Columnist offers advice to freshmen as they approach midterms

By Josie Stewart, ‘21

I’m a sophomore—class of 2021. But even by the Arlingtonian staff, I am often referred to as a freshman. Despite looking confused and young to most, as a sophomore with two older siblings, I have started to understand everything at the high school.

I took a few high school classes during 8th grade, so this year will be my third year taking midterms. The mention of midterms alone can cause two reactions from the freshmen who are preparing for them—a total state of panic or acting completely ignorant to the fact that they’re approaching. Neither reaction is how you should feel.

By Josie Stewart, ’21

As with any test, it’s perfectly okay to be stressed to some point. I have my fair share of horror stories. But when thinking about it, midterms are only 20 percent of your final semester grade—the only grade that colleges will see on your transcript.

That 20 percent can be the difference of one letter grade, but in perspective, it’s important to know that a bad grade on midterms is not the worst thing. You grade is padded from all the assignments and tests that you have endured over the past two quarters. Remember it is only a test and you should treat it as such. Building up anxiety and pressure toward it will only make you less motivated and more stressed.

Although it’s not always make or break, it’s still important to prepare.

Not only will studying make you more successful, you will also review all the material you will need for the following quarters and, eventually, final exams.

More specifically for studying, do what works best for you. Prepare as you usually would for any test. Create a climate where you feel comfortable and avoid studying for 14 hours in one day—I’ve learned that from experience.

Rather, I find it best to review all subjects in the week or weekend before and then go as in-depth as possible for each class the night before.

Preparing how you would for any test is the best thing to do. Utilizing all sources you can can also help. Collaborate with peers, work with Peer Tutors and ask teachers for guidance.

The testing schedule breaks up periods into three days of testing. If you have all of your most challenging tests on one day, don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers. In most situations, they’ll allow you to move some tests around to make studying easier.

Your grades aren’t everything—especially with midterms. Even if you don’t get the grade you were hoping for, as freshmen, you have three more years to build your transcript and achieve all that you can hope for.

As an honorary freshman, I offer these words to you, and as we approach these exams, I wish you nothing but luck.