by Sara Keen
Midterms are upon us, and some students may find themselves cracking under the pressure.
New students, especially, may not yet know how to study for a college exam or prepare for a midterm essay like those who have already passed their first semesters.
In some classes, the midterm can make or break your grade. It may be from a lack of smaller grades or the worth of the midterm itself.
It is always better to start preparing for midterms a few weeks ahead, but with work, home, life, and anything else that could interfere happening, that does not always work out.
Therefore, this week we are looking at some great tips for last minute test preparation for anyone struggling with their class or simply buckling down to study.
First and foremost, it is a lot easier to focus when you are not in an overly familiar environment, like your bedroom or living room. Instead, choose to go to the library, Starbucks, a place on campus, or even an empty room in your home (without a couch).
It can also help to drink something warm and breathe for a few minutes before you start. It calms your nerves and can make you feel a little more comfortable in the environment to focus on what you are doing.
The best help you can give yourself is to stay away from your phone while you study. It is a distraction because you will wonder “what’s on Facebook?” “has bae texted me yet?” and so on.
Even your laptop can be a major distraction with endless access to the internet. There are apps that can help, though, such as Self-Control, Concentrate, FocusBooster, FocusWriter, and Anti-Social. These are all apps designed to help you stay focused and stay off of social media.
Once you rid yourself of distractions, it is time to study or write that midterm essay that has worried you all week.
Music can also be helpful, but not pop music or your favorite “jams.” Music without vocals is usually better for studying and writing. Try your favorite video game or movie score, or even check out the study playlists on Pandora and Spotify.
If you do not already know how you study best, it is a great time to experiment.
Some people do better by listening to notes or watching crash-course style videos. Others are better if they can answer questions or use flashcards.
Personally, I find it is better to rewrite and organize my notes before the tests. I have to actively concentrate for it and it is a great last minute refresher for an exam.
Many people choose to form a study group and work together with flashcards. In study groups, you can talk over any problems being faced with the others and even receive help from someone who understands a topic better.
Groups also help others with their writing. If someone is a little nervous about going to the Writing Center or even needs help getting started, discussing the writing with others can be extremely helpful.
In addition, take advantage of the services on campus and your instructors. We have a language center, learning commons, supplemental instruction, silent study rooms, and even class lists to help contact other students.
Instructors are almost always willing to help anywhere they can. No student should be afraid to ask for a little help, whether it is some additional material or a more detailed explanation for one of the concepts.
Midterms are coming hard and fast, so do not let yourself get caught up with stress. You can really exhaust yourself.
Make sure you rest, get plenty of sleep, spend some time chilling out, and eat a decent breakfast before your midterms begin.
by Sara Keen