Free Midterm Advice from Dean Herschbach
Pace yourself! Midterms typically take place over a full week. Don’t stay up all night studying for an exam tomorrow since you’ll then be in recovery for the rest of the week. There’s no guarantee that cramming will deliver a better grade than adequate sleep, nourishment, and exercise; and don’t neglect après-exam relaxation.
Remember that exam questions are different from other types of class assignments. Exam questions are designed to make you think synthetically, apply concepts, and manipulate information. They are often qualitatively different from other term-time assignments like problem sets or short essays, where the purpose is simply to rehearse a single concept or understand a particular argument. The best way to study for exams is to practice responding to actual exam questions. Copies of old exams are usually available on course Blackboard sites or from teaching staff. Use them!
Make sure to fully utilize campus resources. Attend review sessions and study groups; if you have questions about course content or expectations for an exam, don’t be shy -- ask your preceptors and professors; talk to a study skills consultant at the McGraw Center about how to effectively study for exams and manage your midterm schedule.
Keep things in perspective. There will come a day when you don’t do as well as you hoped on a midterm exam. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that midterm grades, in general, represent a relatively small fraction of the final grades. You will be able to recoup a poor midterm grade, especially if you are careful to learn from any mistakes.