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How To Study For Midterms: 10 Tips To Ace Them

Updated: October 25, 2023 | Published: July 16, 2021

Updated: October 25, 2023

Published: July 16, 2021

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Acing your midterms doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. Knowing how to study for midterms will help you ease the pressure and breeze through what could otherwise be a very stressful part of your college career.

Regardless of the subject that you need to study for, the following tips and recommendations will help you perform at optimal levels.

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Tips: How to Study for Midterms

This compilation of suggestions has been compiled and condensed to bring to you the top-notch practices that truly pack a punch.

1.Review regularly

The thing you need to know about cramming is that it doesn’t (or very rarely) works. A large reason why this is true is because cramming a lot of information into a short period of time will undoubtedly raise your stress levels.

At the same time, you may end up skimping on sleep to learn just one more thing. This practice and its consequences are detrimental to earning high marks.

Instead, it’s a great idea to review your notes and subject matter on a regular basis. This way, when it comes time for a midterm, you simply need to look over and refresh your memory rather than learn everything from scratch.

2. Process notes

There are various different methods for note taking. No matter the method you employ, it’s helpful to process your notes.

Think of how you’d write an essay. You’d create a draft and then spend time going over it again to edit it and make it better. Oftentimes, with note taking, you’ll jot down pieces of information that are less important than others. By processing your notes, you can clean them up and be able to more easily focus on the most important points.

At the same time, reviewing notes is a great way to grasp and memorize concepts.

3. Create flashcards

Flashcards present a valuable form of studying. They make it easy to test yourself so you can study on your own time. They’re also easy to take anywhere, so you can always study in a flash (pun slightly intended).

To make the most out of your time, you can process your notes and during that exercise, create flashcards of the salient information. This way, you kill two birds with one stone.

4. Plan ahead

Generally, at the start of any college course, you receive your syllabus and it includes the dates of your midterm exams and finals. This is like being handed a secret code. You can and should work backwards from those dates to plan how you’ll study in advance. This provides a surefire way to avoid procrastination, as long as you stick to schedule.

5. Do all homework

Sure, homework may seem like busy work sometimes. But it serves its purpose. If you stay on top of getting all your homework done throughout the quarter or semester, you’ll be in a really good place when it’s time to buckle down.

Homework not only helps you reinforce the concepts you’ve learned, but it also provides you with insight into what you need extra help on. You can always consider attending office hours, chatting with a peer, forming a study group, hiring a tutor, or searching for resources online to help you answer hard questions or understand concepts.

6. Take practice and past exams

Just like in sports or any other endeavor,  practice makes perfect. For some courses, teachers may provide you with past exams to take to gauge your performance before the big day. If you get something wrong on a practice or past exam, take the time to go through why and learn from it.

7. Take breaks

Breaks are beneficial for productivity. That’s a fact. Short breaks aid in multiple ways, like being able to regain energy, focus, and attention. By just stepping away from your desk for even five minutes, you can improve your mood and refresh your abilities.

The break that is best for you to take depends on many variables, including your situation, the type of person you are, and more.

However, some of the best forms of breaks are those that require little to no cognitive effort, are far-removed from your task at hand, and spending time in nature. Consider breaking to take a walk, stretch, have a healthy snack, play with your dog, call a friend, or simply sit back and relax.

8. Alleviate stress

Midterms and finals usually hold a lot of weight and can affect your grades greatly. So, it’s only natural that they can induce stress. But you want to enter your study space with a clear head. Stress management can come in different shapes and sizes.

For starters, planning ahead and sticking to a schedule helps add mental clarity and organization into your life. To add to it, you can practice stress-relieving activities, like yoga, meditation, exercising, journaling, walking and, of course, getting adequate sleep.

9. Know your own learning style

Many people aren’t aware that learning styles exist. Once you learn about learning styles (see what we did there?), you can figure out which you gravitate more towards.

For some, listening to information (auditory) is their preferred method. For others, they may have to see how something works to understand it (visual). No matter what style most suits you, you can incorporate it into your studying to optimize your time.

10. Form a study group

Studying doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. If you can link up either in-person or online with some fellow classmates, you can each bring something different to the table. One person may be best at time management and another may know a topic you don’t. By compiling capabilities and forming a group, you could end up getting more done in the same amount of time.

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It’s Go Time

Whether your midterms are around the corner or a few months away, you can leverage the aforementioned tips to help you do well.

Remember to put in your greatest effort and approach the exam with confidence. Once you walk into the classroom or log onto the online system, all you have to show is exactly what you know!