Midterms and Exams: What You Need To Know

Happy Midterm season!

Midterms and exams can be extremely stressful, especially if they are your first ever college exams! I was able to come out of my first exams with my head above the water, but there is major room to improve my understanding for my courses. Today I am going to talk about a couple things that have helped me succeed inside of the classroom, but also many programs that U of I offers to students to help them succeed.

Attending Class and Taking Notes

One of the easiest things that you can do to help yourself succeed in a course is simply attending class. There is so much valuable information that you are able to get from a lecture or a discussion, that it is always in your best interest to attend. Only miss classes if you have to, and even then, make sure that you contact your professor or TA to make sure you understand the material that you missed.

Along with this, taking good notes is very important. Not every word in the presentation is necessary to write down, so always differentiate between the information that is important from “page fillers”. Summarizing is a very important skill to have, along with a quick hand, in order to get all of the notes in.

Side note: Most instructors either record their lectures, post the information they teach (such as PowerPoints or note pages) on ICON or their personal teaching websites, so always keep an eye out for that.

Study Guides and Practice Tests

Study guides are another great way to review and remaster different concepts learned throughout the semester. However, not all teachers release a study guide for every chapter. I have found it beneficial to create my own study guide, based on the notes and information I’ve been given. Not only does this help you retain information by doing it, but it ensures that you know how to study for the test.

Another great way to study for success is through practice tests. Many professors and TA’s are able to upload exams from past semesters, as long as they are creating a new one. Practice exams give you a real opportunity to witness what past exams may be like in order to prepare you for the real exam. I find these the most helpful, mostly because you are able to understand the potential format of the true test.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

One of the most important things that you need in order to succeed in an exam is how you take care of yourself. Here are some quick things to remember.

    • Set a sleep schedule!!
    • Fuel your body with healthy brain foods!
    • Always remember to stay positive when preparing and taking a test!

Good luck on midterms and GO HAWKS!

A Day in the Life

Hey again Hawks!

My first few weeks of classes have been phenomenal! I am proud to say that I now know the difference between the East and West sides of campus, along with familiarizing myself with the CamBus system. I have made new connections, tried new things, and have been getting involved around campus.

I’m going to take you through a day of my schedule, particularly my busiest day, Monday!


I start the day with waking up around 8:30 and I ALWAYS make my bed first. It stops the temptation when I want to crawl back into my bed. I get ready to go to class, pack up my bag, and head out the door by 9:15 to go to my first class.

My first class is Elementary Spanish II, directly corresponding with my Spanish minor. It runs about 50 minutes, from 9:30-10:20. The class is extremely fun! It’s filled with speaking practice, going over homework, and cultural enrichment. This is by far my favorite class of the day.

After this class, I go back to my dorm, grab a light breakfast and some coffee, and head up to the study lounge on my floor. I really enjoy studying in the lounge because it has a beautiful view of the river, along with an outlook of the West Side of campus. For the rest of the morning, you can find me here, working on various homework assignments. I always have some kind of Spanish homework to complete, along with a combo of algebra, chemistry, and writing. My course load is not too overbearing, but keeps me occupied.


Usually I go and get lunch around 12:30 with one of my friends down in the Catlett Marketplace. There are so many different styles of food, and they are often rotating through, so I almost never eat the same meal. Between 12:00 and 1:00 pm, the seating in the cafeteria is always spotty, so sometimes we struggle to find a seat. By the time we leave, it’s 1:00, so we head straight to General Chemistry I.

Even though the class starts at 1:30, we aim to get there early because the lecture has around 350 people in it. It is a giant lecture hall, but we always sit right in the front row. This not only helps us better understand what is going on, but also eliminates distractions from the people sitting in front of us.

Class ends at 2:20, and I usually head back to the lobby in my residence hall to revise and retype my chemistry notes. This is very important to me because in order to accurately process and absorb the information, you have to understand the notes written for each lecture. Then I usually grab a quick snack from my room and head out to my Chemistry Discussion at 4:30.

My chemistry discussion is a time to review the material that was taught during the weeks lecture. It’s filled with practice problems that help further the knowledge we were taught in class. Chemistry is my hardest class by a mile, so this discussion helps me out a lot.

The turn around is pretty quick for my last class, College Algebra, which goes from 6:30 to 8:20 pm. Yes, it’s a pretty late class, but so worth it. It only meets on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and we do get a short break in between. Since I enjoy math, it’s a breeze.

Well that was a very general recap of the many different classes I take on a Monday!

Go Hawks!

CyHawk Weekend!

Hey again!

