Surviving Semester Exams


Mary Ellen Ritter

A stack of Scantrons sit ready to send fearful students to their doom on exam day.

The thought of taking exams can create unwelcomed levels of fear or stress. What could be more daunting than trying to learn nine weeks worth of information in a short amount of time? Before immediately answering ‘nothing,’ know that final exams do not always live up to their terrible reputation. With the wide range in assessments and the utilization of study skills, finishing the second term might not need to be as trying as many depict it to be.

At Brookfield Central, semester evaluations are extremely diverse, depending on the teacher and his or her philosophy. Some teachers, like Mrs. Ordinans, are in favor of cumulative final assessments.

“It is beneficial for students to reflect back on the concepts studied in the term and ‘celebrate’ all that has been learned, “Mrs. Ordinans said. “I think it is an opportunity to observe how all the concepts tie together. It is an exercise in self-discipline and time management that is important to provide to students.”

Others, including Mr. Keir, simply do not require a final exam. He acknowledges that high school evaluations are helpful preparation for taking several college exams in a single day.

“I’d like to see the whole ‘exam days’ discussion go away and just have the last day of a term be the last day of a term.”

Additionally, there are teachers, such as Mr. Lorier, who assign students projects, in place of standardized tests. Despite the wide variety of how students are evaluated at the semester’s end, earning a high grade is very achievable, provided they take advantage of the best study skills.

There are many good habits to utilize when coping with the anxieties of exam week. Contrary to what many do, getting into the routine of studying earlier is a great way to prepare for the hardest exams.

“Students should study well in advance of the exam and not wait until the night before,” Mrs. Ordinans said.

Making this a custom will likely relieve stress and allot time for seeking extra help. Staying organized is also important when getting ready for the semester to end. Dividing content into a few sections to reread, review, and master, is a perfect way to grasp the material by exam day. In addition, prioritizing is another great way to get ready for the despised two days.

Emma Kumer (’16) said, “Sometimes, you need to spend 90% of time on one class that challenges you and 10% on another class. Don’t feel bad about not giving enough time to something when you need to focus on a more important task.”

No matter how challenging the exam may be, acing the test is definitely possible when utilizing valued study habits.

Surviving semester exams should be less taxing when taking advantage of trusted reviewing skills, especially considering some teachers do not even give traditional tests. When worrying about the dreadful two days, simply note, according to Kumer, “Semester exams are not nearly as bad as AP tests, so if you’re ever really stressed out, just remember you’ll have to do all of this again in May… just worse.”