Studying for a big exam can be stressful, especially if you aren’t connecting with the course material. Thankfully, there are tricks to make the process more pleasant. Unlike high school, college exams tend to make up a huge segment of your final grade. While midterms may not have the same weight as a final exam, they’re usually the next biggest piece of the pie. Like any other test, professors create midterms to see which students have done their assigned reading and paid attention to the lectures so far. To ensure that you aren’t caught off guard by the exam, here are four techniques to improve your prospects.
1. Make a Long-Term Plan: Don’t wait until the night before a midterm to decide how you want to tackle the course material. At the beginning of every course, take a look at the syllabus and draft a rough schedule for each week in the semester. As you get closer to the midterm, set aside enough time to review each chapter and then take breaks to rest up. If you stick to a game plan, you’ll be so comfortable with the material that when the exam rolls around, your answers will come naturally.
2. Avoid Cramming At All Costs: We’ve all experienced the agony of pulling an all-nighter before a crucial midterm. Trust us, it’s not worth the pain. Fans of cramming think they can retain key information within 24 hours of an exam, but this strategy is dubious at best. Instead of putting yourself through a cram session, just start studying a week before the midterm. That way, even if you’re behind on assigned readings, you’ll still have enough time to make sure the new concepts stick.
3. Attend Office Hours: Although you may have some rough ideas about what the midterm will cover, visiting your professor during office hours can help immensely. The one-on-one time will allow you to ask last-minute questions and figure out which topics will need your attention. Your professor may not go so far as to tell you actual exam questions, but they might spend extra time talking about a particular subject and give a few hints.
4. Take Care of Your Health: Finally, keeping up your physical and mental health is essential to scoring highly on a midterm exam. Make sure you eat balanced, nutritious meals leading up to the test, and don’t let the stress of studying cripple you. To deal with pent-up anxiety, take periodic breaks to exercise, meditate, or meet up with friends. If you eat right, sleep at least 8 hours, and get enough physical activity during midterm week, you’ll be in the ideal mental state to tackle those daunting exams.
Posted on Tue, November 24, 2015
by Justin McKinney