Midterms week and Finals week at CNU can seem like the darkest of times. After weeks of hard work and studying you are confronted with about five days that can make or break everything that you have done in your classes up until that point. As the weeks approach, you can feel like you are standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest, the peak seems so far away and you know that you have a grueling and physically taxing quest ahead of you. The only difference is that when grades come back, you are not necessarily going to feel triumph when you are done.
All around campus people are utilizing their “tried and true” methods for getting the best possible grades on their exams. Some people drink some special energy drink that they “swear makes you way smarter”. Others turn to epic movies like Disney’s Hercules or 300 to motivate them to achieve their best in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
I have my own way, and it has seemed to work quite well each semester. In the realm of everything but math, the best method for me: FLASH CARDS.
These seemingly innocent-looking index cards can be the difference between victory and defeat on test day. The process of writing up the cards in the first place is a great way to review, but if you get someone in your class to sit down and run through the cards with you until you have them memorized, you will find that you can recall just about all the information on those cards when you are taking the test. I’m not saying that it’s fool-proof or it works for everyone, but I’ve noticed that on tests that I have prepped with flashcards, I will usually get ten points more than I usually would.
Outside of flashcards, studying for midterms requires motivation, and, sometimes; company. Girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends, and academic competitors are great to study with. The people you choose to study with ought to challenge you to memorize more and focus as much as possible. The right study partner can make the difference between being prepared, and having played Super Smash Bro’s for six hours straight.
But likely the best advice I can give to students as Midterms or Finals week approaches is to listen and reflect on the words of Samwise Gamgee: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”