Top 10 Study Tips for Midterms and Finals

It may seem like you just attended orientation and met all your classmates and instructors, but we are already halfway through this Summer term and that can only mean one thing Midterms! Although this concept has been known to drive people to the brink of sanity — mostly due to lack of sleep, caffeine consumption, and stress — rest assured that you can survive your midterm! In fact, if you follow our study tips, you may even be able to ace it without even breaking a sweat. 

  1. Skim Your Textbook – The night before the test is the worst time to try to read every word of every chapter. Instead, skim the chapters that the test will cover to remind yourself of the different topics. 

  2. Don’t Cram! – This is a continuation from number 1. Waiting until the last minute to study is not an effective way to learn the material. Check out this article for time management tips when preparing for tests. 

  3. Use review sessions and/or study groups to help you prepare – Review sessions, typically held by Instructors or Lab Assistants are the perfect place to learn about specific topics that will be on the test. In addition, usually they let a few test questions slip. 

  4. Silence is golden – If you are not studying in groups, it is important to find a place to study that is quiet and without distraction. This could be the library or an empty classroom for example. 

  5. Disconnect – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and email are all unnecessary distractions, so while studying, disconnect for an hour or so. You may be surprised at how much you can accomplish when technology doesn’t get in the way.

  6. Figure out what will be on the exam – Use old quizzes, outlines and homework as a study guide. 

  7. Meet with your instructors – Make an appointment to discuss difficult concepts, ask questions about lecture material, or just to find out what types of topics the midterm will cover. You may be surprised at how much your professor is willing to share.

  8. Stay Healthy – Don’t fall into the junk food and caffeine trap! Make sure to eat regular healthy meals, exercise and get plenty of sleep in order to keep your brain functioning in tip top shape. 

  9. Take Breaks – A 12-hour marathon study session won’t do anything but make you crazy. In fact, studies show that long sessions create a steady drop in retention rate. Instead, take 10 minute breaks every 30-60 minutes in order to improve your memory of the material and retention. Think of it this way – your brain remembers the first and last thing you studied, so the more “first” and “lasts” you have – the better! 

  10. Relaxation, preparation, and time management – The day is finally here!  Don’t let all that studying and preparation go to waste. Take a look at this article by CollegeAtlas titled Test Taking Strategies for College Midterms and Finals to help set your mind at ease during test time. 


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