Moving Towards Midterms

Kamya Sanjay, Staff Writer

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Students have started to study for final exams.

Asha Iyer
Students have started to study for final exams.

“All I can say is, ‘Damn the exam!’” Originally written by Queen Elizabeth II in a letter to her friend after receiving examination results, this line was published by British writer and commentator William Shawcross in one of his famous biographies.

 It is safe to say that January is a month in which firm academic resolutions are made, and oftentimes students begin to think like the Queen as they approach one of the biggest beasts of the year: midterm exams. Seniors in the class of 2016 are seasoned veterans of midterms, whereas freshmen are bracing themselves for the unknown; however, both groups are more than willing to share their trials, tribulations, and tricks as they begin to prepare.

Exams in general are not new to the freshman class. Maizah Rashid (’19) claims that she never encountered pressure regarding exams in middle school. “I just made sure to study for them,” she said. On the other hand, Reona Pereira (’19) explains that exam season proved to be both stressful and “hectic” in her previous years of experience, when teachers often scrambled to replace intellectual gaps with knowledge and cram curriculum objectives before tests were administered. Erin Turbeville (’16) says that her midterm experiences “haven’t been too bad overall,” although she struggled at first during her freshman year.

Of course, seniors like Turbeville are more than willing to offer advice to Maggie Walker’s assessment amateurs. Josie Ladle (’16) encourages students to maintain a positive and laid back attitude. “Study, but don’t sweat it too much. It’s just midterms. It’s nothing extreme,” Ladle said. Turbeville echoes the sentiment and urges underclassmen to study hard, but not too hard, and to relax on the day of the exams, as she believes it will provide a better overall experience.

Reshini Premaratne (’16) speaks to freshman in particular. “I remember how worried I was about midterms my freshman year because I had never taken a cumulative test that was of that magnitude,” she said, “My best advice to freshman, though, is to trust your own abilities. Your teachers have really prepared you for your midterms — perhaps even more than you can tell.”

Confidence is key, it seems, when it comes to dealing with midterms. On the other hand, seniors and freshmen alike have a lot to say about the timing of exam administration this year, and opinions seem to go both ways. Pereira has nothing but praise for the exam period this year, saying that she likes that it allows for a period of adjustment after winter break. She also looks forward to taking two exams a day, with a lunch period in between. “Then you don’t have

to worry about your other classes that day, so your only focus is the test and then you get to go home an hour early and study.” Pereira says. Taha Shaikh (’19) agrees, but for a different reason. “The midterms this year have been conveniently placed near snow dates, so that’s excellent timing,” he said.

Premaratne, a senior member of Maggie Walker’s We The People team, vehemently disagrees. She says that the schedule is stressful for her, considering the state competition for We The People falls on January 29th, which happens to be the day of 5th and 7th period exams. According to Premaratne, the fact that these two dates coincide contributes to her overall stress factor during the exam weeks. Rashid concurs. “I come from a county where I took exams before winter break and to be completely honest I wish it was like that at Maggie Walker. There would be a lot less stress during break.”

Is there a way to appease both sides? Ladle has an idea. “It would be nice to able to opt out of exams based on teacher approval,” she explains. For example, if a student had a high class average and the teacher believed that the student did not need to be tested on content any further, they would not be required to take an arbitrary exam. Premaratne wants to take it a step further. “I would really appreciate it if students, especially upperclassmen, could create their own exam schedule,” she says. “By creating individualized exam schedules and having teachers proctor them, similar to the testing lab, it would not only allow students to craft a schedule that fits their strengths and weaknesses, but it could also teach students the skill of being responsible with the planning of their classes.”

Reactions to midterm exams are mixed. For some, the timing of administration is perfect. For others, it merely contributes to more stress. Some plan to study as hard as possible to ace their tests, whereas others intend to maintain a calm disposition throughout. All students, however,  are determined to fulfill their academic goals, and with proper preparation and a positive attitude, they are bound to achieve. Best of luck on midterms!


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