It’s Midterm Season: 6 Tips for Success on Midterms

East Pyne looks absolutely beautiful as students approach midterm season.

Midterms start this week. I know; I also had to read that twice because I could not believe it. Time is flying on campus and it has been amazing, but with everything going on it can be difficult to stay motivated and study for midterms. Nonetheless, I believe in myself and all of you reading this post! We will make it through midterms and we will succeed. Here are the tips and tricks that I am going to use to perform my best, and I hope that you can use them too:

  1. Check the Dates

     Your midterm is tomorrow!! I’m just kidding, but you should definitely check just in case. Although it may seem obvious, it is important to check the exact date that your midterm falls on, so that you can plan your time accordingly. A midterm at the beginning of the week is much different than one at the end of the week, where you have almost 5 extra days of studying. You should check your syllabus to see the exact date, and if you cannot find it there, feel free to ask your professor after lecture or send them an email!

  1. Talk with Your Professor

     Your professor (or preceptor) is the best resource to use during midterm season. They know exactly what you should prepare for, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! Of course they cannot tell you what exactly will be on the exam, but they may tell you the format and what material you should look over. You can also use their office hours to clarify any concepts you were confused by during lecture or ask them more thoughtful questions that you were unable to ask in class. For example, I often go to office hours with a list of lecture and reading terms that I do not fully understand and the professor is always happy to explain them again and also connect them with ideas from other units, which further enhances my understanding of the course. I also ask about the structure of the exam because then I know what to expect on test day.

  1. Schedule Study Times

      I know it may seem tempting to pull an all-nighter at Firestone the day before your big exam, but trust me when I say that there are much better ways to go about studying. Even if you haven’t done that much yet, it is not too late to plan whatever time you have left in a healthy and productive way. I suggest setting aside a few hours each day so that you do not feel overwhelmed but are still making progress. You can also try time blocking, where you allot certain times just for studying, and nothing else.

  1. Find a Strategy that Works Best for you

     Whether it is reading the material aloud or doing practice problems, everyone has their own method to success, and every method is equally as valid. My personal go-to is Quizlet, which I use to store key definitions for my classes and I definitely recommend. Regardless of which strategy you choose, make sure to review lecture slides, and anything else that your professor indicates you should know. The strategy is important, but what is most important is understanding the material!

  1. Take a Study Break

     Studies find that study breaks improve memorization and energy, so go ahead and say yes to that trip to late meal with your friends! It is important to give yourself a break during midterms. You can go to your residential college study breaks or keep an eye on your email for other opportunities. Don’t feel guilty for continuing to do the things that usually make you happy just because it is time for midterms; breaks will actually help you succeed!

  1. Believe in Yourself

     I find myself stressing a lot about midterms and feeling like other people know things that I should, but do not. So, if you feel this way, know that you are not alone. Furthermore, these are the strategies that I use to face midterms, but there are many other tips that will help you do well (read here for more) and what works well for me may not work well for you. Regardless, I always tell myself that if you work hard and perform to the best of your ability, then you gave it all you’ve got and you should be proud of yourself. And even if it doesn’t go as you wanted to, you still have finals and a lot more time to change your strategy and improve. For now, I hope that you take this mindset and these tips to your midterms and believe in yourself!

Ryan Champeau, Social Sciences Correspondent