I don’t know about you, but I always seem to psych myself out while preparing for midterm exams. And I assume I’m not the only person who stresses out about how to study before midterm exams.
Here are some effective study tips to help you ace your midterms.
1. Don’t wait, start now.
Rather than expecting to cram for your midterms the night before, study a little along the way. Right now, attend all your classes, take good notes, and study your notes at the end of every day. The repetition over time will help seal the information into your memory. You’ll also be able to see areas where you may need more help in understanding a concept and can ask the professor for more explanation.
2. Get a test review sheet.
Some professors will provide students with a list of topics or material that will be the focus of the test. If yours does, then consult the review sheet to give you a boost in studying. If not, ask your professor to do a review class before the exam to cover important information.
3. Create an outline.
Write up an outline of your classes and areas you need to study before the midterm. This makes prioritizing which material to study and makes things more efficient. Some classes may come easily to you, so you know you don’t have to spend too much time on them. Others may be more difficult, so you need to save more time to study those. In your outline, plan which classes to study and when.
4. Study everything.
That’s a daunting challenge, but your whole class is fair game for material that might appear on the midterm. The exam is a good gauge of how you’re doing in the class, where you need to improve, and what to expect on the final. In “How to Survive College Midterms” by Emma Sarran Webster posted August 19, 2016, in Teen Vogue, Bianca Ambrosio, professor at New York’s Plaza College, said, “Most college professors are very straightforward when it concerns course materials that should be studied. Students simply need to make sure that they do indeed study, and not only definitions and what is highlighted, but also that they use critical thinking skills.”
5. Find a quiet place to study.
The place you study is as important as what you study. Find a location that suits your study method best. “A change of scenery can make studying less of a dread and a bit more exciting. You can also learn where you focus best, whether it’s outside, in the library, or in the comfort of your own dorm,” suggested Jessica Milton in “Tips for Midterm Stress,” at University of Southern California, posted November 1, 2016. Other places might be an empty conference or lecture room, the campus lawn, computer lab, a café in town, even the gym bleachers.
6. Take a break.
Too much cramming becomes counterproductive. You need to study in chunks, not in one lump sum. “After a few hours of studying, take a little break so you do not burn out. 10-15 minutes is enough time to stretch, get some fresh air, and have a little snack,” suggests Victoria Lamanna of Utica College in “Midterms: 7 Tips to Help You Ace Them.”
7. Be healthy during midterm exams.
A healthy physical body goes a long way in helping the brain perform well. Drink water and stay hydrated, get 7-8 solid hours of restful sleep every night, eat well-balanced meals with veggies (pizza and beer are not balanced!), do some form of exercise every day, and snack on fruit, yogurt or nuts, not chips and candy.