Midterms Return After Two-Year Hiatus

Students perform better than expected in hindsight.


William Rappold '24

Students studied hard for midterm exams for the first time since 2020.

On Jan. 18 – 21, McQuaid Jesuit students took midterm exams for the first time in two years. Since the start of 2020, students have missed a year’s worth of midterm exams and two years worth of final exams.  This means that nearly half the student body had never taken a semester exam at McQuaid. 

For example, the Class of 2022 had not faced an exam like this since their sophomore year midterms in early 2020. When finals approach this year, it will be the first time the exams have been faced since June of 2019.

Student morale was at an all-time low approaching midterm exam week, as students expected to be unprepared after the COVID-19 hiatus. 

Exam week schedule

A 50-person survey was conducted throughout the school among Knights of many grade levels. However, this survey of students’ perceptions regarding midterm exam performance revealed a different trend than expected.


    Midterms went Well/Great (100%-85%): 13/50 (26% of students)


    Midterms went Fine/Ok (84%-75%average): 26/50 (52% of students)


    Midterms went Poorly (74% and below): 11/50 (22% of students)


Based on the reactions to midterms returning, most students thought they would have finished terribly. In reality, most students finished in a solid range of grades that they should be proud of and may have overestimated the difficulty in the return of exams.

Students facing high school midterms for the first time, including Leonardo Furgiuele ‘25, saw the tests as much more difficult than before. This year was the first time that current sophomores and freshmen took high school exams.

“I didn’t really like it that much,” said Fergiuele. “It’s all right, but it’s just going to take some time to get used to again; some were harder than others. It felt harder than before, and some of the questions were challenging. But that’s part of the class.”

This feeling of difficulty could have been amplified by the gap between past exams. A seasoned examinee from the upper classes, Andrew O’Neill ‘23, voiced his thoughts on the tests.

“I think some of the younger grades may exaggerate the difficulty or length of the tests in their minds,” said O’Neill. “It’s really just something you have to get used to with time. The exams were a little weird to take after the gap, but I think the school as a whole probably did well.”

The return of exams led students to a surprise. They finished their exams better than they anticipated. A lack of self confidence may have blinded students to how well they could really perform on the tests. Finals will come too soon in June, and students should believe in themselves enough to score even better than they did on midterms.