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

October 23, 2006 3:19 PM

Bummed About Midterm Scores?

Getting midterms and papers back can be one of the most relieving or the most disappointing moments of the semester. I know that after working hard to get an assignment turned in or studying all night for a midterm, I immediately want to know how that's going to affect my grade in the class. I've taken some extreme hits in my day as far as bad scores go, though... and I'm here to tell you that there is hope.

After getting my first Environmental Science midterm back as a freshman and realizing I hadn't done nearly as well as I had hoped, I panicked. I thought my grade would be reduced for the entire semester based on this terrible midterm score, and could almost see my GPA falling to below AP level. I went and talked to my GSI about it and she consoled me a little by letting me know my options. First, knowing how much each assignment is worth is infinitely helpful because it lets you know which tests you should study weeks in advance for and which ones (if any) can be studied for in a day. It also helps you calculate your grade if you're really worried, and most of the time this information is on the course syllabus, or you can ask your professor. Sometimes a course or professor offers extra credit that can help ease the burden of a bad midterm score. Just meet with them in office hours or check the syllabus to see if this is possible. And sometimes, bad paper or midterm scores really help me focus in on what I need to do for the semester. It lets me know how to change my study habits or analytical skills, and ultimately I end up doing better on later tests. A bad midterm score isn't the end of the world; for my ES10 class I got C's on both midterms and ended up getting an A- in the class. Just make sure that you work hard on the rest of your assignments and you can bounce back from any yucky grades!

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