Story by Trey Martin and Destiny White, photo by Trey Martin
With the holiday season approaching, gifts, travel, and time off of school preoccupy the minds of students, but midterm exams stand in between students and winter break.
“[I don’t feel ready for exams] because I don’t feel like we’ve had enough review days you know so i’m really forgetting stuff that we learned along time ago,” sophomore Kayla Poinsette said.
The apprehension that exam week brings is not uncommon among high school students.
“I’m pretty nervous about them honestly, because it’s kind of crucial for my GPA. Junior year is a pretty stressful year,” junior Char Macintosh said.
Not only do exams assess a student’s ability to retain knowledge, they also are reflective of how well a teacher leads a class. Teachers use the weeks before to structure their tests.
“I think it’s different for different content areas. There’s at least some multiple choice component in almost every case, and me personally as a teacher, I don’t have heavy writing components,” history teacher Mary Dawson said.
As a teacher, Dawson believes paying attention is a student’s key to succeeding during exam week.
“My advice to students is to pay attention to what their teacher says. Teachers want their students to do well. If they give out a study guide, do the study guide. If an instructor doesn’t give any guidance, just review class notes and reading,” Dawson said.
After going through four years of exams, senior Darren Burton has come up with an effective routine to help him study for exam week.
“I prepare for exams by reviewing the study guides that my teacher gives me. Then the day before the exam I look over all my major notes,” Darren said.
Kayla has high expectations for her grades during final exams, which she believes will help her in the long run.
“I want to get at least a passing grade or higher,” Kayla said.
Darren is focused on preparing for his B.C. Calculus exam, which he believes will be his most difficult due to it being spread out over two full class periods. This exam has him worried about his final grade.
“Most midterms drop my grades because my grades in the class are always higher than the grades I get on the exam,” Darren said.
While exams are a substantial portion of a class’s final grade, the grade is reflective of a student’s performance throughout the semester in the class. Preparation is key to succeeding on a midterm exam.
“Generally speaking, kids who have A’s will get an A on the midterm. If the midterm changes a grade, it will be one letter up or down,” Dawson said. “It’s not crazy uncommon get but it’s rare. In a class like US history where there’s an EOC, there is normally a correlation between those two grades.”