5 Study Habits to Help You Ace Your Midterms

Are you trying to keep up a high GPA, but normal study tips just aren’t working for you? Perhaps you gave up on color-coordinating after the first week because it’s too time-consuming. Maybe flashcards or late night study sessions just aren’t your thing. Regardless of what has tried and failed for you in the past, I have five new study habits for you to include to your regime that could be absolute game-changers for your grades.


1. Write out a predetermined schedule.

Sometimes, the largest problem college students have with studying is just knowing when to do it and how long the session should last. It can be hard to set aside time when you could have part-time jobs, organizations, and family and friend obligations you have to take care of. Before you even begin your day, it helps to write out a schedule of when you are specifically setting aside time to study, without worrying about anything else going on. On the reverse side of this, it is really nice being able to have a night out and not experience a sinking feeling of something being due for class you forgot, because you already took care of it ahead of time and can just have fun!

2. Do now, not later.

One of the best feelings in the world is getting back to your room after class, throwing all your books on the floor, and just laying in bed. But by doing that, you’re forfeiting all that knowledge you just learned from sitting in that lecture, and why show up to class at all if you’re not going to remember anything from it? One of the best tips to keeping knowledge of a subject stuck in your head for longer is to go over it immediately. Straight after a class (or at least that same day, if you don’t have time before then), go over your notes and what you talked about in class. Write down questions you have or even make extra notes on the side about things that make more sense now than they did originally. Your future self will thank you when it comes test time and you barely remember anything because it’s been four weeks since you’ve gone over it.

3. Becoming an early bird.

SOOO many college students make the mistake of cramming homework and studying in late at night. You are exhausted, can’t think straight, and feel like doing things last minute will help you remember better. Well guys- do not do it. Do not fall into that pit of thinking, because once you’re there? You get stuck, and then you find yourself alone at three in the morning doing what should have been a six hour project in only three hours. Instead of this awful idea, change your study hours into the morning. Waking up earlier not only maximizes the time you have in a day, but it gives you time in the morning to prep for your classes and get your head in the game. Plus, this is a lot less last-minute, because if you do the majority of your studying before classes, you’ll be able to save your nighttime to relaxation or fun, and wouldn’t you rather feel refreshed with plenty of sleep at night than like a squirrel that had one too many energy drinks?

4. Re-writing class notes.

I know, I know. So you sat through a super boring lecture to take notes for your upcoming exam, and you don’t want to even think about any of that stuff again until you absolutely have to. Well listen- I get it. Really! But let me put something into perspective for you. When you sat in class, you were writing down notes really fast, trying not to miss anything the professor has brought up, correct? So your notes are sloppy, barely legible, and you don’t even understand what bullet points go with what topic. Re-writing your notes after class can be a life saver for times like these. After class, rewrite your notes completely. Take it slow using nice handwriting, maybe grab a few highlighters or colored pens to differentiate certain categories, and ~voila!~ you will have a whole new set of notes to study that actually make sense for you in the future and you also got a second time to look over the materials. You just killed two birds with one stone.

But what if it’s too late for you to begin using any of these techniques of good study habits? You have a short amount of time before midterms, and you just need to know as much information as possible in as short of a time as you can. You know what the realist in me wants to tell you? To grow up and stop procrastinating. It’s your own fault for not getting stuff done earlier. However, the procrastinator in me has one last tip to give you as the biggest study weapon you’ll ever have:

5. Meet with your professors!

Every semester, your professor will give you a syllabus that says what their office hours are during the week. GO TO THEM. They aren’t as scary as you think. Most professors absolutely love to have students go in for questions, because they love the subject they teach, and they want you to be as well. If you need help and don’t understand anything, but it’s too late for simple studying to help you out, go ask your professor for and tips or advice they have. Your professors are the ones making your exams, so why would you go with google when you could go straight to the primary source?

Honestly, when it comes to studying, there is no correct way to go about it. Every individual person works better with different techniques. Some people like to color coordinate, some people study in loud environments while others keep to quiet ones, and some people don’t have to study at all because they’re just born geniuses. In general, it’s always better to have a habit you can rely on to get things done early so you aren’t left stressing out later over your lack of time. Hopefully you read something in this passage that you can positively implement in your own studying habits for the future! Good luck with exams and I hope you remember to take a deep breath and trust in yourself.