On Midterms

I originally wrote this article for Volume 120, Issue 3 of mathNEWS.

It’s midterm season! Wheeeee!

  • Don’t forget to sleep. Sleep deprivation results in silly mistakes, like trying to argue in a proof that 1 + 1 = 1.
  • Drink lots of water this month, to avoid dehydration. Except right before and during the midterm itself, because then you’ll need to pee and you’ll be too distracted to write your midterm.
  • If you’re allowed to bring a snack with you during midterms, bring one in. If you’re doing well, you can nom on it to celebrate. If you’re not doing so well, perhaps it’ll help cheer you up. Choose something that’s not too messy… maybe a cup of fruit salad?
  • Bring a backup pen or three. If you’re allowed calculators, consider bringing both solar-panel-powered and battery-backed variants (that are approved by the faculty, where appropriate).
  • Sleeeeep.
  • Spend a little time with your friends, too. You don’t want to be so lonely that you can’t concentrate on study.
  • Did I say sleep?