Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Midterm Season & Bounce Back!

By Hira Ali, Academic Assistant (Work Study Student)

Hello, fellow UTSC students! Midterm season is coming to an end, but many of you may still be preparing for another exam. The midterm season can be a stressful period for all university students as we may have multiple exams to prepare for. However, there is no reason to fear. Rest assured, I have study tips and campus resources that will help you ace those exams!

How to Beat Midterm Season!

Stay on top
Get clear instructions on what the midterm will cover. The worst thing would be to put in hours of studying only to find out you missed a chapter or you did not have to study that lecture! Personally, I always make it a point to get as much information on the exam as possible. Try asking your professor or TA about the format of the exam and the material it will cover. The more details you have, the better you can prepare!

Find your spot
Unlike many people, I find it easier to study when I am at home. Instead of my room, I camp out in the den away from distractions like television or the snack cabinet. This is because I feel more comfortable and relaxed studying in a familiar environment. However, this is not the case for everyone. Whether it’s the UTSC library, study space, or a coffee shop nearby, find YOUR study spot. Ideally, a place where you can focus and get the most out of your study session. 

Study, pause, breathe and repeat
Giving yourself a break is the most important and most difficult thing to do when you have an exam coming up. Back in first year, I would study 6-7 hours without breaks thinking that breaks would waste precious study time. However, too much cramming can take a toll on your wellbeing! It’s important to be eating, sleeping, and relaxing in moderate amounts so that your mind and body can be in good shape for when you write your exam. 

If you felt that your midterms went well, then continue working hard and staying caught up on readings. If you feel like your midterm exam didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, it’s okay! It happens to the best of us. The next step is to find ways to bounce back. Below are some tips and tricks to make your comeback!

Bounce Back!
Why do Students perform poorly on exams? According to research:
  • Lack of in-class attendance 1
  • Test anxiety 2
  • Procrastination 3
  • Negative emotions such as anger, sadness, worry 4
These factors can be the cause for poor academic performance! If this sounds like you, then don’t worry! Here are some resources offered by the Academic Advising and Career Centre to help you target these problems:
  • Book a 1-on-1 appointment with a Peer Coach to take about different strategies to improve your study habits. The AA&CC also offers drop-in study sessions in the library (AC254) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3pm! 
  • Make sure to attend the ‘Time Management for School and Work’ workshop on November 1st   from 3-4pm if you feel that this is a skill you need to improve.
  • To ace those final exams we have the ‘Exam Preparation & Exam Writing – How to Ace Your Finals’ workshop offered on November 16th from 2-3pm.
  • Take a look at the ‘8 Steps to Academic Success’ tip-sheet! It gives you helpful steps to stay on top of readings and assignments!
  • Check out the helpful literature on study skills, time management, and motivation offered in the AA&CC bookshelf. Speak to a front desk staff to sign out a book!
  • Book a 1-on-1 Appointment or come in for drop-ins to speak to an Academic Advisor on improving your GPA and study habits!
Other Resources
  • The Writing Centre
  • Math & Stats Help Centre
  • English Language Development Centre
  • FSGs
Hopefully, these resources will help you bounce back and achieve academic success! Remember, midterms are important and may count for much of your grade but there are still assignments and final exams to bring you back to academic excellence! If you require further assistance or just need someone to talk to, you can always stop by the AA&CC office (AC213) for extra support.

Until next time,

Hira Ali
Academic Assistant

  1. Marburger, D. R. (2001). Absenteeism and undergraduate exam performance. The Journal of Economic Education, 32(2), 99-109. 
  2. Cassady, J. C., & Johnson, R. E. (2002). Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance. Contemporary educational psychology, 27(2), 270-295.
  3. Pychyl, T. A., Morin, R. W., & Salmon, B. R. (2000). Procrastination and the planning fallacy: An examination of the study habits of university students. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(5), 135. 
  4. Reeve, C. L., Bonaccio, S., & Winford, E. C. (2014). Cognitive ability, exam-related emotions, and exam performance: A field study in a college setting. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39(2), 124-133. doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2014.03.001
  5. Graphical abstract 

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