Give Me Back My Two Days Of Midterms!


Caroline McHugh

Junior Zoe Cartwright hard at work before Latin’s midterm exams.

Exams: the most “magical” time of the year, said no one ever, especially not burnt-out, stressed Latin Upper School students.

While in previous years, midterms and finals week at Latin were a five-day ordeal, the December 2023 midterms were squeezed into a tight three-day window. What became of the two missing days, you ask? No, it was not a generous gift of an extended winter break or much-needed study days. Instead, Latin students proceeded with classes as usual until the eve of midterms.

Holding regular classes right before exams was counterproductive and intensified midterm stress. Cramming in two last days of material that students will immediately forget over winter break was unnecessary. What students needed was more time to review. Sure, there was the weekend, but I spent it juggling exam preparation, doing routine homework, and studying for a pre-midterm biology assessment.

Sophomore Avery Hellweg shared my nostalgia for the old format. “It was nice to have at least a day to prepare for each final,” she said, reminiscing about her freshman year. Avery also shared a dislike for the quick turnaround from classes to exams. “We have a dead end, switching 24 hours from school to finals.” The switch was actually shorter than 24 hours. Avery was being generous. All of my midterms were scheduled for Wednesday—Every. Single. Exam. Needless to say, my Wednesday was not pleasant.

The condensed finals schedule also made it exceedingly difficult to schedule my accommodations. I have time-and-a-half on quizzes and tests, a fairly common arrangement at Latin. However, I could not set up extended time for my computer science exam conveniently, since there were no time slots that allowed me to start and finish the test—worth 20% of my final grade—in one sitting. Instead, I had to leave my train of thought behind and resume testing on Thursday, which was super inconvenient.

Then there was the issue of biology class. Instead of an exam, we got the option to reassess. Considering biology is currently my lowest grade, reassessments are a necessity. Okay, this is a no-brainer, Caroline, you might be thinking. Take that reassessment! Alas, I wish it was that simple. As you might recall, All. Of. My. Exams. Were. On. The. Same. Day. With all the studying I had to do, there was no way I could prepare as well as I needed to for a Wednesday reassessment.

Luckily, my teacher was nice enough to allow me to take the reassessment on Thursday (shoutout to Mr. Wisnieski). But that does not change the fact that the way my schedule was set up was crazy ridiculous.

Junior Juliette Katz also voiced her issues with the troublesome fake midterms week. “As someone who’s taking two math classes, and a lot of my friends are either in two maths or two sciences, we have a ton of tests,” she said. “I have six tests in the span of three days.”

“It’s really overwhelming to me, because I’ve never had to study so much in my life,” Juliette said. “Honestly, It’s been really draining and hard for me to manage. I haven’t been able to sleep, because I’ve been studying so much.”

Should the school be encouraging these unhealthy behaviors?

“Can we finally final it up?” junior Jeremiah Wheatley asked.

I could not have said it better myself.

Please, we need the five-day finals week back. I don’t want to even think about having to do this again in May.