Midterms are upon us again, interrupting our fall celebrations with stressful exams and essays. However, they do not need to sneak up and overwhelm you with anxiety and aggravation. The following are some tips and tricks to help guide you through your midterms and hopefully get you that “A” you have been working so hard to get.
Preparing for midterms consists of more than studying a few days prior to the exams. In the weeks before the exams start, make sure to consistently review what happens in class. Just reading over your notes a few times (or even better, rewriting your notes) after lecture can help solidify what you have learned that day and remind you of any topics you do not quite understand. If you have trouble with something, take a note of it. Therefore, you will not forget what it was once you being to study. In addition, keep up with reading and homework. It will help you conceptualize what is going on in class and you will not have to worry about making deadlines while you are also stressing about exams.
In the week or two before the exams, begin to compile your notes and consider constructing an outline of the material you have learned so far. Review quizzes or homework assignments, especially questions that you had gotten wrong so you know what material to focus on. If there are any concepts you still do not understand, go to your professors’ office hours or tutoring sessions. This gives you ample time to review any tricky lessons that may be giving you some difficulty. Also consider studying with other classmates. While it may seem more efficient to study alone, study groups provide the opportunity to learn through teaching others while gaining additional perspectives about a topic.
The day before the exam can be a review of what you have been working on for the past few weeks and not a stressful, caffeine-induced night of cramming. Remember that is okay to take breaks from studying to have a healthy snack or take a short walk. If you find any last minute questions you have, do not hesitate to email your teacher or someone from your study group to ask them for help. To be more proactive than just reviewing your outlines and notes, answer the questions in the textbook or from past quizzes. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. Sleep is very important for memory and cognitive processing, so it is like you are studying without even trying! Eating a healthy breakfast the day of the exam does not hurt either.
Midterms do not need to be super stressful, heartbreaking experiences. With some early preparation, you can be getting ready for the exams weeks before they happen. Be careful of falling into traps of procrastination and poor time management which can push the bulk of the studying too close to the exam. Even if the exam does not go the way you were hoping it would, one bad grade will not ruin your college career. Most importantly, have confidence in yourself; you can pass these midterms. Good luck!