Hello lovelies! While it seems like the semester just started, we’ve officially reached the mid-mark in the semester, which (unfortunately) means midterm season. Hopefully, you’ve been studying consistently throughout the semester so far and keeping up on the course load, so that the idea of a midterm isn’t sending you into a frantic spiral of stress and self-loathing. No matter how prepared you feel for your midterms now, there is still time to put in some effort, work hard, and totally ace your tests. Read on for some tips on how to do so.
Studying before the exam
- Skim through everything: You may be tempted to re-read entire chapters or sections of your textbook, but trust me, this is not worth it. Your brain simply can’t remember this much information in such a short time period. Instead, it’s better to skim-read the textbook, thoroughly read through your lecture notes, and make sure you understand the main points of the class. Check over your course syllabus so that you understand what the professor thinks is important, and focus on these areas.
- Attend review sessions and group study sessions: If the professor is offering a review session below the exam, make sure you attend. Oftentimes the professor will take questions from the class and review the most important pieces of information, sometimes even telling you exactly what types of things you will see on the exam. If you can’t make the session (or even if you do attend), consider forming a group study session with a few other students from class to get together and discuss any challenging or difficult material and work through practice problems with.
- Disconnect and avoid distractions: Put your phone away, ignore Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and focus on the task at hand. Avoid distractions and figure out a way to find an environment in which you can really concentrate on class content. Studying isn’t fun, but it is super necessary in order to do well in college. Disconnect from your life for a little while, and you will definitely see an improvement in your understanding of the material.
- Stay healthy + take breaks: Midterm season is loaded with a ton of stress. While studying is important, you also need to take time for yourself to relax and reenergize. Stay healthy by eating well and staying hydrated throughout your study sessions. Make sure to get a full night sleep, both the night before the exam, and throughout your studying period. All-nighters only take away from your brain’s ability to function, so avoid the instinct to stay up all night studying as much as possible.
The morning of the exam
- Eat breakfast: you may be tempted to space on this one, especially if your exam is in the morning itself. But being healthy and staying energized with a good breakfast will help you power through your exam, so make sure to eat something.
- Get comfy: wear some comfortable clothes and dress in a way that will make you feel best about yourself. Looking good translates into you doing good.
- Last minute review: Avoid doing a long review session an hour before the exam starts. Instead, do a quick read of any important definitions, dates, or equations you need to remember. Put away all of your notes at least five minutes before the exam, relax, and breathe. You got this.
During the Exam
- Read through everything first: when you first get the exam, page through everything and read the questions so you get a sense of what is being asked of you and how much time each question will approximately take.
- Slow down: remember that you have time. Read through the question and understand what it is saying instead of just rushing to answer.
- Manage your time: If you don’t know the answer to a question, come back to it later. Try to start by answering the questions you do know and then work your way to the ones you are unsure about at the end. This ensures you will get as many questions correctly as possible, instead of spending the entire class period being stuck on one question you don’t know.
- Outline your essays: If you have to write an essay, make sure to create a brief outline of your argument and evidence so that you can understand how to structure the essay and make it easy to read and comprehend. Having a strategy and thinking deeply about your ideas before you write is key.
- Check over your work: Before you turn it in, check over each of your answers and make sure they fully answer the question they are for. Check over math problems for errors or review your essays for clarity and comprehension. If you have a lot of time left at the end of class, consider adding more to your essays or spending longer review your work. Make sure everything is as good as you can make it before turning it in.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have found this post helpful. As always, please share your comments below or with me on Twitter @CaseyDonart
Related: Simple College Studying Hacks