Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Failing the First Midterm in Engineering

Hey everyone, my name is Ash and I'm an undergraduate Mechanical Engineer in my junior year (which I believe is the hardest year). I recently just started blogging because I want to learn to organize my thoughts to express them intelligently, either on paper or face to face conversations. Now that I have introduced myself, let’s get started on this blog!

Today I wanted to bring up the topic of the "First Midterm Exam" that you take every semester as an Engineer. After taking my first three midterms for my classes this semester and straight up bombing them, I noticed there was a trend with me. I realized I always seem to fail the first exam for every class regardless if I have the same Professor. Now people are going to say, “oh that’s normal for many people because they get nervous”, but is that really the case? I mean sure everyone gets nervous during an exam, even if you did study the material long enough to feel confident, there is always going to be that fear of the unknown. You go in, then your classmates start shouting the information at your face which has nothing to do with the exam and then you start to doubt yourself.

Sometimes failing the first exam isn't a big deal since most professors make that the lowest percentage of your grade, but how does it affect you emotionally? For me, I heavily get discouraged for a good week or two which really impacts my focus in class. You get the feeling to change majors (maybe art?) and/or drop out because you feel like the disappointment isn't worth the trouble. I mean you start to wonder why you joined engineering because you feel that feeling like a failure is not worth it. Well everyone, it truly is worth it. As cheesy as this may sound you'll never be successful without failing. I'm sure you have heard from many people that it does not matter how many times you fail, but rather how many times you get up and try again and the strive you build to keep trying until you get it right. Yeah sometimes we wish we had a limitless pill on hand, but this isn’t a perfect world, so you have to fight for what you want. I'm still learning the ways of never giving up and it is not easy. Anyways to wrap things up I just wanted to send this message out to all my fellow engineers. Maybe some of you can relate to this and if you do, don't get discouraged keep going!

I want to thank Engineer Memes for letting me post as a guest. I really appreciate this opportunity to write for you guys. Thank you everyone at Engineer Memes.

-Ash

This article was written by Ashikur Rahman a mechanical engineering student studying in New Jersey.

Leave a comment about your first test/midterm experience in engineering!

32 comments:

  1. I'm in Electrical and I only fail my first midterms if I do not spend enough time on the material. That however is just me - I know its just me. You may have a different study style to suit your needs, keep experimenting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I only fail my first midterms if I do not spend enough time on the material" - Agreed! But sometimes when you put tons of effort into it, it some how backfires due to being nervous.

      Delete
  2. Had math exams. Passed 'em with C's. Realized it's uni, not high school anymore. never studied again.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do have a harder time getting back at bat each semester. I think it's the breaks. Winter break especially so because there is nothing to do in the winter in the mid-west. Yes holidays, diner with the family and that's about it with a New Year's Eve party to top it off. At the end you end up a bit lethargic. I'm in Mechanical E and I was really discouraged this semester because on top of the lethargy I was sick and completely destroyed my good standing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow I can definitely see how hard that must have been on you emotionally. I wish you the best to overcome this situation. Just remember you gotta take one step at a time, don't keep thinking about your GPA dropping. Focus on doing your best one semester at a time and eventually the GPA will follow. Always Improve!

      Delete
  4. I'm a senior in Electrical and I've never failed a midterm before. Not sure how other people do tho. I don't think it's hard to pass a test, just hard to get A's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep doing what you're doing man! And it really is easier to pass than get an A lol.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. Im almost done my first year in mechanical eng and i have yet to fail a single midterm or test. It helps that I study a lot, but there are some courses which I have barely cracked my notes or textbook and I get 80's in. But pushing it past that 90 mark is nearly impossible.

      Delete
  5. its not about the grade... the most important is you survived the semester

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha during some semesters, it's very true!

      Delete
  6. It's my first year in mechanical engineering. I didn't fail any exams yet, which makes me happy for the moment (gotta take every little victory right?). But, I'm afraid that day is gonna come. And boy, I'm gonna be ready for that day :) Yeah it's cheesy to say you have to fail to success.. but most of the time, it's true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Lornee, I wish you good luck on your studies. And yes every good grade is an awesome confidence booster (even if it is an elective right?). The feeling of discouragement is stronger when it's an exam you studied really hard for and can be hard to overcome, but keep in mind professors like improvement so don't fret and just focus on dominating the next exam!

