Trilby’s Tips On Surviving Midterms

By Trilby Goouch

Blogs Editor

Midterms: That time of the year when sleep and assignments are put on the back-burner, and studying infiltrates your already busy day-to-day schedule. Despite this, we all get through them in one way or another. Now in my third year, I have adopted a number of study habits that have helped me stay sane through these stressful few weeks.

1. Perfect practice makes perfect. I can’t reiterate this enough. My first term of calculus last year was a gruelling one. Determined to do well, I would spend whole afternoons at Starbucks, slaving away at 2 or 3 questions, only to leave tearful and defeated. What was I doing wrong? I was practicing, but my methods weren’t correct. All I was doing was reiterating my problematic habits. My solution? Before my next midterm, I read through my old assignments and tests and highlighted questions I was having trouble solving. I brought the list to my Professor and reviewed each question, writing down the correct formulas and steps involved. This meant I could spend a few hours at Starbucks studying effectively; I was properly prepared.

2. Don’t burn out. I know that they say you should aim to study for exams well in advance, but I felt burnt out days before the midterm when I used to review weeks beforehand. By the time the exam rolled around I was sick of looking at the material, and avoided the subject under the false pretence that I didn’t need anymore review. I still prepare a few weeks in advance by ensuring my notes are up to date, but I save my studying closer to the deadline. When the test rolls around, the material is fresh.

3. Put your phone away. You’d be amazed at how much time you spend responding to texts while you’re studying. You think you’ve just completed 2 hours of solid studying, when in reality you weren’t fully focused.

4. As soon as you feel you’re getting restless, take a break. I close my books the minute I start to feel irritable or distracted. It’s better to take an hour and relax, watch a show or have a nap than to waste an hour studying in a half-hazard way. No one wants to commit to 3 hours of studying with only an hour’s worth of good notes to show for it.

5. My last piece of advice? Play a pump up song or two before you go into your midterm. It will distract you during that ominous half hour before your test, and studies show that test performance is significantly influenced by your mood (source: Psychology Today). I blasted Titanium before my microeconomics midterm last year and walked in feeling pretty pumped up. It was also my best mark. Why not give it a go?

Take note, and good luck!

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