Administrators: We need exams before break!
By CHRISTIAN WESTPHAL ’21
On Monday, November 26th, I woke up and felt proud of myself. It was the day before my return to Milton from Thanksgiving break, and I hadn’t touched any school work in the past week. Frankly, breaks should be treated in this manner: no one should be worrying about school and upcoming assignments or tests. Break serves as a time for a student to lounge around like a couch potato, and just enjoy time with friends and family. However, Milton, like many other private schools, decides to end their second semester with exams after our long, three week December break. This schedule needs to change because having exams before December break would greatly improve the well-being of students on campus.
On December 28th, only a few weeks ago, I woke up and felt worried. I had not looked at any school work for past two weeks, and the idea of exams was beginning to pop up more frequently in my mind. So I pulled out my binders and began reviewing, determined to prevent any loss of knowledge. In fact, I would estimate that the majority of the student body at one point pulled out some school materials. And why is that? Because the thought of not touching any school work for three weeks right before exams is unbearable: failure seems inevitable when your brain feels like mush.
Then there’s the fact that Milton prides itself on preparing you as best as possible for college. Don’t get me wrong—it does. But wouldn’t students be more prepared if they grew familiar with the regular schedules of colleges? In college, exams and final semester projects are all due before winter break. This system allows the students to go home, spend time with family, and feel relieved of stress. If this argument doesn’t make sense, then just consider the logical question: why have exams after a vacation!? They puts every student at a disadvantage, since having no school for three weeks makes forgetting material incredibly easy (and no, I’m not complaining about having a long break!).
Some may argue that moving exams to before December break will transfer the stress to Thanksgiving break. However, our brains retain much more information after only a week of break, compared to three. In addition, the timing would be perfect if exams were taken in the week before December break. Beginning the day we come back, we would review for a week and a half, followed by the 4 day week in which we would take the exams.
Also, in December, it is less likely for there to be snow days than in late January. And of course, everyone would be extremely happy during the Holiday assembly because they would know that the hardest part of the year was already over. Knowing that a relaxing break, WITHOUT the pressure of impending exams, lies in the near future, each student would exit the ACC with a smile on their face.