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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times


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12 Things I Wish I Knew As A Freshman Going Into Midterms

12 Things I Wish I Knew As A Freshman Going Into Midterms

Freshman year constantly feels like you are a fish out of water. You are new to the school and now you are surrounded by people a lot older than you.  There is a whole other world on the other side of the middle school doors simply waiting for you and at times navigating it is truly hard. It is not just adjusting to the work and finding your classes that makes it difficult. Everything other than your classmates is completely different when you enter high school.  


One of the biggest differences between middle school and high school is having to take midterm and final exams.  I get easily overwhelmed  about school, (better yet tests) and began overthinking  about midterms significantly  earlier than the rest of my friends.  I kept reminding them about midterms and how nervous I was, making them nervous in the process.  Going into midterms, I was so intimidated  about having a test with that much information on it. Since I had never taken a test of that length and importance, everything about midterms made me so scared.  Now as a sophomore I can confidently tell you I survived midterms/finals and neither of them were as problematic as I made them out to be in my head.  That being said, I feel like I learned a lot about how to best prepare for midterms and manage my anxiety during this time last year.  I thought it would be helpful for freshmen to get a sophomore’s perspective on the tests and how to best prepare for them.  So here’s twelve  pieces of advice I wish I had during my first midterm season. 


*Start Studying A Week or Two Before The Actual Exam Period*:

This might seem completely excessive, but it will help you in the long run.  The actual week of the exams is worrisome and many late nights trying to cram. If you try to teach yourself four months of information over the span of 4 hours, you are  just going to overwhelm yourself even more. However, if you start looking over your notes a little bit each day (in the week leading up to the actual testing week) you’ll be familiar with the material when you begin studying for the actual test.  That way you are not completely overwhelmed by everything you have to do. 

*Prep During the Weekend Leading Up To Exams*:

I seriously can not emphasize how important the weekend leading up to midterms is for studying. The weekend leading into midterm week is a three day weekend, meaning you have three extra days of studying. Now I’m not saying that you spend every minute of that weekend studying. But what I am saying is that it is to your advantage to use some of that time to study. Most of my time last year during that weekend was spent studying but it only benefited me in the long run. It helped get myself prepared for the week ahead of me and put me in a really good place. 

*Use The Time You Have Been Given*:

This goes hand in hand with the last point. You have that weekend to get extra studying in and to become more prepared for the tests ahead of you. If you waste that time during the week of midterms you are just going to be more strained. The majority of midterm week consists of half days. Just because you can go out with your friends for hours on these half days does not mean you should. It’s not a normal half day for you to go out with your friends to Nick’s. Getting out of school early for a week is not for spending time with friends or playing video games  for hours. We’re getting out of school early to have extra time to study.  Use the time you can during the half days to study for whatever two midterms you have the next day. I promise, this is the best thing you can possibly do.  

*Study Exactly What is On The Study Guide*:

Most teachers will be giving a study guide on exactly what is  going to be on the test. This could range from topics to even practice questions. If a teacher has included specific practice questions, really spend time reviewing those because there is a good chance they could be asked on the test. The study guide will be the number one way to find what to study to be as prepared as you can for the midterm. 

*Be As Prepared As You Can Be* 

This might sound like a given but you would be surprised just how many people are not prepared for midterms. If teachers say you can bring a flash card or reference sheet it is in your best interest to make one.  If you are allowed to use a calculator for math, use it. These resources would not be given to you if your teacher did not think that having them would help.  

 * Take As Much Time On The Actual Exams As Possible* 

I am someone who feels nervous when I know tests are being timed. Even though you have 90 minutes to complete one test, there is time after school if you do not finish during the initial testing period.  Just because everyone else in the room is finished doesn’t mean that you need to rush to finish. Take your time, I promise it will be a better grade than if you just rush. 

*Use Study Methods You Know Work For You*

Midterm week is not the time to test out new study methods. Hopefully you have been studying for tests all year and have figured out what works for you. If you know that you learn the best with other people, then have a study session with your friends who are also taking the class. If you know that you memorize information the best by writing out flash cards, then make flash cards for everything. You already know what study methods work for you. Now you just need to implement them. 

*Be As Organized As Possible*

As someone who struggles with organization on a daily basis, I understand how stressful the thought of getting organized can be.  Something that really helped me prepare for midterms last year was making a checklist of everything I needed to do.  Seeing everything I had to do in one place was definitely overwhelming at first, but it felt so good to watch as the list got smaller.  Also you can only study one subject at a time. If you try to study multiple subjects at once, you may find yourself confused.  

*Review Your Grades on Ipass*

The week leading up to midterms should be one filled with time to review and ask teachers your last minute questions before you actually take the exams.  As the quarter comes to a close, this is a perfect time to review test grades on Ipass.  Looking at your lowest test grade and then asking that teacher to review that specific topic with you will make a big difference. It will help  refresh you on the gaps you might have missed in the first place.  Just because you initially got good grades on the tests does not mean you do not have to study it.  You should look over everything that is given out on the study guide as it is the most effective way to boost your confidence. 

*Actually Eat Breakfast and Go To Bed At A Decent Time*

While every teacher I have ever had has told us to do both of these things the night before a big exam, the majority of students will not listen to this advice. They will rush out the door(not wanting to be late for the exams) and they will be too busy to eat breakfast. However the breakfast they did not eat would have given them the energy necessary to power through the exams they have that day.  During the exam week you are bound to have many late nights studying. While I have been up till midnight trying to study for exams throughout the school year, focusing on school the next day is always so difficult.  While it might seem like a good idea at the moment to stay up late studying, it is actually better to just go to bed and get up earlier than normal. The later you stay up the harder it will be to take the exams without falling asleep.  The exam results might not reflect what you can do without proper sleep. 

*Reward Yourself For The Work  You Are Putting In and Take Breaks*

 Self care is so important during this time. The combination of little sleep and high stress levels makes everything seem so much more intense during this week. Part of self care is knowing your limits. It is great to push yourself but know that it is also okay to take a break. There is a distinct difference between motivation and the point when your brain is physically unable to take in any more information . When you feel like you have hit a mental wall, that is when it is time to step away from studying. Going for a walk, facetiming a friend or simply just scrolling mindlessly on social media are great study breaks. This way when you get back to work, you are ready to focus and have regained motivation to keep studying. You are putting your mind and body under so much pressure  that you need to take care of yourself.  You do not have to do anything massive to reward yourself. It could be something like watching an episode of your comfort show or listening to music.  My personal reward of choice is eating a little bit of Ben &Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream each day while I’m on a break. 

*Take A Breath, You’ve Got This*

My final piece of advice is to take a breath. You’ve studied this information and you know what you’re doing. You have worked so hard and now you just need to believe in yourself. If you get nervous during tests, ask your teachers if you can have a stress ball on your desk on the day of the exam. You are the most prepared you can be for this moment and at the end of the day one test does not define you. We all believe in you, now it’s just time to believe in yourself!

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About the Contributor
Elaina Freeman, Writer
Hi everyone! I’m Elaina Freeman and I’m a sophomore at Winthrop High School.  This is my second year on the staff and I can't wait to continue to share my stories with all of you. This club has given me the confidence to share my opinions and I am proud to be a member of the staff!  I am also a proud member of The Winthrop High School Drama Society and our school's creative writing club. Outside of writing, I enjoy playing my guitar and spending time with my friends and family. I’m so happy to be on the staff this year and can’t wait to see what we all do next!

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