Most students do not think about exams until a week leading up to exams- or even the night before. However, since St. Andrew’s changing the exam schedule this year sparked some controversy among students much earlier.
In the previous exam schedule, students were to take one exam a day for five consecutive days with two review days at school before. Each exam lasted from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., and afterwards students were free to leave campus or stay to study. Even with this seemingly relaxed schedule, some students still felt stressed during this week.
“Even during normal exams I have stress, but I had a whole day to take some time off academics and then be mentally prepared to study for the next exam,” Sophomore Emma Brown said.
The newly updated exam schedule includes two exams per day: one from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and the other from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The two previous “review” days are now study hall days, along with opportunities for students throughout the day to ask teachers questions or review. St. Andrew’s administration discussed many reasons of why the changes are beneficial.
“Exams spread out over five days means five days of stress,” Upper School Principal Julia Chadwick said. “ I felt like a lot of students procrastinated and only crammed information the day before the exam instead of ahead of time which we know causes more stress.”
Often the final week of the quarter before exams begin, students are bombarded with schoolwork until the last day. This factor is one that might add to the students’ overall pressure and stress of exams the following week.
“The new exam schedule adds a few more teaching days which will hopefully fix this recurring issue,” Chadwick said. “Students will also receive the exam review packets two weekends in advance.”
However, many students opposing the change believe that it does the opposite and actually enhances stress levels.
“I am sure that having two exams in one day will make me more stressed than before,” Brown said. “The schedule just condenses and heightens my worries into three days rather than five.”
Most are exhausted after just one exam, so having two will be even more mentally draining and may negatively affect their second exam grade.
“We are going to be technically getting exams over with quicker, but we will study and be stressed double the amount each night,” Sophomore Isabella Flores said, “It is hard enough to try to study hard for one exam, but having to spend four hours in a room taking a major test will be very difficult.”
Junior Michelle Bramlett thinks that there could be a compromise between students, administration, and schedules.
“I think that our exams are very difficult, and we don’t have exemptions, so I think we deserve more time to rest and study between exams,” Bramlett said. “Exams should be difficult but not to the point where we feel like we will fail.”
Senior Steve Jiang has had the same consistent exam schedule of one exam a day for years now. He sees both the positive and negative side of the update.
“I feel the new exam schedule will be a burden for a lot of students. I am concerned with the quality of the study times at school if it is unorganized,” Jiang said. “On the bright side, we do get a whole weekend after the quarter is officially over to study for exams, and we only spend 3 days taking exams rather than a whole week.”
This schedule may feel like a major change for some students, while others feel that it is fine. However, part of growing up is learning to adapt to circumstances that are not always perfect for everyone.
“I think people are scared because it is new and really different, but we will adjust to it and see how it goes,” Sophomore Kaitlin Wade said.