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A Freshman’s Guide to Midterm Season at Cal Poly

You’ve heard it time and time again: the quarter system moves fast at Cal Poly. The last thing you want is to have the end of the quarter sneak up on you after a few bad midterms. Instead, put in the work and ace your exams from the very beginning! Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help you do just that.

1. Don’t study the material only before exams

That 25-35 hours per week rule that was engrained in you during WOW? Yeah, it’s true. The more consistently you are on top of the material throughout the quarter, the easier it will be to understand.

Related: 10 Unexplainable Things Every WOW Leader Feels

2. Plan it out

Have a midterm coming up? Don’t start studying the day before and end up cramming. Check when you have your exams and come up with a study schedule that works for you. Midterms often cover three or more chapters of material, so one way to study would be to take a day to go over each chapter. Figure out what works with you and your time.

3. Find study partners

It’s really easy to procrastinate on studying when we get stressed and hit the play button on another episode of Netflix instead. The cure for that? Study groups! Meeting with a study group forces you to study and also makes it more fun because you’re not working alone. As well, helping each other with difficult material can be much more beneficial than attempting to work through it alone. Be warned though, study groups can be incredibly time-consuming and inefficient if you’re not with the right people. Make sure that you’re with people that you work well with and are productive.

4. Don’t pull all-nighters

It can be tempting to put off studying until the night before an exam. However, pulling an all-nighter can possibly be one of the worst things you can do. Sure, you might get through all the material, but when you’re taking the test and attempting to power through your sleep deprivation, you’ll be regretting it and your scores will show it.

5. Go to office hours

Professors’ office hours tend to get crowded the week before an exam. They’re a great place to go when you have a few questions about the material. However, don’t expect your professor to spend thirty minutes going over large concepts. That’s for you to do on your own time.

6. Find your study space

Part of the trickiest thing about studying is that where we study makes a difference. If you find that being in your dorm room makes you distracted, try going to the library or the University Union. Does being indoors make it more difficult to stay focused? Tables outside of Baker or the grass on Dexter Lawn are great alternative locations. Look around campus and find the study spot that works for you!

Related: Top 5 Places to Study Off Campus

Now go out there and slay those midterms! 

Biomedical Engineering major at Cal Poly. Runs, reads, writes, and can do a little bit of math too!
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