Too Much Testing, Too Little Time

Too Much Testing, Too Little Time

Colby Abuhoff, Content Editor

With midterm season long gone, final exams are just around the corner. Just as the winter months were times of reviewing for midterms, March, April, and May will be times of studying for finals. One concern over these tests surround the time they are administered. Many students complain about the order these tests are administered in. 

Final exams are given throughout the last week before summer break , while midterms are given the week before winter break. On average, students will have two or three exams a day throughout the week. This can cause students to be confused and stressed due to them being indecisive on what to study and what to prioritize. Studying for multiple tests at a time can have a large consequence on memorization. Due to this, pupils sometimes score low on these exams and are burnt out by the end of the week. Consequently, low exam grades can have a heavy impact on a student’s semester average. At Somerset Academy Canyons, midterms and finals are 20 percent of the semester grade. Low semester grades have the potential to harm an individual’s  high school transcript, which colleges take into consideration. Relying on a single test for 20 percent of a student’s semester grade gives an advantage to people who generally test well and a disadvantage to those who have test anxiety and perform worse on those exams. However, this concept does not only apply to SAC or Palm Beach County schools. It is evident throughout many schools in the United States. 

Midterm Schedule at Somerset Academy Canyons

Test anxiety is a severe issue that occurs in many students throughout their learning careers. Side effects of test anxiety are panic attacks, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, sweating, rapid heart rates, and shortness of breath. “It’s estimated that about 16 percent of college and high school students have high test anxiety and 18 percent have moderately high test anxiety” ( Specifically, students have a heightened sense of worry due to sudden examinations such as pop quizzes. This fixation on when a teacher will decide to pop out a measurement will cause students to lose focus in class and miss out on crucial content. Minimizing the number of tests administered at the end of a semester would help lower test anxiety. Students would have more time to focus on each exam independently, rather than multiple in one day. 

A couple tips to cope with this nervousness are mentioned in the following statement: “Take several slow, deep breaths, and consciously relax your muscles one at a time. Read each question slowly and more than once. Make sure you completely understand what the question is asking. Take the test one question at a time. Focus only on that question.” ( Before the exam, students can ease their test anxiety by having a good-night’s sleep and eating well the morning of the exam. 

  On the other hand, it should be noted that schools have legitimate reasons for implementing a testing schedule such as this, the primary being to prevent students from skipping school on the last week before break. Typically, many students will go on vacation early with the mentality that nothing will be happening on the last week. Having exams during these times makes students attend no matter how they feel. If not, they will receive a failing grade .

Furthermore, midterms show teachers what they need to review before the final test of the year. The topics that students do worse on indicate that they did not understand the concept. The teacher’s then use the results from those exams to add to their curriculum to further their students’ ability to pass the final exam. 

A solution for this issue is to have semester exams spread out throughout the last month before break. A way to fix the problem of skipping is to have an optional mid-weighted assignment due throughout the course of the final week for each class. These assignments would not be too detrimental to the quarter or semester grade, but they are an incentive for students to come during the last week and still boost their  grades.      

*This article was written before school was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, its content is applicable to any year in which students take midterms and final exams.                                                 

Information courtesy of ,,