Three Tips for When You Bomb a Midterm

Take a deep breath and relax.

For most students, midterm season is over. For the moment, we are done cramming and worrying and stress eating and cramming some more. Midterms are the second most stressful time in the semester, second only to exams.

It’s easy to forget that the midterms actually mean something. After you write the test, you kind of just shove them to the corner of your mind and forget about it… until the marks come back.

I’ll be the first to admit, university has seriously lowered my standards. In high school, I would be upset if I didn’t get a ridiculously high mark. Now, though, I’m happy when I just pass an exam.

Party GIF

But should we be settling? It can be very difficult to obtain the same percentage marks that we did in high school, but that doesn’t mean we should be okay with barely passing our courses. We need to be active when it comes to getting back our midterms.

Three things to do when you get a bad mark-

  1. Cry, but let it go

Sad Doctor Gif

It’s alright to be upset when you don’t do well. It can very hard when you think you did quite well on a test, and you get the mark back only to find out you did rather poorly. Bundling up these emotions is really not going to help, and it may make it worse in the long run.

Let yourself cry. Set a timer, if that helps, and give yourself a set amount of time to mope. Do something that makes you happy, whether that be running, watching the newest episode of your favourite television series, or play Fallout 4. Let yourself feel bad, but get over that feeling. A bad mark may feel like the end of the world, but it’s not.

  1. Look over your test

Studying GIf

Okay, so when I get a bad test mark, going over exactly what I screwed up on is the last thing I want to do. I want to leave the test alone and never look at it again. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

That’s actually a terrible idea. That bad mark is a gold mine of learning opportunities. Some Profs upload the right answers for you to OWL, and you can use these to figure out exactly where you went wrong and maybe what concepts you have mixed up in your mind. Learn from this test, so that you don’t make the same mistakes the next time around.

  1. Change your study habits

Blooms Taxonomy

High school studying and university studying needs to be different. In high school, test question were mostly comprised of the three lowest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy- remembering, understanding, and applying. In university, there are going to be questions that reach the higher levels of the taxonomy- analysing, evaluating, and creating.

This means you can’t be studying the same way. Just being able to recognise the information isn’t enough. You need to understand it enough that you can break it down and apply it to new- and sometimes completely different- situations. This change in understanding stems from actually going to the classes, the Prof’s office hours, the tutorials, and the help sessions. On top of all this, make sure you study on your own and with friends as well.


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