have summed it up any better. With reason and support, I personally think their answers could represent the high school as a whole, with a few exceptions. Though having no midterms was a gift, students have realized their will be much more material on the final this year. Overall, some stress has been put on the first and second marking periods due to the sheer quantity of information to remember. They all missed the shortened days that midterms brought, but it was worth giving up if it meant they didn’t have to take the tests.

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