October 16, 2006 5:47 PM
Now that you have been through round one of midterms (why they are called MIDterms, don't ask me) you may be relieved that you are done but also a little worried to get back your grades. If you did well then that is great, but if you did not do quite as well as you would have liked there is no need to panic. We have all been there before and it's important to remember that this is normal. UC Berkeley is a very competitive school and getting straight A's like you may have in high school is very tough.
I would first like to say that after being at Cal for a little over three years now I have come to realize that all we students can do is put forth our best effort and hope for the best. However, if you do not do as well as you would like, you have a lot of options.
First, if you feel that the test did not measure your capabilities and you know you were well prepared and could have done better it never hurts to talk to your professor or GSI. Explain to them that this test does not represent your abilities and ask for advice about how to do better next time. Sometimes professors are even willing to make an exception to their grading scheme and will allow the remaining tests to count for a larger portion of your grade if you feel you will do better in the future.
Second, make sure to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Find where you experienced problems on the test and try to come up with some solutions to do better next time. For example, if you know you don't do well with multiple choice, rather than picking the right answer from the list, come up with your own answer and see which choice best matches your own. After getting a taste of you professor’s testing style, you will have a better understanding of how to properly prepare for you next exam.
Third, if you know that your grade on this test will be too hard to recover from and you need to do well in that course, consider changing your grade to pass no pass (if it is before the deadline) and retake it for a grade, or drop the class (once again, prior to the drop deadline) and take it over again either the following semester or even over the summer so you will have more time to dedicate to doing well in the class.
Just remember that one poor grade is not the end of the world nor does it mean that you are a poor student - it is only one obstacle in life that you can make the best of and learn from. You have many options and speaking from some experience, it always seems to workout just fine in the end (sometimes professors say classes aren’t curved in the beginning of the semester but end up curving the class after all; however, don’t depend it). Sometimes just talking about a bad test can make you feel better, so if you ever need someone to vent to I am always willing to listen and offer my assistance. Come by my office hours, Thursdays 9:30-11:30 am, if you have any questions or just feel like chatting.
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