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What I Wish I Would Have Known About Midterms

group study
We’ve got this Covered—vaccination campaign, Albertsons Library. Photo by Priscilla Grover

When it comes to my college experience, I wish I would have found someone to tell me all the secrets. Like how to get connected with future employers, how to talk to a professor about my final grade, or even just what housing would’ve been best for me. My goal is to give you some tricks, tips, and tweaks on how to make your college experience the best it can be.

Start on midterms early

I know this sounds like too easy of a tip (and it is) and it’s the same thing that all of your professors say to you every semester, but I really didn’t listen. I don’t think I ever once started a midterm project early and guess what? I was always crazy stressed when suddenly my midterm assignments all piled up on me the same week.

And every. single. time. I would get upset, stressed out, annoyed that I had no social life for like two weeks, and at the end of it I was 100% burnt out — which would then affect my studies for the rest of the semester. There’s no bigger momentum killer than pouring more energy than you have into a zillion super difficult projects. Right after midterms it’s always like, “Absolutely not. I do not want to do any more work this semester. Can we just be done already?”

So, please, I beg you, the next time you’re going through your syllabus with your professor and they give you that, “Hey, class, there’s only blah more weeks until midterms are due” take that opportunity to write down a few tasks you can get started on asap. Break it into bite-sized chunks. I promise you’ll hate your life a lot less than if you had to cram weeks worth of work into a few days.

And I know that’s overwhelming for me to say, but here’s how you actually put that into effect. If you’re working on a project, take a few hours one day to do research. Then another day, make an outline. Pick another study period to flesh out a rough draft. Finally, polish it up before it’s due. Maybe even throw in a brainstorming session with some of your classmates. I see you, waiting til the last minute to pick a topic. Then you’re stuck with something you don’t even really like, it’s difficult to research, and you have no idea how you’re going to turn it into a five page paper. Don’t be doing that.

If you’re studying for a test, break your study periods into several days instead of just one. Cramming sessions really don’t work. You don’t retain the information. You feel the pressure, which makes it incredibly hard to actually focus, and your brain is totally fried at the end of it. Break up the material into smaller study sessions and go over the most important bits several times. That will help you fight that test panic, which makes everything you just studied fly right out of your head as soon as you sit down to take the actual test.

There are so many campus resources to help you when it gets tough

I know. I know. I can see you rolling your eyes at me and that’s honestly fair. We know that even with the best planning in the world, sometimes things just slip away from us. And that’s okay. We’ve literally all been there. We’re here to help you and not point the finger when you get in over your head.

So, you should know where to turn when you’re in a bind and need to get stuff done. Here are some ideas.

Check out The Writing Center

A lot of midterms have some sort of essay element involved. And there’s nothing worse than getting writer’s block. Or sometimes it’s just really all too much and you don’t know how to organize your thoughts into an outline, let alone write an entire paper. That’s where the experts at The Writing Center come in.

They can help you brainstorm, find sources, make an outline, structure your writing, and of course edit and help you put it all together. They help with everything from the very beginning of an idea all the way to your final draft.

Any kind of writing you’re doing, they can help you. Essays, stories, or even little blurbs for a bigger project. If you want your words to shine, they can help you. Don’t feel like you have to do it alone! Book a virtual appointment right now!

Get help at the Math Learning Center

Okay, I am so terrible at math. When I had to take a couple of math classes, I was so scared I’d get lost, not know what questions to ask, and wouldn’t know who to turn to if I got overwhelmed.

I asked for help at The Math Lab before I had a big test because I was so confused and I didn’t feel confident that I could replicate my work before midterms. When I got there, I told them what I was working on and the person I worked with was so kind and patient with me.

They understand that students of all different levels of experience walk through that door and they’re there to give you a hand when you’re stressing out the most. They’re a very talented group of people who care about your success. So, do yourself a favor and use them as a resource if you need it.

They tutor lots of different levels of math, so you can take a look at their schedule and drop in on the days they offer mentoring. They’re open Sunday-Friday in room MB120 in the math building. They do online tutoring too! (By the way, I ended up getting a ‘A’ in that class. I know, right?! Me? An ‘A’ in math? If I can do it, you can too.)

Make a tutoring appointment ASAP

There’s also in-person and online tutoring for all sorts of other subjects. Like, you can get help with your Econ paper, schedule another appointment for some tips on your Biology homework, and meet up with someone about your Computer Science test.

But seriously, there’s lots of different tutors available to book if you need help with your midterms. They cover many different subjects and it’s so easy to book an appointment with somebody online.

It’s totally free (that’s right, free!) and it’s best to get your appointment in now before time slots fill up. Why not work some time into your schedule to prepare now before things get completely hectic. Don’t kid yourself. You know it will.

So, there you have it, just a few things to think about when it comes to midterm chaos. Believe me, I know how overwhelming it can be, but with the combination of some planning ahead, creating a midterm schedule so you can do it bit by bit, breaking apart your study sessions, and ASKING FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT (sorry didn’t mean to yell at you there) you’ll be golden. Nothing better than putting in the hard work and getting that top-tier grade back, eh? Now, get out there and do it, Broncos!

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  • Trisha Miller