Just in Time: A Guide for Surviving Midterms

Photo Credit: patch.com

Mary Clare Michael, Staff Writer

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With midterms right around the corner, students are hurrying to cram in the information they have learned throughout the year. Stresses are running high, as people anticipate the complexity and difficulty of their exams. If you feel stuck, try and apply some of these strategies to your next study session:

  1. Consolidate notes into a way you can study– It is important to review everything you have learned, so consolidating your notes are crucial. Finding an effective review can vary from person to person, but creating an outline, making flashcards, and looking up reviews are some ways you can refresh your mind about past units.
  2. Look over old tests and quizzes-In addition to consolidating your notes, consolidate your tests and write down your grades for each unit. This way, you can see your strongest and weakest unit and can focus your time on each accordingly. Additionally, ask to see your old tests and quizzes so you can review the questions you got wrong and spend time reteaching yourself those topics.
  3. Passive Studying vs. Active Studying– Oxford Univerity found in a recent study that passive learning is ineffective. This includes things like reading and watching videos. While it contains a lot of information, it makes it easy for our minds to wander and forget the information handed to us. Instead, pick a more active version of studying, like completing a packet, quizzing yourself, or explaining topics to others. It may take more time, but you will retain the information and be better prepared for the test.
  4. Finding the right study environment– As comfortable as studying in your bed might be, if you are checking your phone every five minutes, it may be time to switch up your study setting. If you like to be comfortable, try studying on your couch or a soft chair. If you get distracted easily, study at a library or coffee shop where you are motivated to keep working. You should also stock your study-area with pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, and water so you are well prepared to buckle down and study for as long as you need.
  5. Having an Effective Work-to-Break ratio– In an article by The Atlantic, they found the perfect productivity ratio: 57 minutes of work to 17 minutes of break. For the 57 minutes of work, put your phone away and try to push yourself for as long as possible. While taking a break, avoid using your phone. Get up and do some exercise to refresh your brain, and then reply to your texts. 
  6. Attend Review Sessions– Review sessions are probably the most helpful resource for studying. Either take notes or record the review session, and ask lots of questions about unclear topics. If you are still confused, ask to meet with your teacher separately or email them your questions.
  7. Sleep Well and Eat Right– This may sound obvious, but sleep is even more important to come midterms week. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, even if that means cutting your study-time short. It is easier to review in the morning than to wake up frazzled and low-energy. Also, make sure to eat breakfast with protein first thing in the morning to promote brain function, and bring a fulfilling snack to eat during the break. 

While midterms are important to your grade, they do not define you as a person. Try your best, but if you do not do well, it is not the end of the world. Treat yourself kindly and do your best. Good luck!