How to Study For a Midterm

by Christopher Godwin

Upcoming midterms often create anxiety for students, and many college students cram for the tests, staying up all night to try for a strong grade. Those late nights often backfire, leaving you exhausted and unable to concentrate. With a solid study plan, you are able to tackle half a semester's worth of knowledge to earn the grade you want on the midterm.

Schedule Study Time

Schedule study time at the same time each day as a midterm approaches. Use the time between classes if you have a busy course load. Scheduling a weekly review during which you study material presented in class will prevent you from trying to squeeze long, arduous study sessions into your schedule right before a midterm. As the midterm approaches, go back through the material you've covered so far.

Prepare Study Materials

Gather all of your study materials before you sit down to review the information. Having your textbook, notes, past assignments and any office supplies you'll need allows you to study without interruptions. Prepare a study outline using copied notes from class and highlighted text from sourcebooks. William J. Rappaport, from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, at the State University of of New York at Buffalo, recommends putting all of the material you need to learn on one or two sheets of paper and trying to study only from your outline. Make flash cards with a question on one side an answer on the other to help you memorize difficult material and concepts. Review the assignments and test you've already completed for the class. You are likely to see some of the same information on the midterm.

Limit Distractions

Cell phones, radios, televisions and loud places like coffee shops can distract you from studying for a midterm exam. Study in a comfortable, quiet place like at your desk in your dorm room or at the library. If you study at home, turn off your cell phone and any other noise-making devices. Focusing on the information that you’re trying to remember without distractions makes it more likely that you’ll be able to remember it later, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Take Breaks

Trying to memorize material right before an exam can be difficult, and you may be tempted to try to cram as much study time in as possible the night before. Taking short breaks during a long study session can help you remember the information. Take a five- to 10-minute break every 60 minutes. Take a walk to clear your head, grab a cup of coffee or tea or talk with a classmate. Instead of cramming the night before, do a quick review before doing a relaxing activity to reduce stress.

About the Author

Christopher Godwin is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. He spent his formative years as a chef and bartender crafting signature dishes and cocktails as the head of an upscale catering firm. He has since ventured into sharing original creations and expertise with the public. Godwin has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in publications like "Spork Magazine," "Cold Mountain Review" and "From Abalone To Zest."

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