How I Successfully Crammed For My Midterm

It happens sometimes, you know? Sometimes you just push it to the last minute, other times you completely forget to check the syllabus and get reminded by someone the day of. Regardless, midterms come when you least expect it. They always happen to come when you are the busiest; when you have the most things on your plate, and you really don’t need that extra stress.

But they’re there, and they’re kind of important, so there’s nothing to do but face the music. I did. As an experiment (okay, actually, because I procrastinated), I only had four hours to study for my midterm at 9 AM the next day. The two rules I had for myself were: I had to be done before 12 AM (to get ample of rest) and I can only have one cup of coffee (so I can still fall asleep).

8 o’clock: I walked out of the dining hall, with a full meal in my stomach. I stopped by Starbucks to grab a coffee — a large  and made my way to the student union. It’s important to choose a study place that you feel completely comfortable with. For me, the library is a little too quiet for me to concentrate. However, the student union had a calming noise level that I worked well in. So I found an empty booth, laid out all my materials, and started to work.

9 o’clock: I’ll admit, I procrastinated a lot in the first hour. However, reality hit when I had four hours left and I had to get started. I had a lot of information to cover and not that much time. So to be able to think through it all, I organized my notes by main ideas throughout the semester. I separated the main ideas into concepts. I worked to run over the concepts and understand them, trying to remember key facts.

10 o’clock: I then narrowed my studying down to memorizing the vocab words for my test. My coffee was starting to wear down, but I persisted — making flashcards, different colored pens, talking to myself. I had a lot of vocab words to study, but repetition was key.

11 o’clock: I was so, so tired by now. The one coffee faded so long ago and I could feel my mind going numb. Thankfully, my friend had been sitting there with me, making sure I stayed on track, and she volunteered to quiz me on the materials I had been studying for so long. This was where I was able to solidify that I knew my notes and go over the parts I wasn’t sure on. By 12 AM, when we were packing up, I was confident and ready for tomorrow.


The trick to effective studying is not studying for a long time, but studying smart. Even when midterms creep up on you, you can take the time and learn and understand what you have been taught so far. The only thing that can stop you from doing well is being stressed and overwhelmed. Happy Midterm Season!


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