What to Do If You Missed Your College Midterm: A Comprehensive Guide

Missing a midterm is the kind of thing college students have nightmares about. But when it’s when that nightmare unexpectedly becomes reality that things take a turn for the worst. 

Whatever the reason, missing a midterm exam can have a huge impact on your ability to pass a class. In most cases, it makes up a significant percent of your grade, making it impossible to get higher than a C (or in some cases, pass the class at all).

Surely, you know the consequences already, but understanding how to fix the situation might be a bit harder. If you’re freaking out after missing an exam, here are some things that might help you out. 

Immediately contact your professor

Whether you slept through your alarm or woke up too sick to function, contact your professor immediately. Apologize for your absence and ask what you can do to make up for missing the test. It’s worth inquiring about a make-up exam, but keep in mind this may not be available unless you have proof that there was a legitimate reason for missing class that day. 

If making it up isn’t an option, you should ask them how you can work towards a passing grade. This can come in the form of extra credit, what grades you’ll need to get on future assignments and tests, and other information they might be able to provide you. 

Your professor is the only person that can help you get back on track. Reaching out to them and sincerely wanting to make it better is much more likely to inspire them to help you out.

Get a doctor’s note

If you wake up sick on the day of an exam, the first thing you need to do is get a doctor’s note. Without proof of your illness, it’s not likely that your professor is going to allow you to retake the exam.

Ensure the note has the correct date and time of your visit and outlines the illness that prevented you from attending class. As soon as you have this, email it to your professor and explain what happened. Illness should be an approved absence, and you will likely be able to retake the exam. However, this is still entirely up to your school policy and your professor. 

Get ready to work overtime

If it turns out you’re not able to take a makeup exam, you should prepare to work overtime, focusing on that class. Whether it’s extra credit or ensuring you get a high grade on all following assignments or tests. You’re going to need to put all you’ve got into doing well on the remaining requirements. 

Prioritize this class and assignments before others that you’re already (hopefully) doing well with. Schedule extra study and homework time into your calendar, so you know when you need to sit down and complete the work. One of the many obstacles college students face is figuring out how to organize their lives. Something like this can help you see when and how you can schedule your time better. 

Learn from your mistakes

College is a time of learning. It’s going to be the first time you have to learn how to schedule and organize your life, without the assistance of your family. It is totally normal for even the most organized of us to slip up from time to time. Especially at this period in our lives. All you can do is learn from those mistakes and do better next time. 

If you missed your exam because you overslept, figure out how to keep that from happening in the future. Don’t pull all-nighters, set multiple alarms, or have to ask your roommate to wake you up before they leave the dorm. 

Obviously, being sick is something you can’t help. We all get sick, and we should stay home in most cases. It’s all about taking steps to get your absence excused. 

Missing a midterm is added stress that you definitely don’t need. If you’ve already made the mistake of missing an exam, forgive yourself and move on. All we can do is learn from what we do wrong and go out of our way to prevent the same mistakes in the future. 

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