Failed Midterm

In this week’s edition of Science 101, Bwog Science Editor, Intro Bio TA, and science intro-sequence veteran Alex Tang brings you his advice on what to do if you didn’t do so hot on your first midterm. Most of us know that feeling – you log onto Canvas to check that grade from last week’s gen chem or astrophysics or immunology midterm. A midterm worth only 10% combined with the fact that you consider 60% failing screams liberal arts or something. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just curious. But yes, obviously you can. The next time you’re asked, “do you need a ride?” the answer might just be “yes.” Bring your failed midterm with you, and cry your eyes out while the pedicab man pushes the pedals. You’ll be going so fast, nobody will even see you crying. 3.) In the rubble of the crumbling Union: The Union is dead. A failed midterm is a great learning opportunity. Take the time to honestly assess the specific subject areas where your knowledge and understanding are the strongest and the weakest. Once you know what these are, you can put more study time into the weaker areas to rectify the situation. A bad midterm is pure gold when it comes to doing better. It’s no fun to revisit, but if you go through the questions or problems you missed and rework them, you’ll learn the concepts. While doing this, look for patterns to your mistakes to help you identify what to do differently next time.

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Midterms and fall break are over, but you’re not feeling relaxed after that week-long vacation. Instead, you’re thinking about building a time machine to go back and redo that disappointing midterms week.

If your midterms did not go as planned, and you’re not sure about the steps to take to improve your declining grades, don’t fret. There are studying strategies, test-taking tips and steps you can take post-test to raise your grade.

As a student, you have many resources, and one of the best is your professors. It can be daunting to talk to a professor at first. Brenda Greiner, director of the Shepard Academic Resource Center, suggests going to office hours with a friend to ease those feelings.

“The (professors) are the experts in this discipline. They know the components students will struggle with the most,” Greiner said.

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Other students in class are also great resources. Nursing professor Laura Mood says a study group can be helpful, as you can compare answers with other people, hear new ideas and teach each other the material, therefore strengthening your understanding in the process.

The University of Portland also offers students a wealth of resources in the Shepard Academic Resource Center (SARC), located in Buckley Center 101. While SARC generally advises first-year students, students considering a change in major and first-generation college students, it is also available to any student who would like academic support. If you are considering withdrawing from a class, the SARC can also assist you in making that decision.

The Learning Commons in Buckley Center 163 has peer tutors for classes in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing and the School of Business. The SARC website also has many online resources for students. All of the Shepard Academic Resource Center and Learning Commons’ resources are paid for by tuition.

“Your tutors are fellow students, which is really nice because they’ve been in your shoes and in the class,” said senior Caitlin Varquez, this year’s Orientation Assistant Coordinator.

University of Portland’s Learning Assistance Counselor Br. Tom Giumenta is also available to help students who feel stressed, overwhelmed or like there’s not enough time in the day to accomplish everything.

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Giumenta can help students integrate strategies into their schedule that enable them to manage their time more efficiently. He said he wants to help students achieve academic success with no all-nighters, stress, pressure or sleeplessness.

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“(I want students to say) ‘I feel good because not only am I learning, I’m balanced, I have time for everything I want and I feel like I’ve accomplished something without stress,’ Giumenta said.

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Greiner believes every midterm should be considered feedback, not failure. She considers it one piece of information that needs to be analyzed in the context of the class, and students can decide how to use that information to improve their grade.

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Varquez also says that students shouldn’t neglect their health when trying to raise their grades.

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“We stress out so much that we think we can forgo self-care,” said Varquez. “(We think) ‘Oh, I really need to study, oh, I can’t work out right now because this is more important.’ But in fact, that hinders you even more because then..you can’t focus as well or you’re even more stressed.”

Failed Midterm

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