Return of the Midterm


Photo by Emma DiNicola

Hardworking senior Matt Zettek studies in the library, getting prepped for his AP Physics midterm in a month. Seniors like Zettek remember the midterm cram all too well from the fall of their freshman year. “The worst midterms are definitely going to be physics and calc, there’s so much to remember,” Zettek said.

As the world gradually shifts back to pre-pandemic life, many HHS traditions are returning: pep rallies, live music, prom, and, of course, midterms.

Principal Evan Bishop explained how the midterm schedule will be similar to the pre-covid Midterms Week: the last of which was held in January 2020.

“We’re going to have four early release days. From Tuesday to Friday [of] the week of January 23rd, we’ll have an exam in the morning from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM. Then, there will be a break, and after, there will be an exam from 9:45 AM to 11:15 AM. Kids are done after that,” he said.

A change that many students will be glad to hear of is that midterms and finals now account for a smaller percentage of the final grade.

“It used to be 10% of the student’s final grade. The teacher can [now] set what the percentage is going to be,” Bishop said.

The most major difference will be in the type of exams given.

“Teachers can give a traditional exam with pencil and paper, a paper, [or] a project. It can look different depending on the class,” Bishop continued.

Photo: Students Take a Pre-Calc Quiz
Students in David Buffum’s Honors Pre-Calculus class take a quiz in preparation for midterms. (Photo by Emma DiNicola)

Some teachers plan on returning to pre-pandemic traditions. AP English Language and Composition teacher Michael Franchock detailed his upcoming midterm plans.

“For the AP [Language and Composition] classes, we do the first full AP exam for a midterm: that’s been tradition. It takes three days: the last two classes and the midterm time, but we’re adjusting it so it’s not as much of the grade as it normally would be,” he said.

Many teachers are partial to the classic midterm, as it prepares students for what they will almost certainly face at the conclusion of every semester in college.

“I am happy midterms are back because we didn’t get to do a full exam this way in the past couple of years,” Franchock said. “It’s the first time the kids write two essays back to back. They have to do three for the exam, so it’s really good practice. Midterms give us a good sense of where everybody is for the AP exam in May.”

With a little over a month left in the semester, students can expect a few more quizzes to get ready for midterms.

Photo: Mr. Franchock Teaching Literary Terms
Michael Franchock reviews literary terms with his AP Language and Composition classes in preparation for the upcoming exam. (Photo by Emma DiNicola)

Seniors are the least excited for the return of Midterms Week. With the memories of midterms past creeping back into their minds, the end-of-semester stress is just beginning to take effect. Senior Ana Tomas tells of this midterm anxiety.

“I’m not happy [about] midterms coming back at all,” Tomas said. “There are some topics I completely forgot from the beginning of the school year, so I think it’s just really hard to have one test that’s everything you learned that semester. You kind of have to cram.”

On the flip side, most underclassmen have never experienced a true midterm week. Therefore, the generally bleak consensus of the seniors is yet to afflict them.

Junior J.B. Flynn shared his optimistic outlook.

“I’m so happy midterms and finals aren’t 10% of our grade anymore. I’m also very excited for the half-days and [getting] to sleep after them,” he said.

Despite having a fair share of anxieties, he is ready to do the work it takes to ace his exams.

“I’m pretty scared for midterms because we’ve never done them before. I’m planning on studying about 70% for the midterms,” Flynn said.

“I also think that these tests ain’t ready for me,” he continued, smiling. “I’m gonna murder these tests.”