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I'm pretty sure that we will be given the multiple rxns and their enthalpies for Hess's Law.
Adding on to what @Zoya Mulji 1K said, if we're given a table of standard enthalpies of formation, the problem will want us to use enthalpies of product minus enthalpies of reactants. Most of the time, it should be pretty clear what method the problem wants you to use. Hope this helps!
If multiple reactions are given, the Hess's Law should be applied. If one reaction and the standard enthalpies of formation are given, then you should subtract the standard enthalpies of formation of the products by that of the reactants.
It will be obvious which method to use since each one has different steps and requirements. So the problem will provide multiple equations for Hess' Law, and a table of standard enthalpies of formation for this method.
I'm sure that the midterm will explicitly say which of these methods to use when solving these kinds of problems if it is not already obvious, much like the textbook problems do. You could probably also utilize the formulas page to try and narrow down the choices if it is unclear.