Midterms on Midterms on Midterms

Learning How, not What, to Study

Put yourself in my shoes: You’ve been in college for over a month now, taking super challenging classes in a completely new setting. Then, just when you’re getting into the rhythm of things (adjusting to your new sleep – or lack there of – schedule), you get smacked by three midterms!

To enlighten you, I’ve compiled a list of the DOs and DON’Ts that I learned from my Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus 3 midterms last week.

MIDTERM 1: Chemistry


I always get distracted looking up Chemistry pick-up lines 😉

My Applied Chemical Equilibrium midterm, on Wednesday September 30, 2015 at 9:00 a.m., was the first midterm I would ever take in college. The night before the exam I tossed and turned in bed until about 2:00 a.m. anticipating any and all of the questions that would be asked on the midterm. However, I was relieved as the exam the next morning definitely went better than I had expected. BUT, there was definitely room for improvement. 

DO: Focus on reading the textbook

DON’T: Rely ONLY on lectures and problem sets

In high school I found it easy to study for chemistry tests by reviewing my notes from class and going over the problem sets assigned for homework. In college, it’s a whole new ball game. Thankfully, I spent time reviewing each chapter of the textbook before the midterm.

MIDTERM 2: Physics

My second midterm was Physics. Ever since I was first exposed to physics my freshman year of high school, it has been the bane of my existence. I knew that the only way for me to prepare for the midterm was to spend time solving problems – ALONE.

DO: Dedicate time to studying alone.

DON’T: Rely only on group study sessions

Group study sessions can at times be very helpful, especially when you’re struggling with a concept a friend understands (rooms in Brody are perfect for this). However, when you study in groups, it is easy to get distracted and off-track. I’ve had my fair share of these experiences when doing my homework – one minute we were talking about a physics pre-lecture problem, and the next we were discussing the best places in Baltimore to get a fresh new haircut.

Brody Learning Commons

MIDTERM 3: Calculus 3

Caught on cam falling asleep in calculus -__-

Caught on cam falling asleep in Calculus

Calculus was my third and final midterm of the week –Friday at 12:00 p.m. I’m going to be honest, for a class like Calculus in which the professor uploads all of the notes online, it’s very easy to lose focus/fall asleep in class or just not go to class at all. But you have to fight this urge. Unfortunately, I figured this out a little too late.

DO: Go to (and don’t sleep in) class

DON’T: Rely on notes uploaded online.

The night before my Calculus 3 midterm, I was awake until 5:00 a.m. studying (shhh don’t tell my mom). Disclaimer: this was entirely all my fault; my classmates went to bed a little after midnight. I had to review three chapters AND do the homework that was due the next day. Long story short, I got about 2.5 hours of sleep that night, and learned my lesson (don’t worry I still did well on the test).

Finally, when midterms were over on Friday, I took a long-awaited, well-deserved nap.