An Overachiever’s Guide to Studying for Midterms

I have a very specific vocabulary when it comes to describing midterms, and most of it isn’t appropriate for publication. I think it’s fair to say that midterms can be overwhelming - I’m a freshman and I already dread what’s to come!

Luckily, Laurier provides a bunch of workshops about studying, one which happens to be affectionately named “Midterm Madness.”

In an attempt to figure out how I could get extra help for my Linear Algebra course, I stumbled upon these workshops and thought, “what do I have to lose?” It turns out that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So I signed up for the workshop and the following Monday, I attended.

I left with a newfound surge of motivation and a game plan for tackling my midterms.

I’d like to think I learned a thing or two and I’d like to share that knowledge with the world.

Study in sessions, not a late-night cram.

Instead of a five hour session the night before a midterm, study for an hour each of the five days before. It’s proven that we retain more information this way. Want to investigate this more in-depth? Read up about the Curve of Forgetting, which is an actual mathematical formula showcasing our ability to remember information.

Set a goal for each session.

All you have to do is take one or two minutes at the start of your study session to decide what it is you want to accomplish. Giving yourself some sort of direction will make it easier to focus on the topic at hand.

Work on learning or solidifying each concept related to your goal.

Eliminate your distractions and take some time to focus on the basics of your material. Once you’ve processed what it is you need to know and what you already know, try to summarize it in your own words. Once you can successfully summarize the subject, work through any practice problems.

Review, review, review!

Go over what you’ve studied at the end of each session and make note of what you still need to learn. You need to know what you don’t know in order to know what you need to know. Say that five times fast.

Extra tips:

1. Study in a calm environment

The busier and noisier the environment, the more distractions you’ll have to deal with.

2. Study at a consistent time

Make it a habit to study at a certain point in the day so that it becomes part of your routine instead of a once in a blue moon situation.

3. Use your textbook

You’re paying for it and it has all the information you need. Check the key concepts, learning objectives and chapter summaries to help solidify information.

4. Take short breaks

You might have heard of the Pomodoro Technique, where you study for 25 minutes and take a five minute break. While you don’t have to match those time constraints, it’s good to have a break at some point so your mind can rest.

Good luck studying Golden Hawks!