Test Anxiety and Midterms

Midterms are exams that happen about the middle of the semester. Not every class has a midterm exam, but for those who do, they are definitely on your students’ minds. Midterms can provoke anxiety in students because this is the first time they are experiencing college midterms. Here are a few things to think about regarding midterms.

It is not unusual to see midterm grades that are lower than what a student was used to in high school. If this is the case with your student, do not panic. Sometimes first-year students study for tests the same way they did in high school, or expected to deliver the same kind of answers on tests – for example, students may be memorizing facts, but in college a professor wants them to understand and apply concepts to show their mastery of the material. You can see from this illustration of Bloom’s Taxonomy that there are various levels of thinking. The level students were expected to perform at in high school is lower than where they will need to perform Bloom's Taxonomy, which show the heightened levels of conceptual thinking and mastery of informationin college.

You may want to ask your student some rhetorical questions – not for them to answer in that moment, but for them to reflect on in their own time (so they find their own solutions):

How/when/where are you studying? Could there be another time/place that might be more conducive to studying?

Did you visit your professor during their office hours whenever there was something that you did not fully understand?

What kinds of tutoring options are available?

Were you approaching your midterms having had a good night’s sleep? 

How are you planning your time for homework, studying, etc.? Could there be a better way to keep track of your work and allow you the time you need to prep for exams?

College is harder than high school,and many students have a hard time realizing that changes need to be made in their study habits.  As parents/family members, remember to be supportive of your student.  Remember that the thirty second frantic call home is when your child feels the most overwhelmed.  There is still plenty of time to improve.  Your student should use the first few months of school to discover what it takes to succeed.  With support from home and Wake Forest’s many resources, your student will learn what works best.



To contact the Office of Family Engagement, please visit our contact page.

If Your Student Has a Problem

One of the best ways parents/families can help their students is to let them solve their own problems. Use the Stop, Drop, and Roll method when your student contacts you with a problem.  The flyer also lists contact information for serious concerns where family intervention might be appropriate.

Orientation 2019 slide shows

Select slide shows and handouts from Orientation sessions are available online.