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A Smart Girl’s Guide To Crushing Her Midterms

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

As we get deeper into the school year, the work increases and the stress of midterms starts to loom. The thought of sitting and studying pages upon pages of material for hours sounds incredibly tedious. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start, but there are some easy ways to make exam season more successful and efficient. 

Put Away All Distractions

Whenever I get bored of studying, my first instinct is to go on my phone, but that never helps me. I end up getting so lost in the world of social media that I turn a one-minute phone check into a 20-minute TikTok break.

Put your phone face down across the room or out of reach. Leave it somewhere you won’t be as inclined to get it, as no one wants to get up and walk across the whole room to check their zero notifications. If you’re using your laptop to study, put it on Do Not Disturb. This will help you lock in and focus on what’s in front of you.

Plan Your Study Sessions

It’s so important to plan out your study sessions, and even your day, so you know what to study and when to study it. I recommend creating a schedule for each day you plan to study. For example, study units one and two on the first day, units three and four the next day, and then do overall reviews the few days before the test.

Break It Down

Organize your material. You can do this by unit, by importance, or by what you most need to practice. No matter how you choose to do it, having your material categorized into smaller sections can make it much less overwhelming.

Personally, I like to organize by unit. Within units, I like to look at what I know and what I still need to learn.

Take Breaks

It is so important to take breaks. Doing so can lead to more productive and efficient studying.

Let’s face it, cramming never works. I know we’ve all tried it but, if you’re like me, it really doesn’t help you remember anything. By taking relaxing breaks, you give your mind time to process and retain all the information you just consumed. Also, you can prepare yourself for the next study session.

What works best for me is to study nonstop for an hour or two, take a break for 15-20 minutes, and then repeat the process.

Set A Timer

My seventh grade English teacher gave me this tip and it genuinely changed my life. She told me to set a timer and write for 20 minutes, no breaks, and see what I come up with.

Normally, when writing essays or academic papers, I get bored easily and take a million little breaks. But setting a timer and telling myself I only have to study hard and be productive for an hour or so, knowing that at the end of that hour I get a break, has made me much more productive. It works like a charm.

Don’t Feel Bad About Not Feeling Productive

Seriously, don’t beat yourself up over it. If you feel like you have spent the day staring at notes and not learning a thing, I promise you know more than you think.

It’s important not to stress over what you don’t know, and to be proud of what you do know. No matter how unproductive a study session feels, there are definitely small wins that should be recognized.

At the end of the day, it’s not that deep. It is not the end of the world if you don’t do as well as you wanted. There is always another opportunity to show what you’ve got, there are always small things to be proud of, and you can always use your disappointment as motivation to work harder on your next assignment.

Through the process of studying and taking midterms, you learn what works for you and what doesn’t, what you excel at and what you need to work on. Remember, success is subjective. 

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Hi! I’m Riya and I'm from New York City. I'm a writer for the Boston University chapter of Her Campus and I like to write advice columns and share my interests with others. I attended Dwight Englewood for high school and I'm currently a freshman at BU, majoring Political Science and Journalism on the Pre-Law track. I have interned for Aerie and worked at Valentino Soho during my summers. Outside of writing, I really enjoy fashion and art. I often draw and design clothes. I also spend a lot of time styling friends and family. I enjoy drawing and painting in my free time as well. I love traveling and exploring new places, going to restaurants, museums, and tourist attractions.