Midterm exams only lead to unneeded stress


Salman Ghous

By Nina Otebele

November is a glorious month to enjoy family, turkeys, the leaves changing color; the spring season arrives in April along with, of course, midterm exams. In case you didn’t know, a midterm exam is a test given towards the end of the quarter or middle of the semester. Personally, I have a mixed opinion about test-taking in general.

Many people don’t like taking tests. I sure don’t. Tests can build up anxiety and stress. It can be scary to think that one test can basically determine your grade in any class. Just the thought of taking an exam can make a student feel pressured.

But in our society, tests are everything. Some colleges require students to take a standardized test like the SAT or ACT in order to enroll. Even worse, the SBA is required for all students to take almost yearly from late elementary through sophomore high school if you pass.

“A midterm exam is a way to recap on what you have done that quarter of the year.””

— Heather Miles

But I will be fair. as much as I don’t enjoy taking tests, in some ways tests are necessary, it can informs you whether you understand a subject or if you need more practice.

This is why I have a mixed opinion on taking tests. Tests can cause stress, but they also can let me know if I need to work harder to understand the topic so I can do better on the following exam. Tests can also boost self esteem. If you do really well on a test, you have the right to be proud of it.

But at the same time, when I get a low score on an exam I get upset because, not only did this test lower my grade in said class, it means that I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. This would mean I would have to work a lot harder in said class, which isn’t something I would look forward to. So yes, tests can have their pros and cons. I personally believe the only test that should matter in any subject is the final exam, which begs the question: Are midterm exams necessary? Although there are many pros for test taking, I don’t think midterm exams are necessary.

Why should teachers assign a midterm exam when there will be a semester final later on? That is a lot of extra work for both the students and teachers.

Teachers spend a long time not only making big tests, but also grading them before doing the same thing only a month later after the first one.

Adam Welman, a biology teacher at MTHS, agrees with this. “There are some advantages to doing midterms. Ultimately, what [the decision not to administer a midterm exam] came down to for me is the amount of time it would take to review the exam, losing a couple of days for school, too. That outweighed the reasons for doing it.”

Beside the fact that midterm exams are extra work for the teachers, it’s extra stress for the students as well. In only a short few months after midterm exams we will have semester finals. Why, should we do them?

“We have semester finals which have the same purpose,” said junior Maddie Wolff-Gee. “I suppose it’s a good benchmark but we haven’t learned enough [to justify taking a midterm]; there’s so much more in the year.”

Despite all these reasons, many teachers continue assigning midterm tests.

Teachers who do midterm exams like Stephanie Harwood, an MTHS math teacher, believe that midterm exams help her determine whether or not the students understand what they’re learning.

Why should teachers assign a midterm exam when there will be a semester final later on?”

— Nina Otebele

“I do midterm exams to assess where my students are at and to see if I need to cover a topic better, and as a reflection for me as a teacher to see if I completely missed a topic,” Harwood said. “I also do midterms for the students to reflect on what they are learning and the pieces that they’re missing.”

Heather Miles, a sophomore at MTHS, also believes that midterm exams are necessary as well. “A midterm exam is a way to recap on what you have done that quarter of the year,” Miles said. “A midterm can also help you to reflect later for you might do on your semester final.”

As true as both of these points are, I feel that the same thing can be done during the semester final.

At the end of the day, I feel that midterm exams bring a lot of unnecessary stress to students and teachers. Teachers have to create and grade the test and then have to do the same thing for semester finals. Midterm exams and semester finals are basically the same thing, which defeats the purpose of having two separate tests. The stress of taking a midterm can be put towards a long anticipated final exam.