Hannah's Guide on How to Effectively Study for Midterms

As the halfway point of this spring semester quickly approaches, midterm week is almost upon us! Here are five study tips to help you ace your midterms.


  1. 1. Find out what works best for you when it comes to studying.    

    We all have different preferences when it comes to how we study and where to study. Some people need complete silence in order to focus, while others prefer background noise. Try switching up your usual study spot, try out a coffee shop, different floors of the library, a friend’s apartment and other places, to see where you focus best and where you are able to get the most work done. In addition to this, we all use different types of study methods. You may focus more studying on your own rather than in a group, or maybe you’ll learn a topic better by writing it out by hand rather than typing it up on your laptop - this is a preference that varies person by person in terms of effectiveness for memory retention. If your usual study routine hasn’t been working as well as you’d like, try switching it up and see if changing either where you study, or your approach to studying, helps you get back into your rhythm!



  2. 2. Make a study guide as if you’re giving it to a friend to use.  

    We often put more thought and effort into something when we plan on giving it to someone else for them to use. This forces us to be more attentive to important sections and to explain topics that we already understood or are ones that we might need to put more attention into, either way, it works the same way as making cheat sheets in preparation for exams do. Try making a study guide as if you’ll be giving it to a friend - what topics would you recommend they focus on and what information would you emphasize for them to mentally star while preparing to be tested on it? 


  3. 3. Make flashcards BUT only for the things you do not know.

    All too often, I find myself spending more time than I should making a big stack of flashcards for everything I think may be on the exam. To save time and energy, (which we could all use a little bit more of!), skip making flashcards for the topics and problems you’ve already mastered. You’ll spend less time writing out endless flashcards, and this will make it easier to focus only on the information you still need to learn. This also prevents burnout with studying because you are only focusing on the items you need to review and understand, rather than trying to comprehensively review everything that you need to know in preparation for the exam.

  4. 4. Take advantage of Professor’s office hours and outside of class study groups.

    There’s a good chance your professor is already reminding the class about office hours and on-campus tutor programs every chance that they can. If you’re not already taking advantage of these, give them a try! Not to state the obvious but your classmates also need to study for the same exam that you do, so ask if anyone wants to meet up in the library for a study group or if you could all work on a study guide together since different people take different notes during the same class! Chances are a study group will be just as beneficial to them as it will be for you and will offer a more collaborative review before you’re all taking that exam.

  5. 5. Remember to practice self-care.

    We all know how stressful midterm week can be, especially when you’re spending endless hours cooped up in the library. It’s important to set aside time for yourself in order to make this week as stress-free as possible because it’s important to maintain your health and not sacrifice that for exams - as important our grades are. Honestly, self-care isn’t always what it’s hyped up to be on social media and it’s a lot more personalized than what seems to always be promoted at us. Sure, treating yourself to an iced mocha latte and taking a bubble bath with that bath bomb from Lush may give you some comfort, but you can still practice self-care in other ways. This can be as simple as making sure you’re drinking plenty of water, remembering to eat throughout the day, and getting a good night’s sleep because as necessary as it is to study all you can before your exam(s), it’s arguably more important to recharge and prioritize your health in times of stress so you can do your best and feel your best.