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

October 17, 2006 9:24 PM

The Midterm Aftertaste

Studying for midterms is difficult, but sometimes, dealing with midterm scores is an even greater challenge. This affects Cal students at every level--even upper division students will get a case of the midterm blues. Staying positive under such situations is easier said than done, but here's a tip from a science major who's had his fair share of unsatisfying midterm scores.

Don't:
Spend too much time despairing over disappointing scores. A bit of sulking will help relieve some anxiety, but don't overdo it. Many students develop an "it's all over, and I'll never make up for this score" mentality that can really affect performance on future exams. They despair over how most of their floormates did better on an exam, and adopt a resigned attitude that's sometimes the equivalent of giving up. If you feel extremely upset about your first midterms, keep in mind that you still have at least one other midterm and a final exam, both of which make up significant chunks of your grade. Which brings me to my next point...

DO:
Focus on how you can tackle your future exams. This begins by evaluating current study habits and how one can study more effectively. Are the dorms too distracting? Consider the library, as well as study rooms, cafes, any place where you'd feel comfortable curling up with that textbook. Did you study too much for one midterm and not the other? Look up your next midterm and final dates, plan ahead, and allot sufficient time for all exams. Did you leave too much material to study at the last minute? Work out a study schedule from now until the exam dates. Or is the material simply too difficult to understand? Consider the SLC services, or forming your own study groups. Working with informed classmates can really help you get through assignments and interpreting concepts.
See your future exams as a way to prove that you can really tackle your courses. Professors often like to see improvements in test scores, and may give a tip-up (e.g. B- to a B) if test scores rise up. It is very, very common for students to "totally bomb" one midterm, but excel on the others, resulting in a satisfying grade.
So go on, look through those first midterms, set them aside, then start prepping for the next ones. You still have more opportunities to shine in your classes. Go and tackle them.


Alex Lau | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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