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Thread: Did bad on first midterm

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    Did bad on first midterm

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    Hi all,

    I did very poorly on my first micro theory midterm. Close to bottom of the class. Any study tips for micro theory course? I studied a lot, but Iím not sure I studied smartly and that may be the problem. I really want to be here so I want to do better on my next test. (Iím a first year, so prelims also). How do I come back from this test?
    Thanks!

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    Re: Did bad on first midterm

    These may be obvious, but:
    1. Study as part of a group. Be sure you "teach" the others the problems you find hardest. You'll learn much more by explaining than by listening.
    2. Do all the problems from old exams, etc., thoroughly. Not much changes in first-year courses.

    Maybe not obvious: Don't sweat a bad exam too much. First year is a shock to everyone's system.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Did bad on first midterm

    I bombed the first exam too. I think I got like 40% and was about 4th from the bottom of the class. I picked it up and did alright in the classes and passed the quals.

    I can just confirm what Startz said. I didn't have a great group throughout the classes, but joined one when studying for the qualifier and it made a huge difference. Going to the board and working out a problem in front of everybody is kinda scary, but it really helps you learn.

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    Re: Did bad on first midterm

    Both of the above bits of advice are excellent - I can only add that you don't have to have just one group of people with whom you study, but things just naturally seem to gravitate that way. It also helps if you get along with your study group members on a personal level too, so don't just try to join one that has all the seemingly smart people

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    Re: Did bad on first midterm

    I remember a disconnect between the class material and exams when I was in first year. I prepared for exams by doing endless Varian problems and trying to really understand the pedagogical purpose of the problem sets (ask yourself why a particular question was on your problem set, what concept does it help with? why is that important?)

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    Re: Did bad on first midterm

    Could you describe the questions in your midterm relative to what was presented in class and in your problem sets, and also which questions gave you the most difficulty?

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    Re: Did bad on first midterm

    Thanks! This is all helpful. I went through tons of practice exams and did them, but it didnít seem to help. I got a 76, which is close to the bottom of my class currently. I need a B- total to pass the class. The test was similar but there were lots of tricks of things we hadnít seen before. Iím guessing that I just didnít really have the intuition behind the questions down well enough to understand what to do when something was changed about it.

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    Re: Did bad on first midterm

    Hmm, this is what I thought. Most tests contain questions that are nearly identical to what was presented in class or in the problem sets, and a smaller set of questions similar to the former but that challenge the intuition or assumptions underlying the economic theory. In addition to the above advice, make it a habit to understand the underlying assumptions, mechanics, and intuition behind the theory, models, and questions presented to you. Be sure to ask yourself "What would happen if I changed this/removed this/or added this". This is the hardest but best way to learn, and it will ingrain in you the right way to approach and question research.

    Make sure to visit professors during office hours and to only pose these kinds of questions after you have given them much thought (never make it a habit to regularly pose these questions without putting in any effort). Once you understand what is going on, present them to your working group members. Chances are they will come up with questions, and this will be a good chance for you to see how much you actually know.

    Don't worry about blowing a test. I got the lowest score on many exams. No one remembers. You aren't measured by your failures. You are measured by your greatest accomplishments.

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