Granola bar for victory

For most of us, midterm exams have come and gone. I wrote one two weeks ago and I’ll write another this week. Going into my first university midterm, the pressure and stress I felt cannot be described in mere words.

The course was Law, Power and Politics, the only course where I have been experiencing difficulty.

Students are given mini quizzes at the beginning of class every Friday afternoon, and most of the questions have some connection to the week’s readings. I attend every class, take multiple pages of notes, do every reading and study extensively prior to the quizzes.

After growing increasingly frustrated with receiving low marks on the weekly quizzes despite my dedication, I began seeing a tutor. He’s an asset in improving my grasp on the concepts taught in class and outlined in the texts.

I stressed over this midterm for the better part of the week. After ranting in person and in the form on a Facebook status, I had a few close friends express faith in me.

After that, I felt like I could overcome this pain after all. I met with my tutor and studied extensively the night before and the morning of the exam, only leaving my room to get lunch and go to class. I recall eating only a granola bar for breakfast that day.

I went to class early and studied my notes one last time. I got a copy of the exam, skimmed through the questions and found it to be much easier than expected. It consisted of only 10 multiple choice, true or false, short answer, fill-in-the-blank questions and two essay questions.

Within a half hour, I was ready to declare victory over what I saw as a long struggle in that course. I handed my professor the exam and left the room feeling relieved to be done.

I spent that weekend wondering what grade I would earn. The professor handed the exams back the following Monday, and seeing that I had earned 18½ out of 20 was surreal.

My advice to students studying for midterms, whether this is your first or 15th, is to study few days in advance rather than the night before or not at all. A number of my peers guessed the answers on this midterm and passed, but you will not always get that lucky. Midterms make up substantial portion of your grade, so “winging it” can cost you.

Speak to your professor or a friend if you’re experiencing difficulty. Forming a study group among your peers can also be effective. It’s okay to be nervous, but try not to let it consume your life.

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