I’m dying from midterms right now. I’m sure if you are in college, you’re right in the middle of those dreaded tests as well, or they’re at least coming up in the next few weeks. Midterms can be incredibly intimidating, especially if they’re the first test of the class for the year. This is even more so if they count for a substantial chunk of your grade.
If I’m honest, I hate studying. I don’t actually know anyone who likes studying, but I really despise it. I’ve gotten worse at it as the years have gone by, I feel, because as college progresses I’m taking fewer tests and writing more papers. So when the inevitable midterm (and final) exam rolls around, I’m super stressed out on how to prepare for it all. Not fun.
I do have a few tips on how to study, though. These have gotten me through high school and all of my college classes so far (I’m still clinging to a 4.0 by some miracle). Hopefully they help you too!
Make a Study Guide // Even if this seems like a waste of time, or even if you’re in full-on crunch mode, do it. It will force you to go through your notes with a discerning eye and read your book more closely. You’ll have to pick out the most important concepts and give a quick description of them all. By the time you actually get around to going over the study guide, you’ll realize that you actually know what you are talking about. That’s because the process of creating the guide is actually a thorough study session on its own. Use the guide as a refresher on the topics a few days/hours before the test to brush up. Bonus: this tip makes you learn how to read quickly and pick out the most significant facts so the next test around, the process will be even smoother.
Talk to a Friend // One of the ways that ALWAYS helps me learn concepts/ideas that I have a difficult time understanding initially is to just talk through it. I typically snag an unlucky friend and try to teach whatever subject I’m studying to them. This method forces you to break down complex definitions into simpler terms – your own words – and you’d be surprised how enlightening that can be. Have your friend honestly tell you if they understand what you are trying to say. If they can, then you’ve learned your concept! If there’s no friends around, lock yourself in your room and talk it through alone. I’ve done this numerous times (just yesterday, actually), and it’s still just as helpful.
Keep a Schedule // To avoid ignoring all of your other homework while you cram for a huge test, keep yourself on some sort of a schedule. If you’ve got three hours to complete all of your work for the day, only allocate half of that for actually studying for that test. Whatever time you’ve got left over from completing homework from every other class (papers, reading, etc.) can be put right back into studying. Basically what I am saying here is don’t ignore your other four or five classes simply because you’re striving for an A. You never want to have to play catch-up.
Take a Break // When all else fails, walk away from it. Studying can feel endless, but sprinkle a few ten minute breaks throughout your session to get you through. Take a nap. Get a good nigh’st sleep. Don’t kill yourself over your grades, please. It’s only important that you try your best!
Thanks for reading and good luck on midterms!