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Midterm stress is real, but it doesn’t have to consume your life! In college, most students find that the flashcards, Quizlets, and review videos relied on in high school are not enough. In a fourteen-week semester, it can feel like all the information is thrown at you with no time to absorb it. Luckily, there are many different ways you can switch up your study routine!


  1. Time block

Even with your weekly schedule laid out in your Day Designer Planner or Google Calendar, it is easy to feel overwhelmed during midterms. Time blocking is a strategy where you write out each task and assign it to a time of day. Think about what time you focus best at, and what time of day you can get busy work done. Make sure to schedule in time for healthy breaks!

  1. Active Recall

Rather than rereading your textbook, try studying with your book closed! Write down or rehearse everything you can remember. Then, feel free to reopen your book, and practice the stuff you couldn’t remember the first time.

  1. Teach it to someone else

Verbally reciting information is a great studying method, but it’s not always easy to find the privacy to talk to yourself in college. Grab a friend who is not in your class, and practice explaining what you have learned to them. This is perfect for practice for written exams!

  1. Make your own practice quiz

In some classes, your professor may give you some practice questions similar to those that will be on your exam. If not, you may be able to find some in your textbook. Either way, a great way to study is to consolidate practice questions and to take a practice quiz without relying on your notes. This is a great way to identify what you know well, and what you could use more practice with. Make sure if you do this several times you switch up the order of questions to avoid remembering things because of the context clues.

  1. Make a concept web

Try to connect your understanding of new concepts within larger themes of your course. This allows you to make sure you understand more than just a definition. Using colored pens, highlighters, or doodling can make this extra fun!

  1. Study in bed

While the majority of your studying should be done wherever you focus best whether that be the library, a cafe, or your dorm common room, it doesn’t hurt to test yourself right before falling asleep. Psychological studies have shown that sleep is critical to retaining newly learned information. If you rehearse key concepts to yourself before hitting the hay, your memory of those concepts during your exam may be better!

  1. Take Breaks

Of course you are going to check your phone, but try to set a limit of five to ten minutes of texting and checking social media. Great other ways to take a break from studying include getting some caffeine, going on a short walk, or talking to a friend.


With these tips and tricks, hopefully you will feel better prepared for exams. By studying more effectively, you can avoid cramming. Mixing in some new study techniques could be just what you need to push through the rest of the semester.


Katie MacNeil

Lafayette '22

Lover of skiing, dogs, and chocolate.
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