Everyone tells you that college goes by in the blink of an eye. It’s a common phrase you learn to put in the back of your mind, until one day college is here. The first six weeks of college truly did go faster than I expected. Every week that passed by just meant I was getting closer and closer to midterms.
Before all the exams started, I told myself I would study a week before each one. That would leave enough time for me to study little chunks of information without overloading my brain. At the same time, that also left me with more time to procrastinate in between. If I knew I didn’t have a lot to study, then I told myself it was okay to start studying the next day. Ultimately, I made the not so smart decision to go home on the weekend I had a midterm that following week. I believed at the time that I would study at home and I had three full days to study when I got back. In the end I didn’t study at home, had to cram for my test, and was stuck playing catch up for all the homework I pushed aside.
Sometimes the best way to be successful is learning from your mistakes, and I did exactly that. I learned the hard way how to correctly study for my exams.
9 Tips on How to Study For Midterms
- DON’T GO HOME ON THE WEEKENDS: You need every day, especially the weekends, to study and do homework.
2. CREATE FLASHCARDS, SLIDES, OR ANY PRACTICE MATERIAL WHILE LEARNING THE MATERIAL: This will give you less steps to take when it comes time to actually study the material.
- Example: In psychology I create Quizlets, online flashcards, for all the comprehensive questions that are at the end of the chapters. Creating them right away helps me to review and be prepared for midterms.
- When it comes time to study, they’re already made. I don’t have to spend extra time reading through all the chapters to find the questions, make the quizlet, and then study.
- STUDY IN CHUNKS: Don’t try to study 3 chapters, unless they’re small, all at once. Maybe read one, take a break, and then read another. You’re more likely to understand the information because you’re not tiring out your brain.
- TEST YOURSELF: In psychology, it’s been proven that the best way to learn information is to test yourself. Instead of reading the text/notes, writing it down, and reviewing you have to physically find a way to take the information and challenge yourself. There are multiple ways to test yourself. Find what works best for you.
5. USE INCENTIVES: Reward yourself after a hard day of studying. This is a great way to get yourself to push through your work and have a delicious treat. After I’ve done my studying, I tell myself I can get a large drink at Starbucks. It feels good knowing I earned the drink.
- Something as simple as I can look at my phone after an hour of studying or I’ll watch an episode of Netflix can be rewards as well.
- PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY: The easiest way to get distracted is by having your phone close enough for you to check it. Every 5 minutes you might spend replying to snapchats or scrolling through Instagram can add up really fast. Before you know it, you wasted at least 30 minutes looking at your phone.
- Place your phone in your backpack or leave it in your room if you’re just going down the hall to your lounge.
- FIND THE BEST LOCATION TO STUDY: Personally, I can only study if there aren’t a lot of people around and the environment is very quiet. A crowded area makes me want to people watch and even small talk interrupts my thinking. Find where you like to study; the library, your dorm, a lounge, etc. and try to go there every day for a couple hours.
- SLEEP: Sleep is the most common tip that we’ve learned throughout our education. It seems redundant because everyone knows we can’t function without sleep, but sleep is just as crucial as studying. Not only go to bed early the night before the test, but the whole week before. You’ll form a sleep routine that makes it easier to go to bed early the night of the test.
- RELAX: You’ve studied really hard for your exam and stressing can cause you to make silly mistakes. Typically, you’re given between an hour or two to take the test. Use up all time and double check all your work.
Follow some of these tips and you’ll be sure to perform great on your tests!