Midterms are just around the corner

By Molly Hawkins

Staff Writer

In less than two weeks, students and teachers alike will be breathing sighs of relief as midterms week finally comes to a close. Review packets and materials from first semester will be discarded after hours of preparation, all for 10% of a final grade.

But some students seem to feel their midterm grade is not worth nearly enough, and with all of the time that goes into the process of studying for an exam, they are simply a waste of time.

“I’m happy that midterms are worth 10%, but I think they should be even more,” senior Kyle Rock said. “They’re often worth less than one test, which isn’t great.”

Preparation for college is a main reason that students are citing, arguing that a 10 percent weighted midterm or final simply does not adequately reflect collegiate styles of assessing. College students take far fewer exams that count for a large percentage of their overall grade, and midterms and finals are a big deal: usually worth 25-30% of a final grade (psychologytoday.com).

“I think they should be worth the same amount for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, but they should be weighted more than 10%, maybe around 15%,” senior Janvi Puri said. “This way, they not only put more effort into studying for them, but they also can prepare and have a good mindset to take these in college, where they are worth a lot more. Also, if the school can reduce the number of unit tests per class and replace them with a higher-weighted midterm, that would be better.”

In addition, at least in our school, the tendency is for grades to go down instead of up after midyear and final exams, making the entire experience less rewarding for students.

“My midterms are more likely to hurt me than help me,” senior Swati Joshi said. “For example, in my economics class, I have a 95, so I am two points away from an A+ but also three points away from an A-. But after the final, I can somehow go down to an A-, but not up to an A+.”

However, others disagree that finals should be weighted more, noting the stress of the situation on students to perform well.

“I think they should be worth less,” junior Ana Amaral said. “There’s so much pressure on testing and I think it’s the wrong approach towards a major part of your grade. Perhaps what it’s worth should go up as we move through the grades. All I know is that it was very very stressful as a freshman. I’d love to see a more holistic grading method one day.”

The time commitment in studying for a large final can often become a burden on students, who already do homework and study for up to 17.5 hours a week (according to U.S. News and World Report), as well as balance sports teams, after-school clubs, and employment. And in the weeks leading up to midterms, students are given homework, essays, tests, and quizzes unrelated to the exam, making it difficult to start studying in advance and leading to cramming. According to Harvard Magazine, students learn better through many small study sessions, as opposed to a one or two large cramming sessions, and they can even come to enjoy this “spaced learning”. The way exams are currently handled, with tests and new material given up through the last week, make that ideal study method more of a dream than a reality.