Six Tips to Study for Midterms

February 21, 2012


Midterms creep up on us twice a year, right when we are getting a hang of our classes, then bam! Professors begin stressing “50 percent of your grade depends on this ONE test” or “if you fail this paper, you will most likely fail the class.” Midterms can definitely be stressful, but staying focused and taking the proper steps can help decrease stress levels and help to insure you go into your next midterm prepared.

Take advantage of office hours

Many students don’t take advantage of  their professor’s office hours. It is a great chance to get one-on-one time and ask any questions you may have before the big exam. Check to see when your professor will be in their office, and let them know ahead of time that you plan on visiting. Make sure to show up prepared, with a few questions to ask to get the discussion started. You never know, putting in that extra might have the professor leading you toward the right material to study for the exam.

Do not skip review class

Reviewing for the midterm usually takes place the class before the actual test. This is one of the classes you defiantly do not want to skip! It is a time when students can ask questions and teachers go over course material and what to expect on the exam. Make it a priority to go over your study guide, notes, and bring any questions you may have to class. Don’t be shy when asking questions, if you have a question, most likely other students do too. Even if you feel ready, a review session is a great way to test your knowledge and to cover any topics you may have missed.

Do not cram

At one time or another we have all waited till the last moment to study and crammed before a big exam. Cramming so much information in such little time results in poor test results. The brain can only process and retain so much information in such little time. To avoid cramming, organize your time by putting aside time to study each day leading up to the exam. I try to give myself about a week or two (depending on the course) to go over all the chapters, quizzes, homework, etc, that way my brain can better process the information, and hold on to it longer, heck I may even remember it after the exam…

Step away from Facebook

We are all guilty of checking Facebook, updating Twitter, and pinning while we try to study. Thanks to technology, our generation has trouble focusing on just one thing. I find it easier to study at a desk, not on a couch or bed, and without my laptop or phone. That way I am not tempted by Facebook, texting, or falling asleep. Give yourself a good amount of time to study, and after reward yourself with a little time on the computer or phone.

Stress management

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break from studying and hit the gym or  take a coffee break with a friend. Midterms can make many students anxious and can keep students from staying focused. It is necessary to give yourself time to breathe. When I am feeling stressed, I put down the books and workout at the gym with a good magazine. It helps to get my mind off of studying for a bit. It is important to take breaks throughout studying so you don’t get burned out, just make sure its more studying, and less breaks.

Study in groups

I find working with others not only helps clarify questions I may have, it makes studying more enjoyable. If one of you missed a day of class, another group member can fill them in, more brains help answer more questions. It is impossible to pick up on everything in class, and if there is something you missed or are unsure about it is likely your classmate can help. Your peers are going through the same thing, so get some of your classmates together and make it less stressful on all of you by working together!

Midterms don’t have to be stressful, so long as you prepare! Keep yourself organized and focused leading up to midterms.  Also, make sure to get a good nights rest, and a healthy, filling breakfast before exams! And remember to “keep calm and carry on!”

Good luck!


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