Students and Staff Take On In-Person Midterms

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Jeswin Thomas

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Jeswin Thomas

The halfway point of the semester has already arrived at the University.  Taking midterms back in the traditional classroom setting has been the main goal that both students and staff have been reacclimating to these past few weeks. Last year all major exams, such as midterms and finals, were administered online due to the pandemic. Taking these exams online give students the benefits of flexibility. While some may or may not have enjoyed taking midterms online last year, the adjustment of being back in the classroom has been an active discussion around the University.

Hemze Khatib, a sophomore sports management major, said “you can focus more in-person than the online exams. You can engage with the professors and understand what they are saying instead of constantly emailing them for clarity.” 

On the other hand, not every student had the same reaction with the return of the in-person classroom. Sameera Khan, a freshman journalism major, stated “I felt very anxious since I was out of school for a year, and didn’t know what to expect. Although I’ve never done online midterms before, I feel as if the professors made the in-person midterms easier because of the pandemic.”

Transitioning back to in-person midterms has affected not only exam formats, but also students’ study methods and preparations for these exams. Students weren’t the only ones who were tasked with this complex transition, but the University staff also faced some difficulties in readjusting to this new normal. Over the course of the pandemic, professors were tasked with moving their curriculum and midterm exams online for students. 

Professor Aaishatu Glover, who teaches economics at the University told The Torch, “I think it’s good, especially with this particular course. Having in-person classes contributes to more group projects and student engagement.” When asked about whether or not in-person midterms affected her student’s grades, she continued stating “Absolutely! There was a visible difference as a result of the in-person midterms since it definitely helped contribute to the uptick of grades.”

Preparing for midterm exams can be difficult, especially with the recent health effects that the current state of the world is having on education as explained by the Human Rights Watch (HRW).  Every student’s coping mechanisms for dealing with  midterms can vary. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the misuse of Adderall as a study drug, officially prescribed for ADHD, is higher among college students at 11.1% than seen in non-college students at 8.1% in 2018. 

St. John’s offers resources such as the University Learning Commons (ULC) to assist students with free tutoring and the Counseling and Consultation Services that cater to mental health needs. Adjusting to in-person midterms has been a task that both students and staff had to take on this semester. This year’s e midterm examinations presented benefits and pitfalls as observed by both staff and students. The observations and lessons learned can be used as a model example for all the future examinations that will take place in the University.