Abolish Midterms and Finals


Maya Zohar, Staff Writer

Every year schools give their students end of semester exams such as midterms and finals. They do this to determine how much kids learned throughout the semester. However, due to COVID-19, palm beach county decided not to test this year, and students are beaming with joy. Studying for midterms and finals is a burden that keeps many up at night. Going back to old notes and remembering the small details taught at the beginning of the year is more complicated than it seems. Not to mention, the pressures of knowing that all their hard work and well-deserved grades lie in the hands of a single exam can drive anyone insane. 


In other words, end of semester exams are cruel, unfair, and should be annulled. As students, there is not much that we can do besides voice our opinions and hope to be heard. Amanda Barnett, a senior who has experienced high school highs and lows, wishes to do just that. She explains that when she was in Precalculus, she worked hard to get an A in both quarters, but like many others, her testing anxiety got the best of her when the midterm came around. Her semester grade ended up being a B even though she has never gotten a B on any test or assignment in the class, and as she exclaimed, “it does not make any sense.” 


Unfortunately, Amanda is not the only one who has had this issue. A majority of high school students have the exact same situation but are unable to do anything about it. Those who have the power to make a change believe that the reason kids are against exams is because they are lazy and simply do not want to study. But the truth is that the midterms and finals give students a load of stress, especially the ones that have to take AP exams, AICE exams, EOC’s, and FSA’s, the end of semester exams for every single class is overwhelming. Apart from being a burden, exams are completely unnecessary. Just as the junior Skye Demordo said “ we take multiple tests and quizzes in a semester and that one test can change our grade, so all the work we’ve done was for nothing. ”Teachers should have enough valuable materials and grades by the end of the semester to determine what a student’s grade should be. By averaging out both quarter grades, the final semester grade would only be based on the hard work and long hours that the student spent and not how much they can remember from week one. 


On the other hand, exams could be to the students’ benefit. Many are taking AICE and AP classes that have an exam at the end of the year. If the midterms and finals are anything like those exams, they could help them prepare for it. It could help them remember things from the first semester so they would be able to recall them quickly when the time comes. Nevertheless, this does not apply to regular and honor classes, and it harms those who are not taking AICE or AP. Furthermore, most AP and AICE teachers give mock exams that force students to review past materials, making the midterms and finals an added burden to their already full schedule. 


If this year has taught us anything, it is that the midterms and finals are unnecessary. It is not an accurate measure of the student’s overall performance in the class. Some are taken early in the morning, and as teenagers, it is hard to focus and do their best when they are half asleep, especially if they were studying late the night before. They are also taken one after the other, and there is barely enough time to gather their thoughts. Therefore, instead of using a single test to determine a student’s grade, it would be wiser to use the quarter grades with all the assignments, tests, and hard work and use those results as semester grades.