If you ask high school students what their least favorite part about high school is, 90% of the student body can agree that midterms/finals are the biggest stress factor to students. Midterms at Darien High School begin Thursday, Jan. 17, and all the stress they bring with them is right around the corner.
Midterms are stressful for many reasons. Firstly, they cause students to study for hours on end. The studying usually starts the weekend before they start. As a result, the Darien library turns into a giant student study facility for the roughly two weeks that the midterms take place.
The second stress factor is the way they are organized. Because of Hurricane Sandy, the exams start on a Thursday instead of the planned Monday. There are two exams a day, one at 8 a.m. and one at 10:30 a.m.
Here’s how the schedule looks for this year:
• Thursday, Jan. 17 — periods 1 and 2
• Friday, Jan. 18 — periods 3 and 4
• Monday, Jan. 21 — no school (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
• Tuesday, Jan. 22 — periods 5 and 6
• Wednesday, Jan. 23 — periods 7 and 8
• Thursday, Jan. 24 — Exam make-up day
The last major stress factor of these exams is the big affect on the semester grade. At Darien High School, the grade breakdown for each semester is: 40% quarter one, 40% quarter two, and 20% midterm. This is a relatively small percentage compared to the past, when the midterm was worth 33% of the semester grade. Even still, 20% does cause some students to fret.
The great thing about our learning community is that they are very cooperative when the students need them. Both the town as well as the school has made special accommodations for these exams. For example, the Darien library has extended their hours during exam days so students can have a quiet place to meet up with friends and have study groups, or just study alone for extended time.
Also, teachers have been very kind to students around this time by not giving out much homework in these last few weeks, besides to study of course. Teachers have also been staying later after school and coming in earlier before school so students can get extra help at any time of the day.
When it comes to me, I agree with most students that midterms are very stressful and very challenging. My advice to fellow students is to spend your time well and try your best not to wait until last minute to study for your exams.
My second little bit of advice to fellow students is to use every resource you can get. For example, if you have chemistry periods 1 or 2, reach out to anyone you know that is great at chemistry. Some people who can help you out could be your friends, an older sibling, or even a librarian at the Darien Library.
While none of these sources may be great at chemistry, they can lead you in the right direction to somebody who does know a lot about chemistry or a good informational book on chemistry. In any case, use every resource you have to help you out, because most people are willing to help if you just ask.
My third little bit of advice for you is to not get stressed out about these exams. Stressing yourself out will just make you nervous and it could take away from some quality study time. If you are ever feeling stressed out and you have been studying for hours, take a fifteen-minute break in between and then get right back into it.
Midterms are very hard to prepare for, and sometimes even harder to take them. The most important thing to remember when dealing with midterms is to realize that they are just a bunch of tests. Whether you pass them or fail them, as long as you gave 100% of your effort, it doesn’t matter. Millions of kids have taken midterms before and millions more will take them after you.
Brendan Ferguson is a sophomore at Darien High School and has written for the Neirad, the high school’s newspaper.