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Exams v. Students

Arlie R. Hochschild said, “Each person's drive to overwork is unique, and doing too much numbs every workaholic's emotions differently. Sometimes overwork numbs depression, sometimes anger, sometimes envy, sometimes sexuality. Or the overworked runs herself ragged in a race for attention.” Every day students are seen pulling their bodies through the halls in order to get to their next class. This is due to the amount of work they must put into studying for tests and quizzes later on in the week. Do not discourage the use of tests and quizzes as they can show a student’s progress; however, there is a problem that must be resolved. Teachers should avoid overloading their students throughout the year as it causes stress, a lack of sleep, and difficulty deciding between after school activities and school work.


Stress is a good thing to have as it drives the human race to work, but too much and it can affect the body and mind. In low doses, stress motivates people and keeps them busy, while also giving enough breathing room to relax if needed. However, in large doses stress can have a serious effect on the health of a person, which in students, is caused by an abundance of tests and quizzes being thrown at them. According to Rebecca J. Frey, co author of the article “Stress", stress can affect people in different ways. She states in The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine that, “Physical symptoms may include problems sleeping, indigestion, stomach pains, chest pains, fatigue, headache, back or neck pain, and many others”(Frey). Then, she states in The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine that people with too much stress can also have,“physical illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome, heart attacks, arthritis, and chronic headaches”(Tish). I experienced one of these symptoms before. After a hard day at wrestling practice I got home and began to work on my studies. As I continued a migraine began  to creep from the front of my head to behind my eye, and slowly I could not study or move or hear or see without feeling pain. Students on a daily basis experience this stress due to an overload of tests and quizzes for a majority of the year, and if not dealt with, problems such as those explained previously may occur.


Due to the amount of stress being placed on students, plus the expectations to do well in school, they often do not get enough sleep, causing sleep deprivation and a hindering of their educational performance. When students do not get enough sleep, sleep deprivation occurs, in which people feel sluggish, inattentive, and do not perform at maximum efficiency. In The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine Margaret Alic states, “Teenagers with hectic schedules of school, homework, athletics, afterschool activities, jobs, and family and social obligations find themselves without enough hours for quality sleep”(Alic). Alic also states that because of not getting quality sleep students often are caught, “falling asleep during school, need for frequent naps, headaches, poor school performance, inability to concentrate, inability to perform mathematical calculations, impaired memory, and confusion,”(Alic). As one of the “teenagers” mentioned previously, I can vouch that a fragment of the students attending this school get to bed at or before ten o’clock at night; also I see students everyday barely staying awake as they trudge through the day as if they have shackles around their feet. Students need sleep, and with the current amount of studying needed for exams, teenagers are not receiving the amount of sleep they truly need to function.


With the high amounts of sleep deprivation and stress, students do not have time to do extracurricular activities, which colleges use to see what a student is passionate about and what their personality is like. Not to say that grades are not important but, excelling and devoting time to an extracurricular activity shows if a student is willing to put in the work. In the article, Extracurriculars Matter, on College Board’s website it states that “the things you do in your free time reveal a lot about you — in ways that grades and test scores can’t. Your accomplishments outside the classroom show what you’re passionate about and that you have qualities valued by colleges” (Extracurriculars Matter). Plus, according to the Huffington Post just being a part of a club is not enough as “Colleges look for quality of involvement rather than quantity of activities. In other words, it is better to be consistently involved in one, two, or three activities and/or sports over a number of years,” (Shaevitz). My mother has already gone through the college application process with my older sister, Lucia, and she told me, “The reason why George Mason chose your sister instead of some other person was because her dedication as a rower and her passion as an activist demonstrated to them that she was a fighter and would not quite.” Students need time to participate in their extracurricular activities to show colleges what they truly are about; no amount of school work will show that to them.


Parents and teachers are correct in the fact that not every student that falls asleep during class or does not turn in homework is a star student. However, this may be caused by the amount of stress put into studying for tests and quizzes. In The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine Rebecca Tish coined a term called “a burnout” which according to her is “a loss of interest in or ability to perform one's job due to long-term high stress levels” (Tish). These students are not doing poorly in class because they never have had the inhibition to succeed, but that they worried so much that eventually the students gave up.


Remember what stress does to a student if in high amounts. Remember what is missed when students fall asleep in class because of studying all night. Remember what colleges want to see in students when they submit their application. Without the abundance of tests and quizzes crammed into a week, multiple times during the school year, students would not be affected by these problems stated before. The solution is that teachers work with students, so that they are still challenged in school, but are not on the verge of having a “burnout” at the end of every day. Students, email your teachers and asks them to see if the test or quiz can be moved around, or even better, start a petition with all the other students who take the same class and see if a different date can be scheduled.






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