3 Tips to Help You Ace Midterms



Midterms can be stressful, especially for first-year students who may not have taken them before. Some students end up living off of Red Bull and Ramen so they can study all night and not waste time going to the dining hall. However, caffeine and junk food tend to have a negative effect on the performance of college students, especially when used for a long period of time. Here are a few tips that will hopefully keep you away from visiting Break Time at 2 a.m. and will get you in bed in time for your 8 o’clock midterm.

Start studying as early as possible.

To reduce stress and give your mind more time to fully absorb the information, start studying for your midterms several days, or even a week, in advance. This tip is especially important if you have multiple tests in one day.

“I start studying (for midterms) a couple days before. Cramming the night before never works for me,” Maddy Feldewerth, ’17, said.

Cramming is tempting, especially because college students tend to procrastinate. You may even be able to successfully cram the night before and pass the test, but you are less likely to remember that information after taking the test and will have to do it all over again for finals.

Don’t focus on one subject for too long.

You may feel like you have to study for one subject until you know everything, but the longer you try to focus on one thing, the more likely you are to get distracted and end up watching cat videos instead of studying for any midterms at all.

“I always like to alternate between my different study stuff every hour and a half or so,” Ella Leslie, ’17, said. “After that I’ve pretty much lost focus, and I’ll come back to it again later.”

For Leslie, alternating every hour and a half works, but that amount of time can vary for everyone. Get to know how long you can stay focused on something; then, take a short break to stretch or get a healthy snack before moving to the next subject.

Make flashcards.

Having a friend quiz you can keep you from looking at the answers and claiming “I definitely would have gotten that on the test,” but your friends may be busy studying for their own midterms. Flashcards are a great way to quiz yourself.

“I usually write out my notes on flashcards so I can quiz myself and see if I know the information,” Feldewerth said.

Sometimes you may have 50 flashcards for one class, which will take so long to go through that memorizing any of them will feel close to impossible. Consider breaking them up into groups of 15 or 20 to make it feel more manageable. As you have memorized some of them, you can remove them from the stack until you know them all.

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