A Letter to All Those who Failed a Midterm

Exams are super stressful, and we all know this. However, what can be equally as stressful is the time it takes after your exams to post your grades - and there is nothing worse than that feeling you get in your stomach when you check CourseLink only to see that you failed your midterm.

When I failed my first midterm in first year, I called my mom crying, saying I wasn’t smart enough and that I wanted to drop out. I felt like everything I had worked for had gone to waste and it was my fault. But after some consolation from my beautiful mother and some self-reflection, I realized that it wasn’t the end of the world.

Yeah, failing a midterm sucks – especially when you come out of high school with straight A’s – but sometimes it just happens. And instead of beating yourself up about it, here are some things you can try and do to ace that final:


1. Try a new studying technique.

The way that you’re currently studying may not effective enough to help you remember things. Try something new, like making cue cards, diagrams, or make up acronyms to help you recall things on the exam.


2. Get some outside help.

If you feel like you’re seriously struggling, getting help from someone can do no harm. There are many resources for you on campus – try the SLGs in the library or even a tutor!


3. Make sure you know where you went wrong.

Some professors post answer keys to their midterms on CourseLink, but if they don’t it’s likely that they’ll either go over it in class or hold sessions in their office hours to look over the answers. Knowing what messed you up on the midterm will help you know what you need to improve on for the final.


4. Try not to cram.

I know, and I fall victim to this as well, but trying to cram a semester’s worth of information into your brain the night before does not work. Review your material over the course of the semester – they don’t have to be super long sessions, maybe a few hours here and there – and then look it all over again in the days leading up to your exam. It’s less stressful and a lot more effective.


5. Don’t panic.

Remember, it’s not the end of the world if you fail a midterm, and it by no means makes it impossible to pass the course. What’s done is done and can’t be changed – instead, put your energy towards improving for the final!


You’ll be okay!