Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

October 17, 2006 11:29 PM

After the Midterm...

By this time, you are probably done with the first round of midterms (or even preparing for the second round, especially for those Chem 1A people – hope you did well!). Some of you may have done extremely well on your midterms (Good Job!) while others, not as well as you thought. It is during those moments that you feel like admitting defeat, wanting to quit college, forgetting about your plans for being a doctor…

The first midterm of any subject does not spell out your entire future. True, you got a score you wish were higher. But what can you do about it? First of all, talk to your professor or GSI. Find out what you can do to improve your grade in a class. Visit them during office hours, ask them questions in anything you are struggling with (and even if you can’t make them, set up an appointment with them). Your GSI is more than willing to help you. In fact, most of them complain that not enough people visit them and ask them questions. You might also want to reevaluate your study habits. Is the environment you are studying in really helping you? Are you really absorbing the material? If you haven’t checked out the Student Learning Center (SLC), you definitely should start – drop in for tutoring, join a study group, or participate in a mock midterm. That way you can judge what you do and don’t know, plus force yourself to review the material if you haven’t been keeping up.

Also remember this: finals are worth much more (usually around 30%-50% of the entire grade, sometimes more). The time between the first midterm and the final is quite long (but don’t underestimate it because it goes much faster than you’d think), so it’s not too late to begin improving your study habits and your grade as well. The final is usually the one that determines your overall grade.

Set realistic goals. It is difficult to get a 4.0 in college, let alone in Berkeley. So don’t expect to get straight As in your classes. Certainly, it is a great goal to go after, but it shouldn’t be what you obsess over. And again, one midterm grade doesn’t determine the overall grade; you have plenty of time to improve.

For me, I put everything into consideration. I am a constant worrier and thinker, so when I decided to come to Cal, or even just any college, I knew it was highly improbable for me to get a 4.0 the years I would be here because of the competition among incredibly talented and smart people. Actually, my dad and I set 3.0 as a decent GPA goal. As for my midterms, I’ve had my share of disappointments. But I find those to be encouraging (after being depressed for a while)– it shows that you really didn’t understand some of the material (not great), but now you have the opportunity to study it and correct your mistakes before the final comes around. It is also a way to improve your study habits (I know I’ve changed a couple of my habits after some midterms) to better understand the material. And in the end, for most of the time, everything works out if you have tried your best. :)

Much luck to all of you on your second round of midterms!


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