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How to deal with midterms when you least expect them

By Sophie Lachapelle, 2nd-year Health Studies student

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe

If anyone knew about preparation, it was Arthur Ashe. The Virginia-born athlete began playing tennis in 1950, when he was seven years old. After hours of training and winning many minor competitions, Arthur went on to win three Grand Slam titles and earned the number one male tennis ranking in the world in 1975.

Okay, I know that it’s only Week 4 in the semester, and you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you about Arthur Ashe. Well, here it is: midterms will be here before you know it. Like Arthur Ashe said, the more you prepare for midterms (or anything for that matter!), the less stress and anxiety you will feel. Let’s get started!

First, try a bit of review. Look back on the notes you have taken so far – if you were to see that physics equation on a midterm would you be able to solve it? What about that biological process? Do you know the sequence of steps to get to the end result? Test yourself to see what you know and on what topics you need clarification.

Next, ask your professors and TAs to explain the concepts with which you’re having trouble. They are there to help your studies, not hinder them!

Once you’ve identified what topics you need to focus more of your time on, you can form a study plan! The weekly schedule and term calendar templates are a great place to start. If you start planning early, you can break up your studying into smaller chunks over the course of many days. The repetitive review of information, combined with memory consolidation during sleep, will result in far better recollection during a midterm then cramming the night before. I know that it is hard to balance regular course work on top of studying for midterms and though I do not recommend planning to cram for anything, here are some tips just in case.

If you are finding it difficult to squeeze studying into your already incredibly full schedule, use the time in between classes to review your economics notes; review your English readings for the week on Sunday night; quickly go over today’s tricky anatomy lesson before bed; read your art history cue cards on the bus; listen to recordings of your politics notes on your way to class. The possibilities are endless!

Remember, Arthur Ashe didn’t win his three Grand Slam titles in his first three tennis matches. Great athletic skill is not obtained overnight, and neither are desirable midterm grades. Be confident in the work you have dedicated to preparing for your classes, and good luck with your midterm evaluations!

If you would like more information on this topic, or any others, you can find it under the Online Resources tab!

Photo from SportsUp365.