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How I survived my first college midterms

Growing up in the United States, I have had my fair share of standardized testing. Whether this be state-wide mandatory exams, or math placement exams, or even the infamous AP exams and the SAT’s. This, plus all the final exams I took in high school, did not prepare me for college level exams.

 

Yes, the difficulty of the tests I have taken prior to college does compare with the tests I have taken so far in college, but there is one major difference. During my K-12 education the test results didn’t only represent my abilities, but also the abilities of the teachers. For this very reason, teachers made sure to do their very best to prepare me for these exams. However, in college, my test results depict my own abilities, not my professors’. This is why in college it is up to the student to make sure they do well on exams, such as midterm exams.

 

This semester, I took it upon myself to ensure that I performed well on all my midterm exams. I did this by making sure to take advantage of my professors’ office hours to ask for clarification on even the simplest questions I had. I also took the initiative to study in groups. 

 

I found that studying in groups is an extremely efficient study method. This is because being with a group of people with the same objective as me helps keep me accountable, I don’t want the be the one distracted and on my phone while everyone else is being productive. Group studying is also extremely effective because of the ability to verbalize my thought process when explaining my understanding with others. Group studying also allows me to get multiple people to help explain concepts I don't understand.  

 

Lastly, I made sure to not let myself stress out too much over midterms. Sure, stress isn’t something you can avoid, but I tried to cope with my stress in the best way I knew. For example, I would go on evening walks whenever I felt too overwhelmed, or try to distract myself by squeezing in an episode of my favorite show in-between study breaks. I also made sure to not skip meals because of studying, or lose much sleep over it.