Recovering From A Bad Midterm

Your midterm mark came back, and it was rather disappointing. The good news is, there is still plenty of time to turn things around.

First you need to calculate how many more marks you need in the course to earn the passing grade you desire. Need a final grade of 60, but only scored 40% on a test worth 30% of your grade? This means you have lost out on 18 marks, but you have still earned 12 marks. [.40 x 30 = 12; 30 - 12 = 18] That leaves 70 more possible marks to earn in the course, and if you subtract the 12 you currently have, you only need to earn 48 out of those 70 marks in order to get that final grade of 60. That is equivalent to earning 69% on each future test or assignment. [48 ÷ 70 = 68.5]

With this information in hand, you need to resolve to put in the time and effort to achieving this new target mark. Your current habits and time spent on this subject have not been enough and you need to hold yourself accountable. Make sure you are attending every class. Take notes, pay attention to anything the Professor repeats or talks about in great detail.  Prioritize and block off time slots in your schedule for when you are the most productive (not after eating large meals, perhaps immediately after class, or right after a workout). Try including a friend in at least one study session a week so they can make sure you are genuinely spending that time on the subject. When temptations try to steal away your study time, stand your ground and remember why getting this mark is important to you.

Next, give a few new study strategies a try. Cue cards are great for memorizing definitions, anatomy, or items with a specific numeric value, such as elements from the Periodic table. Online cue cards are an option for giving your wrist a break or saving money and reducing environmental impact. Review with the end of chapter questions in your textbook, which are often used on real tests. Didn’t buy the textbook? Find somebody in the class you can borrow from, and offer them something to show your appreciation if possible. Watch videos on Youtube about the topic to get a better understanding (ASAPScience is a good channel), and set a limit on your Laptop/Phone time. Khan Academy is a great website for explaining math and science concepts. If you feel like you don’t know what direction you need to be focusing on, try and speak with your Instructor just before or after the lecture.

Finally, if you are serious about getting a solid grade on your end of term paper, go see the staff at Student Services. The Writing Skills Specialist can help you to really grasp what you are supposed to be doing with your topic, and how to navigate APA and other formats. 

The reality is that getting good marks takes effort, and you are capable of pulling it off. Your classmates are in the same boat, so reach out to them and learn from them as well. You’ve got this.