Tips and Tricks for Midterm Exam Success

By Malea Ritz

As midterm week approaches, there is an overwhelming pressure to make up for previously disappointing test scores with one high-scoring masterpiece of a grade. For the majority of students, this requires time management and careful planning, though instead it usually results in long, sleepless hours of seemingly endless studying. There are several must-haves needed to help students succeed, or at least assist them with the concentration.

Marielle Fibrish/Collegian
Marielle Fibrish/Collegian

With the proper study supplies, absorbing the material will be easier and more efficient. Books and notes are obviously essential items; although some believe they can get by without them, it is not advised to try. Flash cards are an extremely useful tool for memorization and vocabulary, but can also be used for learning other concepts. Highlighters help to draw attention to the main points of the reading and make these points easy and quick to revisit. Making study guides or outlines can be useful in having all of the important information easily accessible in one location. Maintaining organization is vital in achieving success on exams.

Although many claim that studying in a quiet space is not a necessity for success, it definitely helps. It is best to pick up and leave the room; even if it is quiet, distractions are omnipresent. One thing leads to another and then suddenly the focus has been interrupted too much for restoration. The library, a lounge, a classroom or a café all make for suitable study spaces. Try to be in a place with not too many others around, as people-watching can become a main priority, rather than retaining important academic information.

Putting in the required time to study is crucial. Leaving an entire semester’s worth of reading for one night will not end well. Start studying early! Break up the material into doable chunks that will make learning the information actually achievable. If need be, plot out the actual hours that each subject needs to be studied. For procrastinators, planning out the amount of time to set aside for breaks can be helpful. That way, pushing for focus longer will be easier if there is a break to look forward to.

If time management does not come easily, caffeine can help fuel studying into the wee hours of the morning. Coffee, energy drinks or soda, although not terribly beneficial to the health, usually do the trick. Eventually the crash is imminent, but can that always be dealt with later. At least it will help to give the studier a little more time than the body normally allows on its own.

Though caffeine does help the studier awake, sleep will be beneficial to the performance on the exams. On the night before an exam, it is best to get plenty of sleep so that all of the retained information is not lost in the time of need. If the learned knowledge is not completely there, at least the sleep will help to logically guess the best answer.

Some people like to bring a lucky charm to exams. The reason why lucky charms often work is that they give the test taker more confidence. It is not advised to neglect the studying solely because the lucky charm will be present at the time of the exam; however if it boosts confidence, by all means, bring it.

With the right supplies, amount of time and study space, midterm exam success can be effortlessly accomplishable. Focus and concentration can be prolonged with time management. Now, start studying; there is still time before the late-night cram session will be needed.

Malea Ritz can be reached at [email protected]