Are midterms actually useful?

The purpose of midterms is to evaluate where students are at the halfway mark through the course. I can understand how professors think midterms are a reasonable way to judge the performance of the students and ensure that they are learning properly, but, midterms have no real benefit to students and only add more stress to an already stressful lifestyle for college students. As a student who works two —sometimes three—jobs on top of six classes and numerous meetings for my Razor’s Edge program, I hardly find time to do my homework, let alone study. The mental strain of having to study on top of all of the aforementioned activities completely burns me out, which I believe only leads to worse performance on my exams. 


Since spring break  is after midterms, in the back of my mind during every exam I was taking, I was always thinking to myself, “Just push through. You’re going to Disney in less than a week. Keep going and don’t give up.” While this is a positive mentality to have, you’re focused on what’s going on in the future instead of what is right in front of your face: a midterm that you feel like you have to do well on if you want to have any chance of passing the class. Having a break post-exam week is great and gives students a chance to recenter themselves and get back to the right mental state, but it’s also a distraction that I have seen sidetrack my thought process when I am studying.


I get confused as to how midterms are used as a means of evaluation at the halfway point in the semester. The grades are right there. If a student is already doing poorly, shouldn’t that be indicative that they need more help instead of piling on even more? It’s never made sense to me how professors who see a student struggling still expect them to do well on the exam. Society today has brainwashed people into thinking they are unintelligent if they cannot achieve a certain grade; there are multiple forms of intelligence and an exam where half of the answers can be found online is not a good way to judge one’s success in college. Midterms thrust students into a bad mental state and should not be considered useful in any way, shape or form.

Photo: M. Curzer

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