Exam Week: Studying the New Exam Schedule

Exam Week: Studying the New Exam Schedule

A New Change to Exam Week?

Exam week is a time that most students are both eager for and dread all at once. The tests mark the end of the school year and the start of summer, which causes excitement to flood the halls. However, the week itself is often a source of stress for many students. 

This year, though, a change has been made that may rouse curiosity. The schedule for exams has been flipped. For the first time, this May, exams will be taken in reverse order of class period. That means that first period exams will be last and eighth period will be first.

This change is sure to stimulate interest and questioning from the student body, and perhaps some staff. Even Nancy Barkan, Assistant Head of School for Academics, admitted that it was a strange change for the testing schedule. The Gibbons Globe talked to Barkan to understand why the change was made and what it will mean for future testing.

Why the Change?

The modification to exam week was first initiated by several educators who felt students with the later exams, specifically seventh and eighth period, were struggling with the week gap between their final class and the exam period. With the flip in the schedule, there is hope that some equity will be found, with midterms taking place in normal order and finals being a flipped agenda. 

According to Barkan, the data indicates that students who take a certain exam in a later period score approximately three to four points lower on average than their peers in the earlier periods. 

With these discrepancies in the grades on exams, the academic staff thought it best to evaluate the potential cause. While some students may simply be tired of taking tests at the end of the week, it is thought that the large gap from the last class until the exam is largely impacting the scores of students. It is hoped that the source of this difference will be determined and the flipped schedule will help reduce the variation between scores.

The switched schedule will serve as a learning scenario for both staff and students. Student performance may vary depending on the order of their more difficult exams. While some might prefer having their harder tests earlier on, others might favor the additional time to study. For the administration, the data from semester one exams will be compared with semester two to look for any noticeable impacts.

In addition to being backwards, the order of the exams on each individual day caused some confusion. It was originally proposed that the first day start with seventh period and end with eighth, with the last day consisting of first period in the morning and second period following. However, this idea was rejected and replaced with just going completely backwards, starting with eighth period on Monday morning and ending with first period on Thursday afternoon (the second exam period of that day). The Cardinal Gibbons administration hopes to collect feedback and look at the effectiveness of these alterations to determine their steps in future years.

Where did the Reading Day Go?

Another highlighted difference between this term’s fall and spring semesters is the absence of a reading day in the spring. While originally on the calendar for May 17, it was later removed and replaced with a normal school day. The change was made so the semester would have an even number of A and B days. The presence of a reading day in the first semester was to ensure the fall term ended on an even amount of days so that no classes were taken more than others. As for the reason that there was once a reading day on the spring schedule, Barkan said that it was simply a mistake; none of the administration realized that May 17 was supposed to be a B day.

Even More Changes 

Similarly, the academic staff took feedback into consideration and data from the past changes with class registration and the placement tests that were implemented this year. Barkan revealed that there will most likely be changes to the length of the class registration period in the coming years, as well as the times that the placement tests are given. There may even be a couple of days that classes are not allowed to give tests to allow students more time to study for these placement tests. 


With all of these changes coming to the academic calendar, it can be a chaotic and confusing transition for some. While these modifications may seem strange or unnecessary, Barkan summed it up perfectly, saying that “until we try something and see how it works and see what the flaws are and ways to improve it, (how will we know what works best).” 

These changes are meant to help both the students and the staff, and testing the alterations is the only way to figure out which ones truly fit best at our school.

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About the Contributor
Mikaela Povsic
Mikaela Povsic, Reporter
My name is Mikaela Povsic. I am currently a sophomore at Cardinal Gibbons. This is my first year writing The Gibbons Globe and I am excited to share the stories and inside tips.