Tis the season – for exams that is. Midterms are in full swing now marking the middle of what has been proving to be a fast moving semester. While it’s highly hypocritical for me to give study tips to anyone (my study habits are atrocious), hopefully the tips below will leave you one step closer to that A+ you’ve been working for.
It goes against every instinct we have as students before a major exam, but cramming does more harm than good. While it’s true you can pick up a topic you didn’t quite understand at the last minute, you also run the risk of blanking out on an exam – forgetting everything you crammed along with a sizeable chunk of the topics you had completely down.
Find an appropriate place to study.
Personally, I need the occasional distraction to study effectively. As backwards as that sounds, doing something completely unrelated to studying once every half hour or so actually helps me to better focus on my work. On the other hand I’ve met people who seclude themselves in a dark corner of the library, forgetting all their friends and family in favor of studying. It’s up to you. Choose wisely.
This applies most the day before and the morning of the exam. Eating foods that are high in sugar or caffeine can lead to crashing later in the day or during your exam. Students should eat a light breakfast (e.g. toast, eggs, bacon or cereal with nuts or grains), and carry a snack to eat between classes. Fruit, nut mixes and drink plenty of water. Never skip a meal before an exam. Skipping out on food can leave you hungry during an exam. Nobody wants to focus on their empty stomach during a calculus exam.
Don’t stress out over your exam. Spending more time worrying over an exam, means spending less time focusing on the material covered on it. Like cramming, excessive worrying over an exam can cause you to forget everything you’ve studied for. When in doubt, find a peaceful place and take deep relaxing breaths. Listen to a calming song or browse Facebook. Whatever gets you to your mental happy place.
Be Prepared (Bring a pencil).
Bring a pencil. Or a pen. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve sat down for an exam and watched my classmates sweat because they forgot to bring a writing utensil. Not everyone will have a spare pencil or pen for you to borrow. Not all professors will be nice enough to let you ask to borrow one. While it doesn’t seem like much, the stress of forgetting little things like a pencil or a calculator can throw you off enough to cost you serious points on an exam.
When in doubt, take a deep breath, and relax. Midterms aren’t the easiest time of year to get through and you’ll have to do it all over again later on this semester for finals week but I wish everyone the best of luck!