NIACC students working on homework
College Tips

Spring Break is Near, but First…Midterms

College brings with it a slew of new academic situations.  For instance, you may have less daily homework than in high school, but more tests and papers over the course of a semester. 

One of those tests, is the infamous midterm exam. 

While midterm grades themselves do not become part of a student’s official record, the midterm exam does typically account for a large portion of the final grade.  They are normally given to students in the middle of an academic term or semester to evaluate their current progress in class and can identify subject areas where you may need to improve before finals.

Ideally, studying for a midterm exam should begin at least five days in advance.  This allows you ample time to go over course concepts and materials and permits the opportunity to reach out to the instructor or peers should you have any questions. 

So, what’s the best way to study for Midterms?

  • Process your notes.  This includes going over all your notes from each class session.  Highlight key areas where you may need to dive into the textbook for clarification.  Be sure you understand each concept and how it applies to the class.
  • Create flashcards.  This is a valuable form of studying, especially when the purpose of your exam is to basically regurgitate all the information provided in the class so far. 
  • Plan ahead.  Mark the date of the exam in your planner and then count backwards, making a concise study plan and allowing enough time in each day to dedicate for each upcoming test.  
two female college students using notecards to study.
  • Do all the homework.  If there are practice exams or worksheets throughout the chapters, take them.  Give yourself every opportunity to follow along and see how you are absorbing the information.
  • Take breaks.  Your brain will need the rest.  It’s been noted the human brain is only able to fully concentrate for about 90 minutes before it needs to be given a 15-minute break. 
  • Alleviate stress.  This is an opportune time to practice a bit of self-care.  Take a walk, give yourself a facial, indulge in your favorite TV show.  Whatever gets your heartrate back to normal and calms the spirit – do it. 
  • Know your learning style.  Maybe re-reading notes and chapters doesn’t work for you.  Maybe you learn best in a group setting.  Or maybe your best studying is done early in the morning.  Whatever works best for you is the way you need to study for midterms.  Find your groove and get to work!

It’s important to be well-rested before a big exam.  Be sure to eat a meal rich in omega-3 fats, as they are known for their brain-boosting properties.  Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.  And bring all your necessary materials – pen, pencil, calculator, etc. required for the exam. 

Remember, you are not alone in your worry about doing well on midterm exams.  All students experience these feelings at some point in their college career.  If you’ve managed your time effectively, stayed organized, and honed your study efforts on the material, you should do just fine!

Spring Break is Near, but First…Midterms
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