My Tips for Tackling Midterms

My Tips for Tackling Midterms

By: Ted Fairfield

With midterms looming over students at the Charter School of Wilmington, the author offers light-hearted advice on how to weather the scantron storm. Image from

As midterm exam time approaches, I thought the best way to give back to the Charter community would be to offer some extremely helpful advice. Here are my top six tips for successfully tackling midterms. 

1) Don’t procrastinate….but if you must, do it right.

There are certain priorities that everyone has in life, and some are just more important than others. I was once given timeless advice by one of my peers who currently attends an Ivy League college: “Make sure you watch at least an hour of your favorite tv show after school every day.” I’ve consistently followed that advice, and it has drastically increased my productivity and has significantly increased my academic performance.

2) Make sure you bring all of the materials you need to class

I highly suggest that you pack your bag with all of the essentials the night before the big exam. Make sure you pack the following: a calculator, pencils, highlighters, a stuffed animal for comfort, and a bucket for your tears. Now some of those items may seem unusual or unnecessary, and I’d agree. But I would still bring the highlighter just in case you need it for annotating. 

3) Study for the most important subjects first. Then study the less important ones.

I really felt like this was an important tip for my success in midterms. That is why I make sure to spend a little extra time studying lunch. I make sure that I read over the cafeteria menu on Red Clay’s website (sometimes for hours and hours) to make sure that I understand the contents fully. Definitely put the APs that you're taking on the back burner until you’ve finished studying for higher priority classes. 

4) The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. 

The stress of the midterm can be far worse than the actual taking of it. So here’s my advice: Don’t think about all of the life changing impacts that failing a midterm could have. Ultimately, the worst that could happen is that you may not pass the class…. or graduate high school....or go to college…. or get married…. or have children…. or live a happy, healthy, prosperous life. But I’d totally erase that notion from your mind. 

5) Do you believe in a God of some kind? Well you better start now.

As former President Ronald Reagan once said, “As long as there are final exams, there will be prayers in school.” Those words hold true, even at Charter. Here, there are two types of teachers: ones who give tough midterms and ones who give impossible midterms. That’s why I’ve kept my focus on lunch instead of worrying about minor classes like AP Latin.

6) Stay as calm as possible during the test

I understand the stress involved with going through the midterm process, so here’s a good tip: If you’re feeling nervous during the test, stretch, walk around the room, get a drink of water, walk out the school doors, get in your car, and take the first flight to Hawaii. That will drastically decrease your stress and nerves and will allow you to perform at optimum levels of efficiency. 

In all seriousness, though, make sure you study hard, and most importantly stay calm. You’ll do fine. And if you do really well (or really poorly), I may see you at the AP Lunch exam next year.

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