Midterms Move To December

Kathryn Pyne '25, Staff Reporter

Archmere’s midterms have traditionally taken place in mid-January. This year, students took exams before Christmas break on December 16th, 19th, and 20th. Considering potential added stress, the change sparks debate, controversy, and the unavoid- able mixed opinions by students and teachers alike as to whether this shift was necessary.

Christmas break is a time to relax and take a break from school for students, serving as an opportunity to separate and recover from the rigorous schedules that students endure. Midterms occurring directly after break may, for some, interfere with a stress-free vacationsowelcomedbymanystudents. Hannah Stewart ‘25 supports midterms taking place before break saying, “I prefer it because I think Christmas break will be more enjoyable compared to last year.”

Although students are not usually assigned substantialhomeworkoverChristmas, theywere highly encouraged to begin studying for impending exams across all classes. On the contrary, exams be- fore Christmas break ensures students will not have to study during their downtime. Isabella Lehr ‘24 states, “I like exams before Christmas. You don’t have to study over break, and I do not want to do that.”

There are clear benefits to midterm exams
taking place before Christmas Break. However, the compressed schedule now leaves students with the predicament of studying for regular tests and quizzes on top of a whole semester-worth of material, while nervously anticipating the “reality” of midterms.

For a majority of students, the two weeks leading up to the exams have been understandably stressful and overwhelming, considering the compressed schedule. Elizabeth Maher ‘24 expresses the pros and cons of the situation: “I think it’s nice to go into break without having to worry about studying for exams, but the weeks leadincg up to break have been filled with tests and are somewhat stressful.”

Other students believe that moving the exams to before break was unnecessary. Before the January 2022 midterm exams, students were able to review material during the first two weeks of January; therefore, they did not study considerably during Christmas break. Alexis Kohl ‘24 admits, “last year, I did not study over Christmas break. I just spent the two weeks in January before exams to study, and I did fine.”

Teachers noticed the academic stress students

faced before break. As teachers finished up units, quizzes and tests piled up, with midterms right around the corner. Dr. Escobar says, “Many of my students are feeling overwhelmed with the number of quizzes and tests to finish a chapter or unit before themidterm. Andthenoncetheyfinishthat,they are now back to studying again for the final.”

Student athletes at this time were especially stressed. Whether it was basketball, wrestling, track, or swimming, athletes participated in practices after school and meets or games on the weekends. With that, athletes balanced studying for multiple tests and working hard at their sports.

In an Archmere survey conducted post-break, 80% of students were “happy with [the] decision to hold midterms prior to Christmas.” Faculty response was more mixed: 35% responded “happy,” while 37% preferred exams after Christmas. 28% were “indifferent.”

Students and teachers undoubtedly experience stress during any testing period. The question is if the impact of the stress transferred to the students’ academic performances on the midterm exams and in the last weeks of the semester.