Midterms: it's something every college student will come across during their time at university.
They're stressful, exhausting, may seem entirely pointless, but more importantly, will be here closer than you think. These exams can be a big change for first-year students and it's important to know where to begin to even study for them and how to effectively prepare.
So with that in mind, here are 11 pieces of advice I have to the freshmen who will be experiencing their first midterms in just a few weeks.
1. Don't re-read the textbook as a study method.
This NEVER works and it's not the best studying strategy.
Odds are you'll just zone out and mindlessly read the words in front of you, and this will do more harm than good since you'll ultimately just be wasting time.
Be proactive with your study methods! Make flashcards with Quizlet, find a group of study buddies and make a Kahoot, or take time to re-write your notes--anything is better than just reading the textbook.
2. Pulling an all-nighter is never a good idea.
The media will trick you into thinking that studying all the time and pulling all-nighter's is the epitome of the college experience, and this couldn't be further from the truth.
All-nighters never work. Set time aside to study but once it hits, for example, 10 o'clock, it's time to pack up your stuff and go to bed.
How can you expect to study and memorize when you're absolutely exhausted?
3. Making an appointment for a tutoring session is never a bad idea.
Odds are that your university has multiple resources that you can utilize for studying. Go to them! Tutors are there to help and support you, and they will more than likely be able to assist you if you are struggling.
4. Do. Not. Cram.
Try to plan at least a week in advance and get your materials organized before the night of the exam. Cramming is not possible at the university level, so prepping and thinking ahead is key.
5. Turn off or put away your cell phone.
Whenever I need to write an exam or study for a test, I put my cell phone in a pocket of my backpack. If it's out of sight, then it's out of mind.
The most distracting object you own is your cell phone, so it's better to keep it away for a few hours so that you are able to effectively get some work done.
6. Find a good study spot.
And the library is not going to be your best bet. When midterms and finals come around, students come out of the woodwork and the library will be overflowing with students doing the same thing as you: studying.
If you have a campus like mine, there's always a ton of hidden (and quiet) rooms that work well for a study spot devoid of people.
7. Speaking of study spots, a change of scenery is always nice.
Say you do go to the library one day to study, after spending hours and hours in there, you're going to want to look at something else other than those same four walls.
It'll clear your head and you'll work better in a new place, just trust me on this.
8. Come up with a study plan.
If your midterm is a huge exam that covers everything from day one, you're going to need to plan in advance and pick certain days to study certain material.
Like I said with No. 4, the worst thing you can do is cram, so make sure to plan ahead.
9. Whatever you do, don't go out and party the weekend before.
Odds are that you'll be spending your weekends in the library, so you'll want to be able to sleep a normal amount and not be completely hungover when trying to study. Don't do it. It's just easier if you don't.
10. On the day of the exam, don't freak out.
This is probably easier said than done, but you'll be bound to make silly mistakes if you spend time worrying how bad you might do. It's important to get rid of any and all negative thoughts and to go in feeling positive.
11. And of course, don't forget a pencil.
Don't overlook this step and don't forget it! You won't get very far without it and some professors may not be so forgiving if you come in unprepared.
Good luck to anyone experiencing midterms! You got this!