Midterms: To Have or Not to Have

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Cate Spitz

Midterms— a word in itself that has an undeniable stigma of stress and fear. It is an uncomfortable test, and by that I mean the time of year seems off because it isn’t a final exam where you can rest or have a break after but a week in the middle of the year with no break right afterwards. It builds no incentive, no fuel to propel you through the tests without a defined break afterwards. Instead, the year moves on to the second semester, leaving behind a semester of unacknowledged achievement. 

There is, however, an unavoidable incomprehensibility of the benefits that midterms serve in the long-run for the miserable test takers. Midterms allow students to gather materials of their notes and tests from the semester for each subject, which allows students to learn how to be organized. Organization is extremely important for students to learn, as in college, work, and life. Organization, no matter an individual’s system of it, can enable them to be most efficient and successful. 

Midterms, as stressful as they are, create a reinforcement of concepts and terms within the different subjects, which reestablish forgotten concepts within the semester. This benefits the student, as they will teach themselves to relearn old concepts. It also helps reestablish those ideas so that when finals roll around, students will feel less pressure to relearn all the concepts, as they will already have learned the material twice. 

The more testing a student does, the less stressful testing becomes. When students have less opportunity to test, they will be unable to know their best methods of large-scale testing. More testing can prepare students for other tests and college finals. 

In terms of student and teacher preferences, teachers would have enjoyed having their planned midterms, as their grading systems and lesson plans had to shift in accommodation for the midterm cancellations. The student preferences about midterms are split: some believe that they were more stressed with school work and a unit test than they would have been with a midterm, while other students feel the unit test was the best alternative to a midterm—and the more preferable option. In general, it seems that most of the high school students would have benefited from—and may have even preferred—midterms week.