When it comes to acing a mid-term, there’s no magic trick or secret formula. It takes work—and the right amount of sleep! But if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can ace your next exam. Here are my top tips for preparing for and succeeding on your next midterm:
Get the right amount of sleep.
Getting enough sleep is the first step to studying effectively. The brain needs time to process information, consolidate memories and make connections between new information and knowledge you already have. It’s during sleep that we do our best learning and memory consolidation – so it’s no wonder that people who don’t get enough sleep are less likely to perform well in exams! Sleep also helps you stay focused because getting sufficient sleep allows your brain to regulate attention levels throughout the day.
Your brain uses most of its energy when you are awake, so it makes sense that being awake for long periods of time can cause fatigue which can affect your ability to study effectively. If you are tired or lacking energy then it might be worth considering taking a short nap before tackling your revision (it may not be possible if this is during school hours). A brief nap can help refresh and re-energise your mind making it easier for you concentrate while revising without feeling overwhelmed by fatigue.
Don’t stress too much about your schedule.
- Don’t stress too much about your schedule.
If you haven’t been able to keep up with the amount of work that your professors have assigned, don’t panic! If you’ve been hitting the books hard, but still feel like there are holes in your understanding for certain topics or concepts, then it’s time to take a step back. You might be overthinking things and losing sight of what needs improvement most urgently.
The best way to avoid stress is by staying on top of things as they come in: make sure that assignments are due at reasonable times throughout the semester so you’re not scrambling at the last minute; ask for extensions when needed (and show progress) instead of letting a project go until just before it’s due; and aim for early drafts instead of waiting until finals week to start writing everything out from scratch again.
Plan ahead and focus on studying regularly instead of cramming.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to studying for midterms is planning. Planning ahead will help you keep on schedule and focused, no matter how many assignments you have due that week.
For example, if your test is on Thursday and one of your assignments was due Tuesday night, it’s best not to wait until Wednesday morning before starting the assigned reading. This will allow you enough time (usually about two hours) for each assignment before moving onto another one. This prevents wasting time trying to cram everything in at once; instead, your focus will be spread out over several days instead of being concentrated on one or two days leading up to the exam date.
Speaking of exams: don’t fall into the trap of cramming everything into a single study session before taking a big test! Cramming can actually cause more harm than good by causing stress and anxiety while studying—and even worse, it won’t help retain any information at all once those stressful moments are over! Instead, try breaking down big projects into small chunks that take less time—such as completing 10 practice problems per night rather than spending three hours doing them all at once before bedtime!
Find a way to study in a way that works for you.
- Getting a quiet place to study.
- Search for a study buddy.
- Ideally a distraction less space.
I find it works best when I can control the environment, so I opt for my bedroom or basement (which is pretty much always quiet). I’ve also found that having someone else around helps me stay focused—so if you have someone who will be studying with you, great! If not, try reading aloud or listening to music while you read through your notes and flashcards.
Participate in class, but don’t let it distract you from studying.
Don’t let your grades be the only thing that matters. It’s important to focus on your own learning, rather than just trying to get a high grade. If you’re not particularly interested in what’s being taught in class, focus on studying for exams instead of trying to pay attention and learn things that you don’t need for the course.
Ask your professors to identify high-yield topics and concepts to focus on.
Ask your professors to identify high-yield topics and concepts.
This may sound a bit like cheating, but it’s not. In fact, it’s more of an aid than anything else. After all, what better way is there to study for an exam than by using your professor as a resource? If you know that the topic of “molecular biology” will be on next week’s test, don’t waste time studying things like “genetic mutations.” That should be obvious and self-evident—and if it isn’t obvious and self-evident right now then it won’t feel so obvious or self-evident after spending hours poring over pages and pages of text in search of some detail about genetic mutations that might appear on next week’s exam (spoiler alert: there won’t be any). Instead use this time wisely by asking your professor what he thinks are some important ideas or concepts from last week’s lecture notes or reading assignments that he would recommend focusing on during review sessions.
If you want to ace your midterm, start early.
In order to ace your mid-term, you must start studying early. The sooner you start, the more prepared you’ll be for when the test comes around. This can also help reduce stress levels as well. If you wait until the last minute, then all of a sudden it becomes a panic situation where there’s not enough time to learn everything and do all of your homework assignments that are due at the same time as your midterm exam date.
How much time should I spend studying?
It depends on how much information is covered in each class and how difficult it will be for you to remember everything before taking an exam on this material later down the road (like next week). If all of this new information is flying right over your head during lectures and discussions about it, then we recommend dedicating at least 3 hours per day towards studying so that by Friday afternoon when exams begin there would have been several solid days worth of preparation behind them already!
If you put in the effort and do your best, there’s no reason why you can’t ace your midterm. It may seem like an intimidating prospect, but in reality it’s just another step towards achieving your goals – which will hopefully include graduating with flying colors!