      Delete
  7. I did not fail any of my exams. Although, I thought I did not pass one or two. But I learned the hard way. I didn't pass my calculus and physics class first semester. Didn't pass them again next lol.. I realized it wasn't high school anymore and now I'm getting A's and B's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratz man! As long as you learn from your mistakes and improve, that's what counts.

      Delete
  8. You fix it with experience. During my first two years I bombed the first tests just like you. of course, in your junior senior year u might get a course that is really hard but overall ur performance should improve as you start to get that mature vibe in your studies and profession. My first two year GPA is less than 3.0 but after that its around 3.7 . So my overall is around 3.3 which i think is ok considering i really did bad in the first two years.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My first actual engineering exam where we had design problems like in the FE was in strength of materials. It involved more critical thinking than applying what you learned in class. One problem involved 3 different materials with different areas and lengths suspended by steel rods between a gap, with gaps between the materials. The suspensions rods would now have a tension. You had to find the temperature at which thermal expansion would close the gaps, and cause an equal but opposite (compression) force on the suspension rod (due to 3 axis expansion) this was the whole midterm.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My situation back in undergrad was a bit different: Freshman year was decent, then the difficult courses hit Sophomore year, and a few more difficult courses Junior year, but then Senior year I was a bit more mature I think. As far as single courses went, I usually did pretty well on the first exams and then slipped a bit here and there on the other one or two exams. I always attributed it to starting out a semester with fresh energy and trying to stay on top of things plus the material is usually easier at the beginning of the semester. Then as the course went on, new material built on old material (or just came from out of nowhere sometimes) but generally got tougher, and I got lazier.

    ReplyDelete
  11. lucky for u guys to have a midterm exam. We only get final exam after 4 month of study like shitting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damn man, where do you study?

      Delete
    2. It's like that for most of the subjects in Norway, for instance math...

      Delete
  12. Perfectly Normal!
    University is serious work (with a capital S)

    I studied Computer and Telecommunications Engineering and the only thing I really learned trough the 6 and half years was to never give up no matter how desperate things can get and, always work on your self-learning skills. There will be a time when no-one will help you and everyone will try to destroy you. When those times arrive, you will succeed by yourself just because you were also able to finish your degree.

    ReplyDelete
  13. allah cezanızı versin

    ReplyDelete
  14. You have no idea how happy it made me to read this and find out someone else felt my pain

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is exactly how I felt failing one of my first midterms, and then failing the second one, as well. I am not proud of it, and the subject wasn't that hard at all. Whenever I look back at those failed exams, I immediately find myself in a state of almost quitting and changing majors. This post really helped me get through that, and I thank you for it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome man, glad this helped you =)

      Delete
  16. Thanks for the post! I definitely used this as a reminder! I'll just keep on trying!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I'll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!.......:)
    Engineering Company

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Ash! I am an Industrial Engineering student at Iowa State University and I am having exactly the same problems you are having. I don't know if it is stress, anxiety or some sort of learning disability but I will give you two examples:

    Last Summer, I took Physics I( Mechanics), I felt like I studied a lot and got a 42. I ended up getting a 78 on the second exam and passed the class but it is ridiculous to do 35 points better on the second exam. I wish I could understand it!

    This semester- IE 271, I got a 30 on my first exam, the lowest score ever. I was devastated, I thought about dropping the class but I stayed. I got a 75 on my second exam and all we have left is a Final Exam. My homework grades are mostly 95-100's, so as long as I do well on the Final, I should be OK.

    Honestly, I think we both may have some really bad anxiety problem that perhaps can be solved with medication. I struggle with ADHD as well as a few other learning disabilities. I definitely don't think we are "normal" haha. Good luck, man!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is very helpful, pages like this can change the way others see themselves (while experiencing these tough situations).
    Thank 2 u.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete