Wow – we’re only a few weeks away from midterm exams already? Yikes! You may feel like you are just getting into the swing of things, but if you aren’t careful, midterms will sneak up on you. I took my midterms recently (a bit sooner than most courses), and I wish I would have taken my own advice for how to prepare for these exams. So don’t be like me and procrastinate – follow these tips and ace your midterms!
- Keep up with your readings and assignments. Many professors request that you read the assigned sections in the textbook before attending or watching class. There is good reason for this. If you read the chapters before you hear the professor lecture on the topic, then you will have a better understanding of the concepts covered.Also, if the lecture doesn’t clear up any questions you had while reading the chapters or completing the assignments, you can ask for clarification immediately after class. That way, you aren’t trying to contact your professor the night before the exam when you are cramming for the test.
Following this bit of advice will also help you start preparing early, so you have less studying to do prior to the test. You won’t be finishing all of your readings and assignments when you could just be reviewing. If you’ve completed some assignments that were harder than others, then it will allow you to focus your study efforts on the information that was more difficult for you.
- Study as if your grade depended on it. Actually, it probably does. Even if your midterm isn’t worth as many points as your final exam or project, it is still important and could be the determining factor between you getting an A or a B in the course. Whether or not to study should not be a question.Don’t consider your midterm to be any less important than the rest of your assignments and exams. How do you study for final exams or prepare for big presentations at work? Follow that same plan of attack. Reread the chapters covered, look back through your notes, rework assignments, and watch your online lectures over again if you have time. If you tend to get test anxiety, read some tips on how to manage that stress.
For one of my classes, we were allowed to use a “cheat sheet” for the exam. This helped me two-fold. It increased my confidence for the exam, and it also helped me study. By carefully going through my notes and writing everything down again, it helped me remember what I had learned. It worked so well as a study tool that I hardly needed it for the actual midterm. I’d suggest trying this method even if you can’t use a cheat sheet or if your test is open book.
- Spend your time wisely. You are probably working full-time, have a family to take care of, and are taking courses, so your time is very precious. Especially during the weeks before your midterm exams, you will want to make sure that you manage your time well.Dedicate the time you need to study and stick to it. If you’ve set aside a certain evening or day off to study, then make sure you stick to that plan. Also make sure you’ve planned enough study time. It will be better in the long run if you’ve set the expectations with your family and yourself that you are going to be unavailable during certain hours so you can study. That way, if you feel confident that you’ve finished studying and you have extra time, you can spend that unexpected free time with those you love.
Speaking of your family, it’s important to maintain a good balance between your classes and your loved ones, so do something that doesn’t take too much time, but still gets your point across. You could cook a quick meal for your family, or you can plan a special night to hang out with your family before studying.
- Take a break – just not too many. It’s important not to overdo it when you are studying. Part of spending your time wisely is choosing appropriate stopping points while studying to take a break. Your brain needs a rest, and you’ll have less stress if you take a few moments to stop and smell the roses.Check out a couple of our blog posts for tips on taking study breaks:
Take some of these tips and use them. They can be great ways for you to relieve stress, hang out with your family, and relax your brain all at the same time. Just beware – you might get so caught up in having fun that you miss one of your study sessions. This could have an adverse effect and actually increase your stress down the road, so just remember – everything in moderation.
Do you have any tips to share about how you study for midterms? Leave a comment and share your advice!
Good luck on your midterms – I know you’ll do great!
~ Tamara Burns