15 Ways To Write A Killer Midterm Paper

15 Steps To Write That Killer Midterm Paper

Midterms are a stressful time, but writing papers shouldn't have to be.


It's that time of the semester again. The halfway point that gets college students super stressed when it's not even finals yet. That's right, I'm talking about midterms.

Midterms, depending on your major, can be standardized tests or papers. No matter what your midterm is, it is a daunting task to cope in a time of such stress.

As a former English major and a first-year grad student in a creative writing program, I am familiar with the midterm paper. A junior in undergrad I know quite well inspired this article. The advice I gave her should be advice all undergrads hear so they can stop worrying about what to do when the midterm paper time arrives.

There are so many ways to tackle paper writing. To get the best grade, undergraduates should consider using these surefire techniques:

1. Give yourself sufficient time to write your paper.

Sufficient time = at least two weeks before the paper is due. The best plan is to begin writing any major papers as soon as you get the syllabus and continue working on the paper throughout the semester, or at least until the deadline.

2. Begin by writing down all your possible ideas about the prompt.

Just getting the prompt may spark some inspiration in you. Most of those ideas won't make it to the typed page, but it's a start.

3. Generate a list of questions the reader might have about your topic.

One of the biggest things I did wrong with my academic essays and research papers was write from my own perspective. The point is to address an issue by answering the reader's questions about that issue. The reader will not learn anything if you just record your research or list observations. You need to clearly explain what you're trying to say. Don't make the reader try too hard.

4. Find your sources & take notes on paper.

Taking notes will make doing parenthetical citations so much easier because you will know which page the quote is being taken from. Using paper will cause you to slow down and be more aware of all your choices.

5. Create an outline on paper.

This is your plan of attack. This is where you can organize your paper and answer the reader's biggest questions about your topic.

6. Reread your sources.

A second read will help you gather new information you may have missed during the first read. For longer sources, use the table of contents and skim for important information.

7. You can be inspired by the work of others and borrow their ideas without plagiarizing their work.

Certain ideas authors put in their work can lead to the development of your own thesis. You can write an entire paper around an idea another author has used to support their argument. Never use another person's work verbatim without citing your sources.

8. You can use the sources cited in the source you are reading.

The sources cited at the bottom of your source could possibly have valuable information you could use in your paper, maybe even more than the original source in which you have found the sources they used.

9. The first draft is for content.

The first draft will always be bad. It should be to get your content and your central focus on the page.

10. Have someone else look at it.

Getting feedback is key. The person editing for you will pick up on clear errors and be able to suggest ways to improve the paper.

11. Revise for clarity and coherence.

The paper should start to become clear and have a good logical flow upon the writing of your second draft.

12. You can change your thesis between drafts.

You could always change your mind about what you will write about, so your thesis could change too. That's okay. Allow yourself to experiment with it.

13. It's OK not to know your thesis until the end of your paper.

Theses can be changed at the end of a draft to better suit the argument, especially if you didn't realize the direction of your paper until you finished.

14. Revise the paper as much as you can until it feels right.

Revision is hard but necessary. Do it as many times until the paper sounds less like you're speaking to yourself in your mind and more you being in the mind of your reader.

15. Give yourself days off until the paper deadline.

You need to have time for yourself to just have fun and not think about your paper so when you have to sit down and write, you can focus all your energy on writing it. Your mind will be more attentive if you diversify your activities.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.


To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.


The nursing student with just one year left.

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12 Things Only People Under 30 Fully Understand

Only young millennials and Gen Z will know


Being a young adult in 2019 is full of a lot of random stuff that our parents and grandparents didn't have. We have more opportunities, different lifestyles, and just really weird stuff we didn't normal.

1. Our obsession with avocados

A super food with a huge place in our hearts.

2. College debt

An actual representation of me giving colleges my money, with no questions asked.

3. Buying jeans with wholes in them.


4. Memes

The hero we needed, but don't deserve

5. Gifs

A sort of sibling to the meme, but powerful in its own right.

6. Spending five dollars on coffee

Not a want, but a need

7. YouTube/Instagram influencers

They make the world go round.

8. Mason jars as cups, decorations basically anything that isn’t for their intended purpose.

So versatile

9. Our love of succulents

Why have kids when you could have ten cute succulents that don't talk back.

10. Renting instead of buying

Besides have like no actual financial stability, we prefer to live less conventional lives than our predecessors.

11. Our imminent downfall as a society

We never grew up in a time of prosperity, and also know the earth may be dying unless we make a significant change to how we treat it. I guess that’s what happens after we treat it like shit.

12. Being non-binary or gender fluid

A new concept where people don't have to conform to gender norms or even acknowledge them.


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