How Not to Take a Midterm

Tuesday, February 15, 2005, at 09:10AM

By Eric Richardson

I have to be honest with you... I'm not the best of students. That's why it's not too surprising that I got up this morning worried I might have some assignment coming up that I had forgotten about. I checked my syllabi and sure enough, I had a midterm today in my earthquakes class. The downside was I hadn't at all studied for it, but the upside was I actually knew about it before the test itself. In the body I'll give you an encapsulated version of how not to go about preparing for a midterm, but yet how to get off lucky and hopefully get away with it.

  • 9:00am: So I found out about the midterm sometime around 9:00am. I have a 10am class that runs until 11:45, and then my earthquakes class is at 12:30pm. During my first class I participated, but at least half my attention was focused on reading through the lecture powerpoints which had been posted online.

  • 11:45am: After class I went to Carl's Jr. and had a quick lunch. I also read through a few of the past exam questions which had been put online. I also here noticed/remembered that the midterm would be open-book/open-note.

  • 12:00pm: Finished eating I went to the USC bookstore and bought the textbook for the class. I also bought a mechanical #2 pencil.

  • 12:15pm: I make it into the classroom. Someone asks me if I have Internet. She wants to make sure she's in the right room. Only then do I find out that there are three exam rooms, broken up by lab sections. I luck into being in a section that is in our main lecture room.

  • 12:30pm: Exam starts.

I actually think I did ok. There was a lot I didn't know, but factual stuff I was able to do ok at looking it up in the book. The first twenty questions were short answer / fill in the blanks, and then forty questions were true/false or multiple choice.

The results will be curved, and I don't think everyone finished, so just getting answers down to everything should help me out. And, in the end, the final is worth the same as both midterms put together, so most of the points are still to come.