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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974

Horizon

Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974

Horizon

Sidwell Must Change the Current Exam Schedule

Sidwell+Must+Change+the+Current+Exam+Schedule
Anya Vedantambe ’24

Every year, as the magic of the holiday season fades, students turn their attention to their upcoming midterm exams. For many Sidwell students, the two weeks following the return to school from winter break are some of the most important weeks of the academic year as the culmination of a semester’s worth of hard work and dedication arrives with little fanfare and a great deal of stress. To properly ensure students enjoy a restful and stress-free winter break free from anxiety about approaching midterms, the exam period must be moved to before the holiday season.

Despite administrators and teachers’ insistence that students do not need to study over the break, out of 165 Upper Schoolers polled in a student survey, 64.2% reported that they had used portions of their winter break to study for their midterm exams. Therefore, scheduling midterm exams during the weeks immediately after break simply prolongs academic anxiety and diminishes students’ abilities to reset before returning to school.

Considering students are expected to be mentally and academically prepared to instantly dive into their classes’ second-semester content the week following the last exam, a semester structure placing exams before winter break would enable students to return to campus rested and ready to begin the second semester. This sentiment is shared among students, as 60.6% of students polled reported that they would prefer to take exams before the break.

The common logic used by teachers and administrators to support placing the exam period after break relies on the uneven lengths of the two semesters. Administrators argue that if they administer exams before winter break, the second semester would become dramatically longer than the first. However, the difference between the length of the two semesters would only be marginable, and administrators could account for this by starting winter break later. Additionally, there is a strong desire among students for any type of change to the midterm schedule, with 62.4% supporting alternative options to the current exam period and 39.4% reporting negative feelings about the current timeline.

Therefore, administrators should explore the possibility of moving the exam schedule to before winter break. However, if the student body truly feels strongly about altering the current exam schedule and persuading faculty to discuss a shift in timeline, students must begin to advocate for themselves.

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About the Contributor
Anya Vedantambe ’24, Photo Editor
Anya Vedantambe is currently a Photo Editor for Horizon, a position she held in both the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years. Prior to this, she served as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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