Sorry about the long wait between blog posts – midterms have just ended and I have finally gotten a chance to breathe! This term, three of my classes had midterm exams: Ch41a, Ma2a and ACM95a. Each of these were four hour, take-home tests with slight differences; my Ch41a exam had to be taken with closed books and notes, the ACM95a exam allowed hand-written notes but no book and the Ma2a midterm could be taken with both open notes and book. As you can see, classes at Caltech administer exams in different ways – some classes do not even have tests (just problem sets, essays and/or projects).
Prior to midterm and final exams, most classes hold an exam review section where either the professor or the head TA spends an hour reviewing the material covered on the exams. Typically these are useful for seeing examples of key concepts and figuring out what you need to study more. Furthermore, your TA typically has a mini-review session during recitation section the week of midterms/finals. Overall, I feel the professors and TAs do a very good job indicating which topics are important and need to be studied more thoroughly.
Although most students usually have more finals than midterms, midterms “week” is generally more stressful, Unlike finals week, we are not given a week without classes and problem sets to study and take exams – midterms are usually handed out the Friday before the 5th weekend of term and are due the next Tuesday or Wednesday. Therefore, you need to finish up studying, take the exams and do problem sets for the following week during that weekend. So much work!!
Anyway, time to wait for midterm grades to come out. Here’s a song I’ve been listening to, hoping to make the wait a bit less painful :P Sorry for the lack of pictures - I'll try to make up for it in my next post!