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How to Study for Midterms

By Ashley Alonzo
On March 6, 2017

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

As Valentine’s Day season ends and the weather begins to get warmer, it is clear that midterms are coming closer, meaning the amount of studying and coffee overload might make us go insane.

In reality, the majority of professors use midterms to test students’ abilities to retain information given during the first half of the semester. However, there are some professors who go over the line, and the test review looks harder than the Gospels final.

Don’t freak out. Studying is very important, but as the stress begins to increase, we could all use a few tips to allow our brain some clarity and an opportunity to engage with the concepts learned. Here are six tips to study for midterms.

1. Make sure to know what material will be covered in the midterm

Assuming what will be on the midterm could be an awful experience. Students tend to over-study material that is not relevant to the midterm and leave out the important concepts that count the most. Make sure to ask questions and pay attention in class, otherwise studying material that isn’t covered is simply foolish.

2. Organize your material for each class

After knowing what to study, make sure to separate worksheets and readings to their respective courses so once it’s time to study, there is no confusion as to which class each material is for.

3. Eat before studying

The main issue of going into a test without eating is it makes our stomachs roar, which becomes a distraction that forces us to disengage with the material. Eating before studying can relax our brain and help us focus and retain information faster.  

4. Take breaks

Ryan Louis, the Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, has mentioned in most of his classes that students can only pay attention for a certain amount of time before they start gazing off and begin a thought process irrelevant to the class.

A way to fix this issue is to take small breaks to refocus our brain into what we are studying. We often do this when we look at our phone for 10 minutes, or when we simply gaze off at a white wall. It is okay to do this because an overload of information can become overwhelming. If we don’t take a break, all this information does not remain in our brain and later we feel like we studied so much for no reason.

5. Know your studying environment

It is recommended to have study groups to remember material faster. However, not every student likes the company of others because they get off topic and talk about other subjects that are not related to their initial material. Whether it’s with people or alone, with music or in silence, make sure to know these small details because they can either be a boon or a curse to your studying plan.

6. Rest well

Long days of studying, on top of other activities, are tiring, and students often complain that there is not enough time to sleep. No matter how much you have to do, try to split the material to study and the homework assigned so there is enough time to rest. There will be many all-nighters doing homework and studying, but try spreading the all-nighters into every other day so at least there are intervals of nights where you can rest well and others where you can study all you can.

Keep in mind that studying for midterms can be overwhelming, and it will take you out of your daily routine. Instead of drinking one cup of coffee, you will probably drink two … or 20, you never know.

Anyhow, midterms last about a week, so once the week is over, you’ll bounce back to your usual daily schedule knowing you aced your midterms.

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