The Return of Mid-Year Exams


Seniors Autumn Tumbleton and Katie Cooper reading Principal Evan Bishop’s email regarding mid-year exams. “I am not a fan because it requires a lot of studying and causes stress and anxiety. I like the half days, but basically you are just going home to study after already taking two exams,” Cooper said.

For the first time since January of 2020, mid-year exams are back at HHS. Only the senior class has taken exams, and that was only in the first semester of their freshman year.

“It will definitely be an adjustment. Especially going from freshman to senior year. A lot has changed,” senior Autumn Tumbleton said.

Starting Tuesday, January 24th, students will be taking two 95-minute exams with a 15-minute break Tuesday-Thursday. This means these days at the high school will be early releases. On Friday, students only take one exam, so they will be able to leave school at 9:35 a.m.

“It’s really exhausting because we usually don’t take hour and a half exams, so having two a day is very draining,” senior Katie Cooper said.

This exam schedule is meant to help students experience what college exams are like.

“We’ve had a number of conversations with the staff, students, superintendent, and school committee… It’s beneficial for students for that next level when they experience large scale exams in college,” Principal Evan Bishop said.

Many teachers, like AP Environmental Science teacher Charlotte Shire and math department head Carla Crisafulli, agree with Bishop.

“I think some students don’t understand the importance. They look at that afternoon as an afternoon off and don’t take the opportunity to prepare for a big exam,” Shire said.

The mid-year exams are typically around 10% of a student’s overall semester grade, but the school is looking to give teachers more flexibility in their classes.

“I think the weight should be graduated like freshman 5%, sophomore 10% and so on once we get back to our routine,” Crisafulli said.

The faculty are well aware of the potential stress these exams could have on students.

“I think kids are stressed enough with all the work that they have to do, and they worry about their grades. That is a disadvantage but a good life lesson,” Crisafulli said.

To ease some of the students’ stress, Bishop has given faculty the option to continue with traditional pen-and-paper exams or switch it up with a presentation or project.

In addition, seniors with a grade of 90 or above in single-semester classes have the option not to take the exam in that class. The same is in the spring but for full-year courses as well.

Since teachers have notified their students about mid-year exams, students have had ample time after the new year to hit the ground running and begin studying.