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UCLA Professors Share Midterm Study Tips

It’s midterms season (already? yep, already). Since we’d all like to ace our exams this winter, we asked for some tips from the experts: professors. Professor Marc Trachtenberg, who teaches in the department of political science, was gracious enough to share his advice with us.

1. Form a study group.

Trachtenberg: I think that the main thing is you want to get together with other students in the class to kind of prepare … And then what you do in the study group is try to put yourself in the professor’s mind, and try to figure out what kind of questions the professor will ask, or indeed, has to ask in order to test whether you’re getting what you’re supposed to get.

2. Go back and listen to the first lecture.

To the extent that you can, go back and look at the syllabus, the description of what the exams will be … Go back and, if you can, listen to the tape of the first lecture, so you can hear the description of what the exams will be like. 

Professor Thomas Schwartz, also of the department of political science, chimed in with his advice as well…

3. Make sure you know where your exam will be.

Schwartz: Make sure you check and re-check when the exam is and where it is. You’d be surprised…

I once was giving an exam to this huge class … and this student walks in a half-hour late. I make him sit up front … and he’s staring and staring and flipping and flipping the pages. He was going through all kinds of pain, and finally, he stands up and slams it down and says, “This isn’t chemistry!

Finally, Professor Schwartz offered this one last bit of advice:

4. Remember: Professors just want you to be happy.

Say what? (Read on).

Schwartz: We don’t care about exams. We just want you to learn the material. Understandably, you care about exams. But if you would just figure out what we’re looking for, or ask us if it’s unclear what you’re supposed to remember … then we’re happier because you learn what we want you to learn, and you are much better prepared for the exam.

Then we’re happy and you’re happy. What could be better?

Hm, perhaps all the glory of learning without all the midterms? But that’s just wishful thinking…

Are there any midterm techniques that you’ve learned and would like to share with everyone? Comment below or tweet us @dbmojo.

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