Put to the test: different perspectives on what goes into preparing for midterms


By Trey Phillips, Staff Reporter

Students, parents and teachers alike feel the crunch at midterms.

At Conestoga, the end of January marks the coming of midterms, the annual set of exams that tests students on all of the material from the past semester. Counting for 10 percent of the overall grade, these tests are important and often prove to be stressful for students. With the need to both complete increased review homework and to learn new material, students face a heavy workload during this month.

“Midterms are obviously a very important turning point in the year,” junior Nicholas Sonn said. “I don’t really have a problem with the homework, because that’s kind of prep for midterms. But teachers who are still teaching new content for a midterm that’s in less than a week, that’s kind of ridiculous.”

Sports and extracurriculars additionally contribute to the stress, with practices and meets often stretching all the way through the week of midterms.

Leslie Shutack, a parent at Conestoga, understands how extracurriculars and midterms have a tendency to not mix well.

“I think for all ‘Stoga students, time management is a key factor in being able to do well in school.  Especially as many students participate in multiple extra-curricular activities, they have to be careful,” Shutack said.

These concerns are particularly relevant to the basketball and swim teams, as practices and meets are scheduled for the week leading up to and on the day of the history and english midterms.

According to government teacher Jonathan Goodman, teachers collaborate to work out a game plan for the weeks leading up to midterms in order to ease some of the complications that may arise.

“As teachers, we collaborate both in wrapping up the units,” Goodman said. “And we collaborate on the exam itself. We try to remain consistent so if a student were to change teachers, for example, for whatever reason they will not be behind or ahead or in any sort of advantage or disadvantage.”

Goodman explains that it’s typically a collaboration between teachers that teach the same course and level. However, inter-department communication is not as heavily stressed as administration establishes the two school days before midterms as reading days, during which teachers may not teach any new material that will not be tested on the midterms. Teachers often use these reading days to help students review for the exams.

Students like Sonn suggest using traditional study tools, such as Quizlet and looking through past notes, to prepare for the midterms.

“I use Quizlet, I use review packets for math specifically, for history I like to draw timelines because that helps me get it all into my brain,” Sonn said. “Go through Powerpoints and stuff and cheat sheets.”

Trey Phillips can be reached at [email protected]