11 Ways To Start Preparing For Midterms Now
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11 Ways To Start Preparing For Midterms Now

Don't panic—prepare.

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11 Ways To Start Preparing For Midterms Now

As if finals weren’t enough of a stress on your social life, state of mind and coffee budget, professors decided to introduce finals’ bratty little sister, midterms. Midterms are like the trick drop in a roller coaster before the real free-fall: a heart-stopping, but (hopefully) quick moment before the real terror. Thankfully, like the trick drop, midterms won’t be too scary if you are prepared. Follow these tips to make your “hell week” less hellish.


1. Reread the syllabus.

Syllabus week was half a semester ago and, let’s be honest, kind of a haze of gettin’ sylly. Reread through your syllabi to remind yourself of your professors’ test formats, expectations and units covered before the test. Focusing on the individual test-giving styles of your professors will help you tailor your test prep and test-taking style for that class.

2. Scope out a study space.

Some students love the quiet; some students need a little bit of background noise. Some students need cushy couches and soft lighting, and some can’t concentrate unless they’re sitting in a desk. Find what environment works for you. Bonus points if your study space serves good brain food or caffeinated beverages.

3. Find a study buddy/group.

If you haven’t already, make some connections in your classes to find a study buddy or group with whom you can share notes, study guides, or just complaints about your bizarre professor. Though some students prefer to do most of their studying alone, collaboration is always a good supplement to solo studying. Your study buddy or group doesn’t have to be your new best friend(s), just preferably someone who has a good grasp on the material and neat handwriting.

4. Get to know your professor/TA.

Again, if you haven’t already, you’re going to need to make some connections. It may be intimidating to approach a professor or TA, but, considering they’re the ones giving and grading your test, their help is the most valuable you can get. Plus, making friends with professors and TAs is important year-round, for getting a good participation grade, getting recommendations for scholarships or internships and getting help on finals later in the year. The earlier you begin a relationship with your professor, the better.


5. Start a social media/Netflix fast.

OK, maybe not a fast, but a serious diet. No Snapchatting pics of you rolling your eyes with the caption “RIP to my GPA.” No posting a filtered pic of your study space, complete with latte topped with foam art, to Instagram. It may be easy to lay off posting for a while, but this includes laying off the liking and lurking on other friends’ profiles. “Just scrolling” is a dangerous activity that starts out as innocent procrastination and ends in the hardcore investigation of your cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Before you know it, you know all of her best friends’ names and her go-to filter and you’ve wasted hours of prime study time.

6. Use your planner.

If you don’t have one, get one. Then, actually start using it. Using some sort of planner is key to good time management. Make sure not to just write down important deadlines, but try to make a schedule for each day. Prioritize daily homework, but make sure to schedule some time to get ahead in midterm studies. Work always seems like more in the abstract; when everything is written out neatly in front of you, all of your responsibilities will seem much more manageable.

7. Catch up on reading.

Because we’ve all skipped a chapter or two or seven along the way. Reading a chapter or two each night before a midterm saves you from that miserable all-nighter you’d be forced to pull otherwise, saving you from a possibly unsafe amount of caffeine and junk food used to keep you up.

8. Make index cards.

Index cards are perfect little nuggets of knowledge to whip out and review in fleeting moments of free time, like in between classes. Write down definitions, important lists and concepts, and flip through the cards quickly whenever you have time.

9. Make study guides.

Making study guides is not only a great way to summarize what you know, organize and prioritize before the test, but you’ll make a ton of friends sharing your study guide with classmates. If your study guide is good enough, be prepared for pretty crazy offers from the students who weren’t as prepared as you.

10. Work on your sleeping patterns.

This is more than just catching up on your Z’s with a long nap on a Sunday. If you want to wake up fresh and well-rested for your tests, you’ll need to stop going to bed at 1 in the morning and waking up sometime in the late afternoon only to give up and go back to bed at 7 p.m. that night. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule in college is hard, but there are meditation practices, safe melatonin supplements and even helpful apps to help you find a balance.

11. Use campus resources.

Every campus has tutoring and studying resources. The University of Iowa is blessed with a multitude. Advisors, SI, writing and math labs, private tutors, and beautiful study spaces all over campus are free and available for university students to utilize. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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