Moving forward from midterms

opinion
October 31, 2013
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Karen Piper
The Silhouette

Every year I listen to fellow students ramble on about how stressful midterms can be and the burden they have to bear of earning a reasonably ‘good’ grade on these seemingly purposeful academic assessments. Well, with Fall 2013 being my first term at McMaster, I generally had a positive attitude towards midterms and vowed my best to study hard and perform exceptionally well.

Of course, that is in a fairytale world where Thanksgiving break does not exist right before most midterms, where there are no group assignments due during the same period and one where you actually have no other life besides school. Needless to say, every one of us has multiple responsibilities, some more paramount than others.

However, should we blame our poor performance on midterm examinations on the fact that we have other commitments?  Now, please do not misinterpret this previous statement, I am well aware of the fact that many students do work tirelessly and subsequently do achieve exceptionally good grades. Nonetheless, every time I hear a conversation about midterms, it mainly has negative connotations.

Why is this so? Are we ashamed to admit that we do not have proper time management skills or that we failed to attend many of our classes during the first half of the term?

In Organizational Behavior (Commerce 2BA3), there is a unit called ‘Self Serving Bias’ which states that one generally has the propensity to take full credit for successful outcomes and deny responsibility for failures. Therefore, if we receive a good grade on one midterm, we accept all the praise and recognition associated with that outcome.

On the other hand, if our grade is disappointing, we tend to blame this outcome on the ‘poor teaching strategies’ of the professor, confusing terminology on the exam and so forth. As a student myself, after receiving a few midterm grades last week which were less than outstanding, I decided to do some self-reflection; for once I stopped blaming external factors for my “average” performance and decided that I needed to take full responsibility for my below par performance.

I suggest that we all do the same. It is true that midterms are unfortunately always around the Thanksgiving period. During this time, we would rather forget about our academic responsibilities and viagra canada online spend quality time with our family and loved ones. And who can blame us?

However, maybe if we developed an efficient study-schedule that commenced at least a week or two before Thanksgiving, we wouldn’t be tangled in a dichotomy between studying and turkey. Ample use of plenty idle time during the first few weeks of the term can save students from a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety come mid-October.

In other words, procrastination is our biggest downfall. Our saving grace should be learning from our past midterm experiences and developing a plan to perform better each year by strategizing how we are going to manage our study time. Having said this, many midterms are now over! Whew! It is almost pointless to agitate over what we could have done better.

Now is the time to enforce new, productive habits that will lead to a better performance in the final examinations. I will leave you with a quote that has great meaning to me and is quite relevant to university life: “It is not about how many times you fail, but how many times you strive to succeed after failure.”

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