Midterm Exams Like a Boss!

Picture: My desk before midterms in the Fall of 2012.

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask.

Everything you want also wants you.

But you have to take action to get it.” ~ Jules Renard

Spirits are running high, time is running short, and midterms are right around the bend! Time management will be crucial during these following weeks and throughout the rest of the semester. Here I have compiled some advice from upperclassmen, professors, TAs, and tutors, people who are quite experienced when it comes to examinations. I hope you can find something useful here, even if it is just a reminder of what you already know!

  1. Consistency is the word when it comes to sleep schedules. Try to keep a steady number of sleep hours and a fixed bedtime at least a week before the exam to allow your body to adjust accordingly. This will help you maintain a clear mind while studying and on the day of the exam.
  2. All-nighters are NOT a good idea! This tactic will have a strong impact on your performance for several days, even weeks. You might not feel tired the day after the all-nighter, but exhaustion will knock on your door the next couple of days, even if you try to compensate with a couple of naps. Avoid these situations by studying several days ahead of time.
  3. Tackle practice exams a week ahead of the exam. This will prevent you from freaking out the night before the exam when you encounter an exam question you can’t solve. Go over any doubts with a TA or a tutor to ensure that you can handle exam-type problems. This will ease your nerves for the following week and you will feel more prepared for the exam.
  4. Figure out early what your studying style is!  Do you like study groups? Do you prefer to study by yourself? Even though partnering up for studying is highly encouraged at the U of R, if you do not feel comfortable in these groups, you will probably be more productive studying by yourself. Know URself!
  5. KNOW YOUR RESOURCES! These include, but are not limited to: Review sessions by professors and TAs, study groups organized by CCAS, FREE TUTORING, extended office hours (depending on the professors and TAs), and many more.

The point is, you have loads of resources available. Take advantage of them! Midterms should not be a big roadblock in the middle of the semester that consume your life and leave you exhausted. Keeping up with classwork and readings every week will ensure a smoother midterm period and will help you avoid some unnecessary and undesired last-minute cramming.

Good luck with your exams and shine on!

About the author

Pedro Vallejo Ramirez

I'm a member of the Class of 2016 majoring in optical engineering and computer science, and I was accepted into the GEAR program. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but moved to Panama when I was three years old. I'm an undergraduate researcher in an optics laboratory, an RA, and a Student Alumni Ambassador, president for the Optical Society of America, and a brother at Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

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