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The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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Students and faculty discuss mid-year stress

Students pile their textbooks in preparation for their exams. As mid-year exam week approaches, many WHS students are becoming stressed about the impact and weight of mid-year exams on their grades. Other students are managing their time, so they don't feel overwhelmed by the mid-year exam preparation workload. “One test having more weight than the others can skew your grades. It’s not a good representation of your average performance,” junior Anna Lifland said.
The end of second quarter, along with mid-year exams, creates an infamously stressful climate at WHS. Students and teachers alike struggle to meet their deadlines, and students must prepare to be tested on everything they have learned so far in the school year. Determining 10% of each student’s final grade, mid-year exams, also called midterms, are nothing to be scoffed at.

While classes focus on completing the first semester’s material, students are forced to balance their end-of-term workload with preparation for their midterms.

“I’m not that stressed out because I organized myself. If you study one day for each class, it’s not that hard,” said sophomore Sana Gilani.

But even after studying, some students question the effectiveness of a single test being worth 10% of their final grades. Combined with finals, the exams make up 20% of each student’s grade, equivalent to one quarter grade.

“I’m stressed because midterms are their own grade, so there’s nothing you can do to bring it back up after you’ve taken it,” freshman Arielle Wons said.

“One test having more weight than the others can skew your grades. It’s not a good representation of your average performance,” junior Anna Lifland said.

In a study conducted by the Associated Press and MTV, 85% of young people admitted to feeling stressed. For people between the ages of 13 and 17 years old, school acts as the largest stress-creating factor.

Guidance counselor Jennifer Sullivan finds that students seem particularly stressed at this time of year.

“Our courses are pretty demanding and expectations are pretty high,” guidance counselor Sara Bodi added, explaining the level of stress at WHS.

The academic rigor at WHS is widely known to be challenging. College Board reports that the average SAT scores at WHS are above average when compared with national and Massachusetts averages. This can create a competitive and high-stress environment for students.


In 2011, the WHS English department decided to eliminate English final exams, although students still take English mid-year exams. Instead of a final exam, during fourth quarter in late May or early June, students are given what would be the grammar section of the final exam.

“We decided there were other ways we could bring closure to course material, rather than on the final exam,” English department head Brian Keaney said. “When we had the final exams before, students never saw them [after the test was over], so it didn’t give students any feedback. While they can be helpful for students to synthesize course material, we felt we could do it in other ways rather than the essay of the final exam.”

However, the English department continues to give a mid-year exam because they find it beneficial to students and teachers.

“Mid-year exams give us valuable feedback about how our students are doing, and it provides another kind of writing challenge where students have to do timed writing as opposed to writing outside of class,” Keaney said.

Regardless of students’ opinions about the exam system, all students are required to take mid-year and final exams if the exams are required by their classes. Some classes, such as Social Science and Painting, do not require students to take a mid-year or final exam for the class.

In response to the heavy workload students face during mid-year exams, Sullivan advises students to attend group study sessions held by their teachers. She also suggests that students map out their time into chunks of studying, while also incorporating breaks into their schedules.

“Make sure you take care of yourself. Go to bed on time, eat healthy and exercise,” Sullivan said.

To see more de-stressing tips, check out WSPN’s 50 ways to de-stress before midterms.

This year’s midterm exam schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, 1/22
7:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Grades 9, 11 English, Statistics
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  – Grades 10, 12 English, EBM Period 2
Wednesday, 1/23
7:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Social Studies, AP Computer Science
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Spanish (Level 2 and higher), EBM Period 4
Thursday, 1/24
7:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Math
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – French, Latin, EBM Period 7, Spanish (Level 1)
Friday, 1/25
7:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Science
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Business Law, School Store Operations

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Students and faculty discuss mid-year stress