Midterm Exams: Dreaded by Students, Necessary for Long-term Success


These unused scantrons in the office at McQuaid Jesuit are usually used for Midterm Exams. Because COVID-19 cases are on the rise, Midterm Exams are cancelled and testing materials like these won’t be used until further notice.

In early December, McQuaid Jesuit High School, has canceled Midterm Exams for the 2020 Fall Semester, due to the spread of COVID-19 and concerns surrounding academic integrity. Many students believe that exams only bring stress into their lives. Since McQuaid is a college preparatory school, these tests prepare students for future college examinations. Without these high stakes exams, students will face less stress and miss the necessary preparation for future college assessments and courses.

The amount of work, reading, and studying an average McQuaid student endures mirrors an average college student’s academic work. According to Vicki Nelson of College Parent Central, the average college student spends around 10-13 hours per week studying and completing school work. Comparing this to the average Junior and Senior at McQuaid, students have approximately 10 hours of school work per week.

Mr. Hershel, McQuaid Jesuit’s Dean of Academics, believes that Midterm exams play a critical role in preparing students for college exams.

“I do think they will help students prepare for college-level exams. Yeah, I understand that exams can be stressful, but not all stress is bad … Getting the opportunity to prepare for a lengthier and a high stakes exam … students will see those types of exams at college so that preparation is important,” Hershel said.

Administering high stakes exams combined with heavy workloads is central to McQuaid’s college preparatory curriculum. Without exams in place, upperclassmen especially miss out on some of the benefits. Underclassmen benefit from Midterms because it allows them to practice for future high stakes challenges, such as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP Exams.

McQuaid students have at least twice the work that other students are expected to accomplish. Students at public high schools have 4-5 hours of work per week, compared to McQuaid’s 10 hours a week. Since McQuaid is a college preparatory school, this heavy workload prepares students for college-level work, along with the stress of high stake exams.

McQuaid has not had exams for two semesters. Both the 2020 Spring Semester Final Exams and the 2020 Fall Semester Midterm Exams were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the lack of exams, students will begin to expect no exams for future years. This mindset will hurt McQuaid students in the future. The absence of exams for two semesters straight damages the preparation and practice that students need to succeed.

Although they are despised by students, exams are dreadful necessities.