March 12, 2017

The Stresses of Midterms

Emily Saperstein ‘18

It’s that time of year again. Midterms season is upon the student body and the stress-filled atmosphere has filled the halls. Although teachers prepare their students well for these tests and school policies ensure we have enough time to study, the weeks leading up to these exams can be daunting ones, especially for those who have never taken this type of assessment before.
“I was incredibly stressed out for midterms during my freshman year since I had never studied for five subjects so intensely at once before,” junior Dina Doctoroff said. “I eventually gave up trying to organize my study time and just crammed for everything at once, leading me to become even more nervous once the tests came along.”
Although students’ initial reactions can be extreme, after gaining more experience with these tests throughout their high school careers, many people have gradually developed effective strategies for studying for midterms and don’t see these tests as being nearly as frightening as before. Especially when considering the actual value of midterms in a student’s semester grade, the situation can be put into perspective.
“I definitely see the tests as less important now, but I still prepare for them as I would any big test,” junior Alissa Lampert explained. “I think I just figured out how little 10 percent of my grade really is and as long as I know I studied, the grade doesn't matter as much.”
Although the minimal value of midterms in contribution to students’ final grades can often be comforting, this fact has lead many students to question whether or not midterms are necessary in the context of our school. Since they count for so little – and really only affect those that are on the cusp of two grades – should they really still be required?
Junior Alex Beigelman doesn’t think so.
“Midterms are worth just enough to hurt someone's grade but very, very rarely does a midterm ever help boost a student's grade,” he said. “Therefore, I believe midterms are a real waste of time and energy. We could be using those weeks to cover more material, but instead we have to take hours upon hours to prepare for tests that are nothing more than a nuisance.”
Fellow junior, Sophia Heimowitz, agreed with Beigelman’s assertions.
“I understand the importance of remembering work from the beginning of the year and that retaining information is necessary to truly learn it, but I also don’t know if midterms are the best option,” she said. “I can’t suggest another way, but as my years in high school go by, I find that my interest and preparedness levels for the tests have fallen considerably.”
Although a major source of anxiety for many students, there are definitely some positive things that come along with midterms. Many students enjoy the long breaks in between tests, especially taking advantage of the open campus privileges that are offered during this time to go out to lunch with friends and even bring back some surprise presents for their teachers.
With these positive opportunities readily available to students during this stressful period, people are able to relax a little bit, something that is often long overdue for hardworking GOA students. Additionally, no matter what the ultimate results, some students look forward to finishing their tests and are eager to end the semester with a good attitude.
“I definitely was a lot more stressed for midterms during my first year of high school,” sophomore Sophie Goldman said, “but this year I almost looked forward to them since it meant we would have a break from our workloads and would have a new start in the second semester. It’s nice to finish a midterm and know that you’re done with the class for the semester, and that your work has paid off.”

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