Now that the first round of midterms is almost over, you’ve probably started to get your first midterm grades back. If you didn’t do as well as you expected on an exam, don’t be discouraged! Taking college exams is not an easy task, especially if you’ve never taken one before. Now that you are more familiar of how an actual college exam works, let’s take some time to reflect on how you can improve the next time around!
Here are some tips that I have found helpful after getting a disappointing grade on a midterm.
Talk to your instructor
Stop by office hours and go over your exam with the instructor. This is really helpful because you’ll be able to go over your mistakes and find out why your answers were incorrect. Make sure to ask questions and always ask to clarify a topic that you do not completely understand. Your professors are always willing to give you guidance on how to approach their class, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them!
Develop new study habits
In high school, you may not have studied much for midterms. In college, studying may require hours at Thompson Library, memorizing pages of notes and study guides. This is not always the most effective way to study the material. In my time as a college student, I’ve learned that it’s not about how long you study, but rather how well you study. The Dennis Learning Center in the Younkin Success Center has several student resources for effective study skills. You can also attend Use Your Brain! Memory Tools for Effective Studying (register through the First Year Success Series) if you want to learn a new way to study!
Make use of the resources on campus
Ohio State has so many resources on campus. The university wants its students to succeed above and beyond and it is only fitting that we use these resources to our advantage. Check out these campus tutoring centers (if you haven’t already) for help with subjects that many students study in their first year.
Hold yourself accountable
Too often we place the blame on the professor with a different accent, or on our friends for distracting us, but we need to be the one to take responsibility for the disappointing grade. Placing the blame on someone or something else is counterproductive because then you will never be able to recognize how you can do better in the future! If you do get a bad grade, it’s okay to be upset about it, but then try to find ways to improve yourself. The best way to deal with a bad grade is to put in the effort to do things differently and to strive even harder the next time for the grade you feel like you deserve.
Getting your first bad grade on an exam can make you rethink a lot of things in life: your major, your career choice, and maybe even your time here at Ohio State. Don’t fret! Everyone struggles with staying motivated at one time or another…I know I still do! Just know that we can get through this together! I found this article about staying motivated in college to be helpful.
The most successful students are the ones who ask for help when they need it! Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support, whether it’s from your professor, your TA, your RA or even your Peer Leader. Just know that together, we are all here to help you pave your path to success! Stay positive, work hard and make it happen!