The end of the first semester is approaching, but before students are in the clear, they have one last hurdle to get over: midterms. This year’s midterms will be after winter break, and students and staff shared their advice on how to face the challenge.
“I miss being able to get them over with before break,” junior Mimi Davies said. “Now I have to stress about them while I should be relaxing and spending time with my family.”
While students are being clear on how they feel about midterm dates, teachers and staff are still on the fence about it.
“I don’t personally feel it’s the best approach; however, due to the district’s decision, we have to make it work,” AICE Thinking Skills teacher Chad Furman said.
Some teachers are uneasy about this decision but understand that that’s the way it is this year and there is not much to do about it. Others, on the other hand, see it as both a positive and a negative situation.
“There are pros and cons to each, having midterms prior to break certainly means that material is more retrievable from working memory versus after break,” AP and Honors Chemistry teacher Mario Menchaca said. “Studying over break leads to longer retention of concepts learned.”
Either way, there will be benefits and drawbacks. One such drawback is that having midterms after break leaves the question of whether or not one week is a sufficient amount of time to review all the material taught so far.
“I feel as if there isn’t enough time to study because teachers are still going over content,” Davies said.
Some students fear that if there is new content brought in the week they come back, it will throw a wrench into the works. However, they are relying on teachers’ responsibility to prepare them the best they can.
“One week is definitely long enough. Teachers teach to mastery,” Menchaca said. “That is to say, the expectation is that the student reaches mastery as the concept is learned.”
Over the school year, teachers feel that students should understand and grasp the concept of most of the material taught thus far. Yet they understand that students are still learning, so they share their best study tips to overcome the hurdle of midterms being after winter break.
“There are a plethora of resources for studying chemistry,” Menchaca said. “For my students, they will be reviewing their interactive notebooks as the primary source. My students will also receive a study guide that they will have to fill out to include the notebook page where they found the information.”
For most classes, teachers highly recommend studying and reviewing their notebooks. The majority of teachers will also hand out study guides for students to use. Even if that’s not enough review for students, they know many external sources that could help. Students just need to ask their teachers for some of these sources.
“Take notes and pay attention!” Davies said. “If you have questions, ask them.”