Have you ever felt like college is overrated? Do you just want to drop out, hit the road and live somewhere in the woods raising chickens? Well, here’s how to fail your midterm exams, papers and even those tiny extra credit assignments that seem impossible to fail. It’s the manual you never asked for and didn’t know you needed.
Midterms will sneak up on you; prepare as soon as you get your syllabus on day one.
1. Make a Schedule
Open up Google Calendar or use a day planner. Write down every assignment, paper and exam you have for the semester. Then, open up a bag of gummy bears. Pour the gummy bears into a saucepan and, over medium heat, melt the gummy bears down into a warm jelly, stirring constantly. Now, take the saucepan and slowly pour the jelly over your calendar, laptop, phone or all of the above. Keep pouring until you’ve used all the bear jam or until you can no longer read your deadlines through the multicolored puddle, whichever comes first. Out of sight, out of mind. Deadlines have never been so sweet.
2. Go to Class
Class attendance is a #majorkey. It’s the perfect time to catch up on the more pressing matters in your life, like knitting a scarf made entirely out of rubber bands, practicing your kazoo skills or, most importantly, your literacy skills. Watching Netflix on silent with subtitles is a real academic achievement. Better yet, put in your headphones and turn the volume up to the max. As long as you don’t hear a word the professor says, you’re golden.
3. Go to Office Hours
Email your professor beforehand with a few questions you want to discuss so she knows ahead of time. Once you’re there, chat with the prof until she mentions anything related to “reading” or “books.” This is your moment. Put on your raddest shades, whip out your hoverboard and roll out of the office yelling, “Nerd alert! Nerd alert!” It’s your duty as a Cool Kid to make sure all Lame Nerds know who they are.
4. Ask Questions in Class
Actually—just one question. Every time the professor mentions a new scholar and/or author to study, raise your hand and politely ask, “Wasn’t he the dad from Drake and Josh?” every time.
5. Get a Study Group Together
If you can, make sure you book a study room in the library ahead of time—those fill up fast during midterm season. Everyone will show up, notes in hand, to notice you in evening wear (a tuxedo or gown; either would work perfectly in this scenario). People might find this a bit odd, but they’ll shake it off and open their books to study. About half an hour in, someone in the group will fall over… dead. Not to worry; he’s a paid actor that you hired to fake his death. At this moment, you stand and welcome your classmates to the Murder Mystery Study Group. No one is allowed to leave until you find the killer.
6. Use Your Textbooks
Nothing makes better kindling, am I right? Start with a couple of pages from your $300 book on Abnormal Psychology to get a small flame going. From there, you can move on to your $400 Intro to Anthropology text and your $275 MLA Handbook. Only then will the e-books and free pdf downloads burn nice and bright. Don’t forget marshmallows for s’mores!
7. Read the Directions
Chances are, your professors included some handy instructions to your assignments and papers on their syllabi. Go ahead and read them… and then treat them like the stage directions in a Shakespeare play—i.e., ignore them completely. You are an artist and these guidelines are merely up to interpretation. Oh, the assignment calls for MLA citations? How about Moon citations? Cite your source as if it’s an alien on the moon. Doesn’t this feel more fun? And less grade-able?
8. Make Notecards
What better way to fail than to make a good stack of notecards? Start with every word you know that rhymes with “door.” Make a card for every word. Floor, more, pour, roar, soar, bore. You’ll feel that much smarter when you realize how many words you already know. Who needs college? Now onto “cat.” Rat, sat, mat…
9. Write an Outline
Every midterm paper needs one. Most of your paper outlines will be 8×11 rectangles, but who knows what other fun shapes you can make? Grab a crayon and get started. You may need some scissors to make more shapes with the paper in question. Get festive during winter exams and make some nice snowflakes or some midterm study guide hearts for Valentine’s Day.
10. Pack the Night Before
Exams can last hours, so make sure you pack a few snacks. Almonds, for example, are a delicious source of protein and crunch. So before your exams, pack plenty of almonds. Fill your backpack with almonds. Stuff your pockets with handfuls of almonds the way Napoleon Dynamite stuffs his pockets with tater tots. There’s no exam. There’s no study guide, no professor, no class. There are almonds. Only almonds.
11. Get Some Rest
Not right away, though. First, you have to freak out and stay up all night before this crazy exam you have. Who thought failing was a good idea? Spend hours going over every chapter, note and lecture slide you have. Maybe have a panic attack or two. Then, finally, once the cold gray light of dawn breaks over the roof of your dorm, set an alarm for ten minutes after your exam ends and embrace sleep.
12. Believe in Yourself
Listen, you can do this. It may seem impossible but you have worked long and hard to fail these midterms. You’ve made yourself aware of deadlines, gone to class, spoken with your professors and even slept through the exam. The sheer effort that it takes to fail as completely as you’re planning to is insane. An academic parkour, of sorts. Many people have failed before you, but how many can say they crashed and burned like this? If you succeed in this level of failure, you have my utmost respect. Now go back to sleep!
Midterm madness can get pretty funny. Here’s an actual step-by-step gameplan to help you pass.
Viviana Victoria > Undecided > Freshman > Florida State University
As college students, we all know how hectic midterm week can be, with barely getting any hours of sleep, overdosing on caffeine and seriously stressing. It can be tough to balance study time during this crazy week, but somehow we get through it. Whether it’s by spending hours at the library, forming study groups, or getting tutoring, we all have our own ways of surviving this stressful week.
At the beginning of the semester, most professors hand out a syllabus with exam dates. Mark your calendar; knowing when your exams are is the first step. By doing so, it makes it easier to map out study time and figure out your exam schedule and mentally prepare.
When studying for exams, make sure to study effectively. Whether it’s studying by yourself, making study guides or studying with a study group, figuring out good study habits is key.
Take study breaks in between. Eat healthy snacks, stay hydrated and take some time to relax. Going to the gym and exercising are great ways to relieve stress and get away from the library.
If you have to pull an all-nighter, make sure to drink coffee or energy drinks to keep you awake. If you have time, try to get at least a couple hours of sleep.
On exam day, make sure to eat a big breakfast to fuel your body for the big day ahead. Stay calm and try to read the instructions of each test so that you don’t make any mistakes that could end up costing you.
Different things work for different people. After your first midterm, you will become better at managing your time and studying. The first midterm might be hell, but as long as you organize your time effectively, the ones after won’t be as bad.
*Updated March 18, 2016 by Viviana Victoria to include “Midterm Madness.”