Post-vacation exams ruin winter break
February 19, 2013
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While every Albemarle student is relieved to be done with midterms, there wasn’t much time to enjoy freedom at the end of exams week. The way midterms are currently scheduled creates unnecessary stress over winter break, a problem that could easily be solved by switching midterms to right before vacation.
If exams were held directly before winter break, the two long wonderful weeks of vacation would become even more stress-free: no homework, no studying, nothing hanging over anyone’s head. The first day back would be a fresh start, rather than a painful reminder that you didn’t study enough (or at all) during the days of freedom/midterm limbo.
Arranging midterms this way would be difficult to coordinate with semester classes, but semester-long classes take their midterms in October anyway. Finals could be administered in the same way: fit into a regular class period in January, separately from midterms before break, without disrupting the school’s normal schedule at all.
Before vacation, when everyone’s having a little trouble paying attention, we often enjoy movies or other fun things during class. If we had midterms before break, a week of exams would force everyone to focus, cut down on the amount of unimportant activities that go on, and really make the best use out of our time.
This year in particular, having exams during the last week before Christmas break would have been a welcome distraction from the rumors of a disturbance around AHS. Studying students would have thought less about the rumors and more about getting satisfactory scores on their midterms.
Returning to a fresh semester would allow the days on both sides of break to be more productive, since after break there would be little need to review or recap half of a chapter of material. Instead, it would be a clean slate.
Additionally, teachers would have more time to grade exams if they were directly before the holidays, rather than cramming it all into a few days. This year we got lucky with several winter weather days, but it’s unlikely that this forecast will repeat itself next year.
In short, it would be beneficial to hold exams before winter break. However, if midterms before break would mean cutting vacation short, we’ll somehow manage to cram forgotten information back into our heads come January and (maybe) study over the holidays, at least appreciating the fact that we get a nice long two week vacation.