Reflecting on your first Midterm to Perform Better on the Final

For most of us undergraduates, midterms tend to be a stressful time, even more demanding than finals or Dean’s Date. This is because we go through midterms while classes and assignments continue as usual. In contrast, we have a week-long reading period at the end of the semester to focus on writing papers and preparing for finals. If you are a first yearstudent, you have the additional stress of going through  Princeton midterms for the first time and you might have realized that they can be quite different from exams in high school. Therefore, it is not unusual for first years to receive grades on midterms below their expectations.  When I was a first year, I learned how I could use my midterm grades as guideposts to help me identify which courses I most needed to adjust to and improve my final grade.  It is important to note that midterms scores will not always fully correlate with finals and that there are plenty of opportunities after midterms to adjust strategies and improve performance. Here are some of the strategies I have found helpful when looking to bounce back from a midterm.

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Studying Studying: Memory Tips from Psychology

There’s a lot of information to remember for finals– learn how to keep it all straight.

With finals season approaching, a sense of dread sets in every time I take notes in lecture—how am I supposed to remember all of this information at once? Often the prospect of beginning the study process is so overwhelming that organizing all the information seems almost impossible.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I’ve realized that a lot of my psychology research and coursework have provided many useful tips to make studying as effective and efficient as possible. I have compiled a few here to help you get started and hopefully feel more comfortable diving into studying when reading period comes around.

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Study Groups: A Proven Way to Conquer Finals

Around this time last year, I took my first final exams at Princeton. Like many other freshmen, I left exam rooms in disbelief of how hard tests were, especially in some of my more quantitative classes. The time constraints, the amount of material covered, and the insightfulness required to answer questions always make Princeton exams challenging – something that every student learns quickly.

But what I didn’t pick up on was the incredible advantage of having a study group. In high school, exams weren’t as difficult, and consequently, I could get through classes by studying alone. I would sit in my room, take in all the material days before an exam, and feel confident that I knew it. During my first year at Princeton, I tried to emulate this same strategy but would just end up feeling overwhelmed. And for a long time, I couldn’t pinpoint any solutions to my stress.

As the weather gets cooler and finals period starts, a great way to escape loneliness is finding a study group!

Inspiration came during office hours last spring, when my friend and I went to pick up our math exams. Our instructor remarked that between us, we solved all of the problems on the test, even though individually we hadn’t performed as well. While walking back to my dorm, I thought about this more. If my friend and I had simply taken the time to study together, we would’ve not only done better on the test, but also thoroughly learned the material.

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Quick and Dirty Blueprinting: Last Minute Preparation for Final Exams and Research Papers

As final exams and paper deadlines approach, I find myself constantly questioning if I am spending my time efficiently. During exam periods, I often wonder how much time I should spend catching up on readings that I skimmed throughout the semester. It’s hard to finish every reading on time when professors assign hundreds of pages per week — and it’s almost impossible to catch up over reading period. Right now, this issue is particularly salient in my sociology class, which requires a 5-page-essay as a take-home exam. How can I review relevant material effectively and efficiently when I also have three other courses to focus on?

Here I am stressing about my take-home exam while my twin sister–who took finals before break–watches Netflix. It’s not at all fair, but at least I have my Quick and Dirty Blueprinting Guide to help me!

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