This weekend I was lucky enough to Ames, Iowa, where the annual Iowa vs. Iowa State football game was held this year. Thankfully, one of my very good friends, Maria, has an apartment close to the Iowa State campus, so I stayed with her.

I went up on Friday night, and even then, the traffic was CRAZY. I don’t know a single person who wasn’t emotionally invested in this specific game. I got to my destination with no issues, and prepared myself for an insanely fun weekend. That night, I got to try fantastic spicy food from a local noodle kitchen and spend time with my friends.

Saturday, it was all for: GAME DAY! Maria and I were NOT going to deal with the crazy people in the football game, so we went to a watch party at one of her friend’s house. My day was filled with Christ, food, fun, and football! I made lots of new friends (even if most of them were Cyclones fans).

Maria, Cassie, and Me

Now I’m not much of a football expert, but I think it’s safe to say that this game was INSANE! After the first rain delay, I had already lost interest in the game. I was tired and didn’t want to wait the 30 minutes until they could play again… 49 minutes later, my interest peaked again as they finished the first quarter. With the score 7-3 Cyclones, you can imagine my frustration when they called another rain delay. Now I knew the weather would be sketchy, but it got dangerous outside. Thunderstorms and even some hail scattered the area. Everyone thought the game would be cancelled… but it wasn’t. Many hours after the game was supposed to be over, they started to play football AGAIN.

At this point in the game, it is a complete toss-up between the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones. Personally, I didn’t think that it was Iowa’s best game, but the Cyclones played exceptionally well except for two plays. If you watched the game at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In one play, the quarterback fell flat on his face after losing traction on the field, and even though it wasn’t his fault, it was pretty devastating for the Cyclones. The second play that probably cost them the win, was when one of the players blocked another from catching, resulting in an interception and a win from the Hawkeyes.

No matter what, the Hawkeyes came home with the Cy-Hawk trophy for the 5th consecutive year. My weekend in Ames was incredible, being able to experience my first rivalry game and making lots of friends along the way.

Until next time, GO HAWKS!

My First Week in Iowa City

Hey Hawkeyes!!

This past week, I was so fortunate to be able to move to the University of Iowa Campus. Since the day I moved, I have been exposed to tons of new and fun activities, people, and places around campus and in downtown Iowa City. Here are a few of the many exciting and new things that went on this week!

Move In Day!

The process of moving into a new living space can be very stressful and even overwhelming. Fortunately, these feelings are overcome by joy and excitement when you step on the University of Iowa campus. As soon as my family and I pulled up to Catlett, there were so many volunteers who directed us where to go, loaded my stuff into carts, and helped us get up to the room. It was so fantastic to have a staff of experienced students and employees who not only assisted you with getting things up into your room, but also bring a welcoming sense to your first day.

I went for a random roommate when picking my room, so I met her for the first time (in person) on move in day. For anyone who is on the edge about going random, I recommend that you DO IT! By going random, you open yourself up to a new friend immediately, and although it comes with a risk, it usually turns out to be rewarding.

Decorating our room was my favorite part about moving in. It allows you to customize your room and make it feel like your own space. The best part is you can continue to change and decorate it over time. It’s a team effort, an act that really brought me and my roommate together. Not only did we move furniture and decorate our own room to the max, but we helped lots of other people decorate their rooms as well.

Overall, moving in was a great first step into building foundations, meeting new people, and starting off a great week!

On Iowa!

On Iowa! is a required on campus orientation for first year and transfer students. It was held throughout campus from August 20th to the 25th, involving students in almost every way possible. Before the true orientation even started, many different organizations had set up different activities and outings. It ranged from an Iowa City Coffee Crawl to “Rec After Dark,” which consisted of many fun games and activities at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. It was a great way to make friends and get an idea of where buildings were around campus.

My favorite part about On Iowa! was definitely Kickoff at Kinnick. After a day of absorbing information through our small groups, we walked to Kinnick Stadium. Being in Kinnick itself is an experience, but this was no normal event. The On Iowa! staff and volunteers put together an impressive extravaganza. There was music, fire launchers, and around 3,000 new students all on Kinnick Field. We got to see the marching band, cheerleaders, and dance team perform before we formed a very impressive block “I” with the new class.

The best part of the whole new experience was doing the famous Iowa “Wave” to the top floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. This is a phenomenon that happens during every single home game, where the football stadium and players all turn to the hospital and wave to the children who are staying there. It was truly a blessing to be a part of this heart touching tradition.

My first weekend in Iowa City was one to remember. I am already surrounded with fantastic people, friends, and an AMAZING university.

Until next time,