Counterpoint: Should we have a week dedicated to midterm exams?

Shia Miller, Staff Writer

Stress. It’s something that every teenager experiences. Between studying for classes and the SATs, and worrying about what lies ahead in the near future, stress effects even the best of us.We should be doing everything that we can to reduce the stress. However, this is not the case. Instead, we have an entire week dedicated to two or three-hour tests, which are held consecutively, which stress students out even more. While ensuring that students are learning and retaining information is important, we do need a new solution to testing students.

Midterm week is one of the most intense weeks of the entire school year. Sure, there are Regents and AP exams at the end of the year. But these tests are what we prep for all year round. On the other hand, midterms sort of just sneak up on you. A teacher might casually mention the test before winter break. But as soon as we are back to school, midterms are the only thing that anyone talks about.

“Whenever the midterm week is near, I go through a panic attack,” said senior Sameer Nanda.

Midterms usually count for a huge portion of your grade: about 20% of second quarter grades. That’s a high price to pay for one test. So, what should be done about this situation?

Well first, we need to do away with midterm week. It’s a source of anxiety and stress that burdens teachers and students to perform at the highest level and to produce massive tests. If midterm week were dissolved, much would improve. Students with test anxiety would have another chance to redeem themselves for second quarter.

“Midterms themselves have an unreasonably significant impact on student grades,” said senior Sally Kuan.

Maybe the emphasis on intense testing would dissolve, and a new system would be implemented that would measure how much a student has retained from the first semester.

Because isn’t that essentially what midterms are about? Aren’t they simply a way to tell the instructor, and the student, that they don’t know as much information as they should at this point in the year? If this is the reasoning behind the majority of these tests, why not create a new system?

“I wish that teachers didn’t give midterms for the sake of giving midterms,” said senior Kimberly Winter. “There are some midterms that I literally can’t study for, like AP Literature. If we can’t study for a test, how can it be an accurate representation of what we’ve learned?”

Taking an entire week during the year and dedicating it to midterms is not the only method to checking how well students are grasping what they are being taught in class. There are other ways to monitor how well we retain what we learn. What if, midterms were simply reduced to one hour each? The test could contain any topic from the start of the year. It would be far less intimidating to keep it in a class setting, and far less daunting to take than a 150 question test.

In addition, the midterm week conflicts have persisted for a long time. With in-class midterm exams, there will be no conflicts.

“Last year, I showed up an hour late to my Latin midterm,” said Winter. “Luckily it did not impact too badly, but I certainly would not have slept in if it had been an in-class exam.”

Additionally, the test would not be counted for more than 10% of our grade, which would not only help those with testing anxiety, but those who didn’t do so great in the first semester. Having a smaller test might also mean that we could review the test afterward, in prep for the final, Regents or AP exam at the end of the year. Because, let’s be honest: having a midterm week is not vital for our education, and frankly, it’s nothing more than a big waste of our time.