Exam week cranks up stress levels
Jared Lang | Highlands TodayFew things are more intimidating in a teenager's life than exam week. The past five months have been full of hard work and this week, it's time to find out if all my dedication has paid off. Midterm exams are today, tomorrow and Friday, and will make or break my grades.
Published: January 16, 2013
Published: January 16, 2013
While most students try to create some sort of routine throughout the school year, exam week throws all of that out the window. Instead of going out with friends or staying up late watching TV, students have been studying since last Friday. During lunchtime, the library is full of study groups and the halls look much the same before and after school. Everyone knows that paying attention in class is important, but cramming the week before big tests is inevitable.
Exams are nerve-wracking for even the most prepared students. In each class, no matter the subject, one 90-minute test counts for one-fifth of your semester grade. This test not only covers everything learned the entire semester but also is usually harder than the normal tests in the class, as teachers tend to include more written responses than multiple choices. Students are expected to remember five months' worth of learning, sometimes with the help of a study guide but often with only their own notes from class. They then have 90 minutes to show a complete understanding of the subject matter in whatever format the teacher chooses. Also, they must do this for seven classes.
My midterm schedule is much harder than in past years. Today, I take exams in chemistry II, theory of knowledge, and English III. Tomorrow, I have American history and pre-calculus. Friday, it's Spanish IV and Biology II. Even though these classes have kept me busy all year, this week has been the most stressful as each subject requires hours of studying and I, unfortunately, still require hours of sleep. There aren't enough hours in the day.
Two of my exams began earlier this week. First, for theory of knowledge, I was given the weekend to prepare a presentation that would count as my exam. My chosen topic was the broad question "How do perspective and culture justify ethical paradigms?" From there, the presentation applied this question to specific issues such as slavery and gay rights, analyzing historical trends in the public opinion of each.
In English, my exam began Monday as it consisted of three essays: one for each book read during the semester. The first essay written was an analysis on the use of victimization by Gabriel García Marquez in his novel "Chronicle of a Death Foretold." The next two will be written today and are about the books "Istanbul" by Orhan Pamuk and "The Nonexistent Knight" by Italo Calvino.
For most of my life, FCAT took the cake as my biggest fear in school. It was so hyped up by teachers and added so much pressure to my studies in elementary and middle school that it gained a reputation among my circle of friends as "the F word." Now, the new "F word" is finals.
These tests count for one-fifth of our semester grades and may determine the difference between passing and failing a class. One thing we take solace in is that with our grades from the first and second quarter, it is easy to calculate what grade is necessary on the exam to pass the class.
For most, however, hours are spent studying because just passing isn't good enough.