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

February 25, 2009 7:40 PM

Got Stress?

Can you believe it? Midterm 1 season has already begun! It seemed just a couple weeks ago that we were all making New Year's Resolutions and settling into the new semester. I am sure that most of you are taking harder courses compared to last semester. But that's okay! Don't stress. I remember being in the same position, faced with the tensions and nerves of taking Introduction to Organic Chemistry. But you'll realize that the challenge is great and will push you to think more critically than before. You'll realize that once you've convinced yourself that your harder courses and material are only going to help you become more intelligent, studying will no longer become a burden.

Now, I bet some of you are thinking, "gosh, I have this huge test coming up and I'm behind on the reading...what should I DO?" TAKE A DEEP BREATHE. The most important thing is to not let the stress get to you. Don't get me wrong, stress is important because it pushes the brain to think harder/faster; and for most, promotes people to begin working. Having too much stress, however, will make studying and understanding the material more difficult. Now if your midterms are really close, study "smartly" since you probably won't have time to get through everything. Most of the time, your professor will give you a heads up on what will be on the exam. Others will post past midterms on bspace for your own practice. Everyone studies differently. Some of you might find it helpful to take a past exam and then study what you did not understand. However, my strategy is to hit the material first, because taking a past exam and getting problems wrong causes me to stress even more. Furthermore, getting problems right creates a fake boost of ego. Instead of doing that, I tell myself that this exam is not going to be the end of the world. In fact, that is the truth, a big proportion of classes in Cal count the final as the biggest chunk of the course grade. So just try your best.

Now, going back to what I was saying. I normally scan over all the lectures (because they are going to be focus of the midterms) to see how much I need to study and what I need to study the most. For example, if in O-chem, I understand the concept of hyperconjugation more than cracking hydrocarbons, I would study the latter first. This is because most test questions are made to check if you understand the concept so there is no need to memorize something word for word. Furthermore, following this procedure can increase your chances of answering more questions on the actual exam. If I had more time, I would then take the past exams AFTER reviewing the material; because past exams are not going to be an exact replica of the actual exam so don't focus all your time of them.

Just remember that even if you don't score well on this test, that it will not be the end of the world. Treat it as a constant reminder to procrastinate less and study more in the future. Good luck everyone! =)

Jenny Zhang | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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