On this beautiful night us bees are going to give you some advice about how to prepare for the upcoming midterm season! Yay! Long nights! Coffee! Feeling like your head might explode!
We all three have already had a few midterms so we thought we would share some study tips.
1. Break up the material
Looking at five chapters of information at once is pretty overwhelming, but if you take the information chapter by chapter, or section by section, it is a lot less stressful. For instance, for my American Politics Exam I took last week I separated the study guide into chapters. Then I filled in information from both my class notes and the book then printed out each chapter on a different piece of paper. It helped tremendously when I was studying the day before and needed to find specific definitions as I was nervously freaking out. Also, highlighters are great tools-highlight anything you think is important/things you have trouble with. I love it!
2. Start studying early
I know, I know, you’ve heard this before–many times I’m sure. But it’s true! The earlier you start, the better you will know the material. In my ideal world I would start studying for an exam a week before, however, with other classes, clubs/activities and such it is hard to figure out what I am even eating for dinner that day, much less start studying for something that will happen in seven days. Every little minute helps–but make sure it is a minute spent wisely! That means making sure you actually retain the information and are not just mindlessly reading it.
3. Pay attention in class
This is a hard one to do every class, trust me, but I have found that a lot of the questions (longer ones such as essay and short answer questions) on exams I have taken in the past have been based on something my professor has talked about in class, while some people are dozing off, some are writing as fast as they can and some aren’t even there. The perfect balance of listening and taking notes is an art I have yet to master, but it’s okay to raise your hand and ask for something to be clarified so that your notes are ones that you will be able to understand later on when you are studying. Also, your professor might mention some things that aren’t in the book but could just as easily be on the exam.
1. Try to study outside of your room
I’m the worst and don’t always follow my own advice, but seriously, it’s too easy to get off topic when you’re by yourself in your room (or with just one other person). You don’t even have to go to the library or anything. Find a coffee shop near school where you can spread out and study. If your school has a student center, go there to study. Or if you want, go to the library. I’ve found that if I have other people around me, it keeps me on task because I feel like they’re judging me for sitting on tumblr or Netflix and not working. I also feel guilty if I’m taking up space in the library and goofing off and taking space away from somebody who would actually make productive use of their time.
2. Utilize To-Do lists
I love to-do lists, and I really think they can be super helpful in studying and increasing productivity. During finals first semester last year, I didn’t have an actual test until the Saturday of finals (meaning I had no classes or tests Monday-Friday). In order to best manage my time, I made to do lists for each day of the week, and it really helped keep me on track, when I could have used those days off as time to relax and not do anything. Being able to see all the tasks you need to do helps to manage your time and figure out what needs priority. During midterms when you have other classes with a lot of work too, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but this is a great way to keep everything manageable.
3. Study Breaks are important
You might think you need to completely study with no breaks, but taking breaks is really important too. Especially if you’re writing a paper or memorizing a lot of terms. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed by all the work you have to do and by all the information. Walking away for a little bit, even if it’s just 10 minutes helps to decompress all the information you have. I’ve found that after taking a study break and I look back over my notes, I know more than I thought I did. So go grab a quick dinner with friends, take a 15 minute nap, or read a couple chapters of a book for fun, and then go back to studying, it’ll help a lot.
1. Try Quizlet out
Test after test, Quizlet has been my saving grace. Usually, I find myself spending too much time writing out flashcards than actually using them! With Quizlet, I get to type out my key terms quickly and test myself after. Normally, I use the “learn” function online, but I also print out flashcards for harder tests. I’ve been using this since 2009, so I’m a huge advocate for the site.
2. Figure out when you study best
Nothing’s worse than studying for a test when you’re not feeling productive. For me, I have a hard time doing work after 7pm. Most of the studying I do after 7 doesn’t stick or look nice. Get a good look at your schedule, when you work best and adjust accordingly. During midterms, I let myself go to bed early, then wake up early to study and review. I’m more focused in the morning, so this works best for me.
3. Get rid of the excuses early
I love finding excuses to stop studying. I’ll go to the bathroom or get a snack, and suddenly I’m two hours behind on studying. Before you sit down and work, get your excuses out of the way. Pack yourself a snack and some water. Use the bathroom before. Now when you sit down, you have used up all your physiological excuses to stop working. I find this useful when writing important papers as well.
We hope these tips help ease some worries you might have about exams! Remember it is okay to be nervous, just make sure you are prepared! Also remember to get a good night’s sleep and eat good things leading up to whatever tests you may have!
~The Three Bees