Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Magic of Midterm Season

No matter what they always seem to sneak up on you. You question your knowledge: have I even learned anything yet? Or, on the flip side, you ask yourself “how am I going to retain all of this information?”

Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Midterms. Now, some of you may have tests labelled as such in high school, but if you’re like me and went to a semestered school, they were a new phenomenon upon entering university. At the end of the day, they’re just another test.

From my experience in first year, there really wasn’t a “start” and “end” date to the midterms. The reality is each of your classes will have 2 or 3 “midterms” so you’ll have them starting around the end of September and going all the way to the end of November. They’ll come in waves, having two in a week and such, but there seems to always be one on the horizon.

The great thing about these magical tests is that since there are two or three per course, the weighting is nicely distributed! If you have a hard time on one, it will not seal your fate on passing or failing the course! There’s always a chance to make up for some mistakes. Plus, there’s always the exam which is a large chunk of your grade in a course.

Second years studying in the Bob Loree Undergraduate Engineering (BLUE) Lounge. It's a great place to ask upper years for help!
So, when you start engineering, and you put those test dates in your calendar, don’t freak. Take a deep breath, and plan ahead:
(1)   Don’t start cramming the night before. Seriously. I know you hear this all the time, but it’s so true.
(2) Do practice problems. Engineering is about application, so don’t just read notes.
(3) Use the resources available – talk the prof or Teaching Assistants if you’re having problems, and also the Internet is a pretty marvelous thing. There are some great videos online.
(4) Figure out how you study best. Some people do the group thing, and some people need to study alone. Some need silence, while others rock out to some classical music in the background.
(5) Don’t cram the night before. (So key it takes up two spaces on this list)

At the end of the day, one of the best feelings a student can have is walking out of a midterm they aced. But sometimes, even when you work REALLY HARD, it’s just not your night. And that’s okay. Just keep swimming. 

Later days,