Opinion: Three takes on midterms


Credit: Ryan Chase

WSPN’s Jenny Shine, Chloe Zilembo, and Ryan Chase share their points of view on midterms from the perspective of three different grades.

Chloe Zilembo, Jenny Shine, and Ryan Chase

Jenny Shine, junior:

December break has come to an end, but the chaos of midterms is just beginning. In my junior year of high school, I will be taking my first ever midterm, arguably when it matters the most. Without having the practice of midterms from sophomore and freshman year, figuring out how to study for these big tests feels intimidating. With the midterm looming closer, I have no idea where to start.

For years, I’ve heard that junior year is the worst year of your entire high school career. Right now, this statement holds true. Trying to find time to study for midterms while bombarded by homework and tests from other classes seems unreasonable, but it’s my reality.

Extracurriculars fill the schedules of many students, leaving just enough time to get regular homework assignments done and study for unit tests. There simply is not time to study the material of the entire semester for a midterm while still being expected to do the work that school already entails.

Midterms are stressful, and will be stressful no matter what. What elevates this stress is feeling unprepared for taking an extremely important test that has a large impact on my grade. A grade that could play a role in what college I end up attending.

Not having midterms during freshman and sophomore year might’ve felt like an advantage back then. Yet now, the stakes are higher than ever to do well in school, so midterms are much more stressful. Where were midterms when I wasn’t drowning in schoolwork?

Chloe Zilembo, sophomore:

When I was in elementary and middle school, I always took any opportunity I could to stay home. Now, anytime I miss school creates more stress and I fall further and further behind. Missing school a few weeks before midterms is incredibly taxing.

COVID-19 cases are rising at Wayland High School, and people are missing important classes that are crucial to preparing for midterms. I had COVID-19 and missed a week of school. Luckily, I didn’t have symptoms so I could easily catch up on work. Even then, I was missing important lessons. Attempting to catch up on schoolwork alone was extremely exhausting and stressful, but factor in the weight of studying for midyear exams, and it seems impossible to catch up.

I’ve had so much work that needs to be finished, that even thinking about midterms seems so far in the future. In reality, midterms are just around the corner. It gets even more difficult when topics that you were supposed to learn while you were out appear on the midterms.

It’s one issue when you’re out of school, but your teacher being out only a few weeks before midterms is horrifying. Students have had some of their teachers out for long periods of time since December break. Other classes have had their teachers present and could completely learn the topics. This means that students with teachers out will not have mastered everything on the midterm that other classes at the same level have learned.

Attempting to overcome this hurdle, I’m taking every opportunity available to meet with my teachers to further discuss important lessons that I missed. If I don’t take the initiative to meet with my teachers, I know I won’t do well on the midterm. Sometimes it feels like I’m so behind that I will never catch up.

Now, being into my second year of high school, I will never wish to miss school again. Overall, student and teacher absences create added stress on the already overwhelmed students during midterms.

Ryan Chase, freshman:

My journey into high school has just begun, but I’m face-to-face with the notorious midterm exams. I have no experience in taking these exams, as some of my upperclassmen peers do. My grade is the first freshman class in three years to be taking midterms, so I don’t have people to ask about what to do.

Along with the unfamiliarity of midterms, in my math and science classes I’ve already been slammed with unit tests, as well as other classes assigning tests a mere week before midterms. In honors biology, I’m still learning material that will be on the midterm, so I don’t have enough time to fully understand the material and feel confident in it.

I have lots of excess stress relating to midterms, and am unable to juggle school and extracurriculars. I receive a large amount of work between all of my classes, but if that’s not enough, I’m also participating in both school clubs and sports. I’m usually able to manage my time well, but with the extra work I need to do to prepare for midterms, I find myself stressing over what to prioritize.

On a more positive note, midterms are a great way to boost my grades in classes that I’m struggling in, for example, in geometry and biology. During first semester of school, especially the first quarter, my grades haven’t been great in my more rigorous classes. If I do well on midterm exams, it would be an amazing way to improve my grade average.

As a freshman, I’m blindsided when faced with midterm exams. Learning how to study and prepare for midterms will definitely be helpful in future years. When midterms roll around next year, I’ll already know how to prepare for them, because of my midterm experience as a freshman. I’m also going to experience final exams at the end of this year, so knowing how to study for midterms will definitely help me with studying for finals.

While I would much rather not have to experience the stress of midterms and finals, I also see the benefits they can provide for all students. They are also a good way for teachers to assess their students.