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It’s that exciting time of the year again – cozy Fall weather, layered clothing, spooky movies, homecoming and… midterms. Midterms can be stressful, especially if you haven’t been putting that much effort into your classes in the first place. Regardless of if you feel up to speed or not, most of us will be cramming anyway. Cramming can be exhausting, and it may not feel like you’re retaining the information. Fret not; here are a few tips to cram effectively.

Tip #1: Make a study Guide outline

Review materials such as class slides, required textbooks, homework assignments and assessments. Pull out any key concepts and write them down in order by chapter. Leave space underneath each concept for any key information on the matter. It is also helpful to review the textbooks for any key terms and complete any questions in the book. Try not to waste energy on less significant concepts unless it was specified by your instructor to do so. Use this as a study guide and keep adding information that applies. This is also how you may identify concepts you don’t quite understand. Don’t be afraid to create your own questions and put them in your outline. It will only help you later!

Tip #2: Teamwork makes the dream work

You do not have to study alone because, more than likely, there is someone who needs help just as much as you do. So, help each other out! When explaining concepts to others you then deepen your own understanding. Another benefit is gaining a different perspective on specific concepts and topics from your fellow peers. They also may have tips and tricks you didn’t know about as well. Finally, always check to ensure the information your study group went over is correct. Group study is not for everyone, and make sure you have compatible study buddies.

Tip #3: Avoid burnout

First things first – have a positive mindset! You can’t feel defeated before you start. If so, you’ve already lost half the battle. Keeping a positive attitude will reduce burnout, and you will put more effort into studying. Take short breaks to conserve energy; this will prevent burnout as well. Take naps if you get too exhausted, and maybe try going to sleep and waking up early if you can handle it. Go on a social media cleanse until after midterms are over. Often, we don’t even open the apps intentionally; it is just out of habit. Next thing you know, time has passed and after several Twitter threads, you now see that you don’t have time for productivity. If you delete your social media apps, you will see how much time you actually have for productivity. It is okay to indulge and have some fun but practice moderation. The only social media that probably shouldn’t be deleted is YouTube which brings me to my next tip. 

Tip #4: Use videos to study

There are several YouTube channels dedicated to helping students study. If you did tip #1, it should be no problem looking things up. This can supplement your understanding and speed up studying because it can be faster than reading. You can also look at multiple videos and really drill concepts in your head. Take active notes while watching as if you were in class.

Tip #5: Study with clear intention

Think about what grade you want on the test and what grade you think you would get. Set study goals for what you want to accomplish that day and even before you take your break. You can do this by creating a timeline for covering certain materials on a spreadsheet.

Regardless of how you study, you got this! Just be positive and try your best. Study after the midterms to retain knowledge. After midterms are over, remember there’s only another half of the semester left until finals. Cramming for exams will be easier when you are already up to speed!

Bernadette is a third year Biology Pre-Med major from Baltimore, Maryland. She aspires to be a physiatrist.
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