Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Peer Adviser Post: How to Plow Through the Never-Ending Midterm Season

by Dylan Cooper, CC '18

I remember reading the syllabus in my General Chemistry class during my first year. I remember that awkward moment when I asked the student sitting next to me if our professor had made a mistake in scheduling the midterms, which spanned from the third week of classes till the day before reading week.

He hadn't, and soon after I discovered an old Columbia adage:

There's nothing middle about midterms.

With more and more midterms creeping around the corner, it's crucial to take a deep breath and craft an effective game-plan to conquer those exams. But how do we tackle them within such a trying schedule?

Here are a few tips that I guarantee can help:

1. Call in the Calendar! Professors are required to send out syllabi to students which generally include dates of all major paper assignments and exams. Whether you have a daily planner or rely on your iPhone's Calendar or Reminders, it's always a great use of time to jot down these big dates. And while you're at it, include dates of religious holidays, upcoming conflicts and deadlines (e.g. CC/SEAS Drop Deadlines) so you can plan ahead!

2. Study Buddy Up! Even if you're the type of person who prefers studying alone, it's always helpful to compare notes before class or discuss study strategies with a classmate. Try introducing yourself to that student who's been sitting right in front of you all semester; chances are they're super friendly and may want to study with you for the next midterm. Two brilliant minds paired together are always better than one.

3. Put Those Resources to Use! If you're feeling nervous about the next midterm, speak to your TAs and/or professor. Their job is to help you learn — they're not out to get you. Ask for ways they'd recommend improving your studying plans and ensure their advice is tailored to you specifically.

Midterms can be a stressful, scary time for all of us. Be honest with yourself and spend your time wisely.

Breathe, study, and don't forget to sleep!

They'll be over before you know it.

James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
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Call: (212) 854-6378

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