During a term, my students have to take two tests, which I call midterms*.

Therefore, the term is divided into three periods

  • 1) From beginning of the term till the first midterm exam
  • 2) From the first midterm exam till the second midterm exam
  • 3) From the second midterm exam till the end of the term.

What can I call these periods? Maybe sub-terms? Is there maybe a better word?

* My additional question is: is it OK to call them midterms if they are not in the middle of the term but rather at 1/3 and 2/3 of the term?

  • Yes, mid- is often used to mean "in the middle" in the sense that it's not the beginning or the end. Oct 18, 2013 at 12:27
  • 1
    This might not be applicable in Yerevan, but where I study they are normally called blocks (although this is a little ambiguous, as it also refers to a different kind of structure altogether, where students don't have terms [as in semesters/trimesters] at all, but rather have, say, six blocks in a year, with briefer holidays between all of them and no long summer holidays). Oct 18, 2013 at 12:34
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: It doesn't need to be applicable in Yerevan. I am asking for the general term used in English-language-based Universities, if the described situation applies to them Oct 18, 2013 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


I have both taught and been in graduate school in the US and Canada, and I believe there are no standard terms in wide use for such precise distinctions.

Usually periphrases are used: before the first midterm, between the two midterms, after the second midterm, from now until the second midterm, etc.

Lessons are split into blocks or units or weeks which themselves can 'define' material that constitutes larger divisions: The first block or weeks 3 to 5 or lessons 2 to 4 will be covered on the second midterm, etc.

Yes, you can have multiple midterms, but after about 3 or maybe 4 it would be odd not to call them simply tests or examinations.

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