Probably the best thing about midterm week is its end. Whether it’s an exam or a mid-semester project, midterm coursework piles up, and it’s more than just overwhelming. But there are ways to minimize stress and maximize productivity without losing your cool.
Talk to your teachers.
If you’re confused as to what the midterm entails, talk to your teacher or professor before you start studying. What should you be reviewing? What will the rubric look like? Is it written, multiple choice, or a combination of both? These questions will help you organize your studying.
And while some teachers may keep it mysterious, it’s well worth a try. It shows interest, it’s productive, and educators take note.
Make a study schedule, and be realistic about it.
While this seems obvious, it’s often overlooked. It’s important to understand your attention span. Can you make it through a two-hour study session, or can you only endure one hour?
And students can overestimate the amount of time or energy they have – sometimes, we don’t allot enough downtime between studying, working, and going to class. If you have hobbies, it’s important to honor them to maintain a sense of normalcy during midterm time. If you know you’re tired when you get home, don’t be afraid to take a quick power nap. Allowing yourself small rewards can be a huge motivator.
Are you an auditory learner, a visual learner, another type, or all of the above? You know better than anyone, and this can dictate how you study. Students who retain more information by listening can record themselves reading notes or paraphrasing required readings. Others who learn visually can draw out their notes or create Powerpoint or Prezi presentations. No two students are the same, and it’s imperative to know what’s best for you.
Normalize the knowledge.
It’s not uncommon for students’ brains to just “turn off” after a class or study session. This can be detrimental, forcing you to unnecessarily review content you’ve already looked over.
Instead, make little sticky notes to put in places you see every day – on your mirror, on your closet door, in your sketchbook or personal journal. Almost unconsciously, you’ll be studying these small notes that become a part of your everyday routine.
Study with a group that you know you can work with.
Group projects were fun in elementary school, but in later years, they become daunting. Whether everyone is lazy or just one person is slacking off, working in a group takes a lot of energy and organization.
Before getting together a study group, ask yourself what you need from it. Groups facilitate conversation about the study material and can actually make it seem fun. They also allow different interpretations and explanations of the material that may be easier to understand. And above all, meeting with others who share the same goal will force you to meet your own.
Everyone’s different. There are so many ways to reach the same goal, and not a single one works for everyone. To remain calm during midterms, listen to your body and your brain – don’t overexert yourself. Of course, sometimes you’ll have to force yourself away from a video game or your 20th recommended YouTube video, but it’ll all be over soon. You got this.