A Guide for a Freshman's First Midterm

Calling all freshmen; midterm season is upon us. Unfortunately, your studying tactics in high school will no longer cut it at your university. Luckily, if you are reading this, you are already taking the right steps to ace your first midterm. Here is a guide to assist you in kicking your first exam’s butt.


1. Start studying a week prior to the exam

Yes, you read that right: one week! Do you think Rome was built in a day? No. That means you can't study five weeks of class in one day either. If you have gone through five chapters in your textbook, study a chapter a night and then piece together all the information in the rest of the time you have. Studying a week prior to the exam gives you time to relearn all the material you missed while you were thinking about how hot the guy in front of you looks (admit it: we’ve all done it) and not be stressed out about it.


2. Attend office hours

If you have a question regarding any material, go see your professor (or t.a.). Email is fine, but let’s be real, your professor probably has hundreds of students and doesn’t have time to explain every little question you have in a timely manner. Plus, if you want to ask for your grade to be rounded up at the end of the semester, you probably should start building a good student-professor bond now.


3. Do NOT pull an all-nighter

I do not know who started the myth that it is a necessity to pull an all-nighter before an exam, but they were wrong. Our brains retain more information after a good night of sleep. Skip the 11 p.m. coffee and hit the sheets instead.  


4. Make flashcards

Note: make actual flashcards (yes, on paper). Flashcards are great because you're writing down the information when you first make them and then actively recalling things from class while flipping through them.  

5. Study alone and in groups

Take time to yourself to figure out what you do and do not know for the exam. Often study groups become talking sessions. Once you know all that you can from your own resources, study with someone from class and see if they know key information you missed. Quiz one another and see if they have any unique studying techniques up their sleeves;  everyone studies differently.


6. Take practice exams

This one is a biggie. A lot of times, professors release old exams that contain similar content to the questions on the exam you will have to take. Go through practice exams after you have taken the time to study all of your notes and then see how you do. If you see a trend in the material you are getting wrong, go back to your notes and study those concepts.

Midterms sound a lot scarier than they are if you are not prepared. Take the time, put in the effort, and you'll be sure to succeed! Happy studying!