This upcoming week is dedicated to midterm exams at my high school (I’m a senior), and to be honest I’m actually really dreading it. There’s so much studying that I have to get done in the next couple days and so much pressure to get the best grades possible that I don’t even know where to begin. So, I thought I would share with you all five reasons why midterm exams drive me crazy.
1. Studying… studying… yup, still studying!
At my school midterms always seem to be after a long weekend. This year we have Monday and Tuesday off (Monday because it’s Civil Rights Day, Tuesday because it’s a teacher workshop day), which means that I get to spend four fabulous days studying and reviewing and trying to remember everything that I’ve learned since September. Many teachers use the long weekend as an excuse to not give us a lot of prep time beforehand, since we’re supposed to be able to study so much while we don’t have school. Don’t they realize that studying for 96 hours straight will make us lose our marbles? Or do they just not care? THAT, Shakespeare, is the actual question.
2. Am I learning, or just memorizing?
I feel as though whenever I study for huge exams I’m really just trying to memorize as much as I possibly can before the bell rings and I have to spit it all back out onto the paper. I think this is a flaw with the education system in general, but it really comes into play for me during exam season. No matter how hard I try to really learn everything I can guarantee you that a portion of it is going to stroll right out of my brain as soon as the bell rings and the test is over. My problem with this is that if it’s just about memorization, then am I being graded on how good my memory is or how much I actually understand? Hopefully the latter, but the former is too often true.
3. Well, there goes my grade.
My grades are really important to me. As much as I try to tell myself that we are all more than the numbers next to our names, grades really are important where college and university are concerned. At my school midterm exams are weighted so that you have to get at least the grade you have in the class on the test in order to maintain the same grade. For example, if I have a 95% overall in my government class prior to the exam, then I need to get a 95% on the exam itself just so my grade in the class stays the same. But I am a believer that education is (or should be, anyways) about more than numbers and percentages, and therefore it drives me crazy that these cumulative tests are so important.
4. ALL THE STRESS.
If you’ve ever been a student ever, you know what I mean. Exams are terrible, stressful times- and the worst part? Even though all you want to do when you get home is eat ice cream and watch The Office on Netflix (my current obsession- Jim and Pam forever!!) you have to study all over again for the exams you have the next day. And there’s no clear end to the studying, either. There’s nothing telling you, “Congratulations! You’ve reached your studying quota for the night! Time to go to bed!” It’s a vicious cycle, and I’ll be lucky if I can even think straight by the time this week is done.
5. That one little factoid that you totally remember reading about but just can’t put your finger on the tiny detail that would help you answer the question on your exam.
Let’s face it- no matter how hard you study, there’s always going to be that one bit of information that slips your mind. It’s absolutely annoying, incredibly irritating, forever frustrating….. *insert endless alliteration here*.
I apologize that this post has basically been one giant rant, but I needed to get these frustrations off my chest in order to ward off impending insanity. In all seriousness, I do acknowledge the merit and importance that exams have- they allow us to keep standardized checks on education within a school, they prepare us for future exams, they reinforce valuable material, etc. Mostly, I’m just angry that instead of reading Withering Heights and catching up on Doctor Who I now have to spend four days burning the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus into my mind.
Anyways, how do you all feel about midterms or exams in general? How are college exams different from ones in high school? Have any stories about exams you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments section below!