Logan’s Guide on How to Excel on Your Midterms

Midterms are slowly but surely approaching and for some students, they have already arrived which can be an overwhelming experience for any student. I’m here to tell you that the truth is, there’s nothing to be worried about if you follow some of these tips which are guaranteed to make you even more prepared for success! 

  1. Make a study plan: Try to plan this ahead by a few weeks in your planner by setting dates for when you will study certain sections that you know or think will be on your midterm and also, try to focus the duration of how long you think you should study different sections around your familiarity with them. If you spend a lot of time on a section (or sections) that you are comfortable with, it takes away from the time you could be spending studying the more difficult chapters that you need to cover. I have definitely done this before and DEFINITELY regretted it.

  2. Dress comfortably: This is a tip that is not said a lot, but it carries a lot of weight. If you’re planning on strutting into class with your new tight skirt and heels, it might make you feel uncomfortable. I did this a lot in high school, and although I looked pretty darn fly, I didn’t feel that way. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t "dress for success" but that feeling of discomfort during a library grind session or midterm doesn’t mix very well with the nerves already established from preparing to take or taking the exam in the first place. Make sure that you dress in a relatively comfortable fashion so you can avoid this problem and as Troy Bolton would say, “get your head in the game” for your midterm!

  3. Don’t freeze up: Oftentimes, when we take tests, we get nervous as we overanalyze certain questions thinking they are way more difficult than they actually are. When our minds get stressed out, we tend to panic at the small things, second-guessing even the easiest of problems which is why we double-check if two plus two really equals four in our calculators (Just so you know, it still does!). The best way to solve this is and save yourself some time is to look through the test as soon as you get it, and try to look for the questions you can answer easily. If you go through the test in chronological order and stay stuck on the hard problems, your mind will go into panic mode, thinking that you won’t know anything or don’t know enough. Additionally, if you ask any professor, they will tell you to look through the test because some prompts actually answer other questions they are asking, so not only does that save you time, but it gives you some leverage on your exam!

  4. Take breaks: One mistake I made in my first semester of college when it came to studying was studying for hours on end without giving my mind a rest. Now, even taking a walk around my dorm or the library for a few minutes made me feel a little better. If your mind is feeling cramped, it is totally okay to take a break and is extremely beneficial for you. Although it may not seem like that because every minute counts in preparation for an exam, it’s been suggested that if you study for hours on end - for every hour, you should take a fifteen-minute break to stretch, eat a snack, and just generally recharge so you don’t burn the candle at both ends.

  5. Get a good amount of sleep: Rest is one of the most important things for your body and your mind. You may think it’s a good idea at the moment to pull all-nighters for an exam because you’ll have more time to process the information and it will be fresh in your mind before you take that exam. While you may think that’s true, your mind is just going to get tired and be unable to retain anything as a result. It’s important to start studying early so you are prepared to do a review of the material prior to the morning of your exam so that the information is in your long term memory, as opposed to your short term memory which I promise doesn’t serve you as well as you think it might. You’re better off going to bed and reviewing a study guide or Quizlet in the morning if you’re really worried about what you do or do not know in that eleventh hour - giving your mind that night of rest is crucial and will keep you energized so that you can stay focused on acing your midterm!

Of course, everyone wants to do the best they can for midterms, but don’t overwork yourself, because mental health is IMPORTANT!!! I can’t stress this enough because it’s super-duper true. I completely understand the people who want to work as hard as they can to do the best, because I am one of them. Even though it feels like the end of the world if you don’t spend every moment devoted to studying, it is better for you, in the long run, to give yourself a bit of time to relax. Being prepared is always beneficial, but so is being in a good place mentally.