Separate week for midterms needed

By Rose Bialk

On the morning of March 1, I had a midterm in my State and Local Politics class, which consisted of a mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions. Although I reviewed the concepts and the articles I read for the unit, I only did minimal studying from Monday to Wednesday, as I had to focus on assignments from my other classes. The night before the midterm, I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. skimming each article and writing notes to remember their key points for the midterm. As a result, I was very tired and burned out from the late night studying on the morning I took the midterm.

Here is my main advice to anyone having upcoming midterms: Do not do what I did. Although I may have started studying four days before the exam, the first three days involved very minimal studying while 90% of the studying happened the night before the exam. Even if you have assignments that you have to finish sometime during the week of your midterm, I strongly suggest that you prioritize the midterm over other assignments, unless these assignments are also major. For instance, if you have a paper from another that is due the following Monday while you have midterm at the end of the week, I recommend you write little bits of the paper while simultaneously an equivalent amount of material for your midterm each day, spreading out the workload for each.

Personally, I find midterms more stressful and difficult than finals, since we are not provided a “midterms week.” As a result, students can have midterms on different weeks, they can overlap, or in some cases classes will not offer a midterm at all. In some classes, midterms are worth just as much of your grade as the final exam, which is the case in my State and Local Politics class, where the midterm and final are each worth 20% of the overall grade. Because I had classes to attend and other assignments to complete during the week, this gave me less time to study for a midterm that is worth as much of my grade as the final exam. 

If so many professors place great importance on the midterms, I strongly suggest for Lewis & Clark College to establish a “midterm week,” where any class that holds a midterm must have them happen during a certain week. Furthermore, LC should also establish at least two reading days to give students time to prepare for midterms — basically an equivalent to finals week. If establishing a “midterm week” is unrealistic, I strongly suggest that professors de-emphasize midterms by making them worth less of the overall grade than the final. 

Midterms may be difficult but I believe in you! As long as you take care of yourself by managing your time wisely to study and getting at least eight hours of sleep, everything will be okay. 

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