March Into Midterms with your Head Held High
By Tina O’Toole, Staff Writer
You have made it through the first half of the semester, and the massive hurdle to the second half is looming before you: It is the week of midterms. While students cope by procrastinating, drinking caffeine enriched drinks, and holding last-minute study sessions, there are eight tips that can help you to excel on your midterm exams, paving the way to a successful semester.
- Rest, rest, and more rest. While many students stay up late hoping to cram that last bit of information into their already saturated brains, students really need restful breaks to increase their ability to retain this much-needed information. Sleep well, then study.
- Take breaks! While back-to-back study sessions may seem like a good idea, you will absorb the information better if you take regular, short breaks. Optimal study break lengths are 15-20 minutes.
- Do not forget to eat! Start your day with a good breakfast to keep your energy up, and do not forget to eat lunch and dinner as well. Sometimes a quick and healthy snack will give you the boost you need. Avoid a lot of sugary foods and drinks as they may give you a jolt of energy, but that energy is short lived, and you will crash.
- Stay hydrated! It is fine to drink some caffeinated beverages, but do not make that your only source of hydration. Coffee and tea are great as well, but your body needs water to be its best.
- It is all about the study space! Where you study can have a great impact on your retention. Your study space should be comfortable and quiet. If you find your dorm to be too loud, perhaps a trip to the library or park, if the weather is good, would be your best bet.
- Discover the method of studying that works well for you: Small study groups with individuals who are as motivated as you; notecards, a quiet space, and privacy; rereading chapters and research in the library; or a mix of methods. Whatever it is that works best for you, stick with it, and you will be well on your way to mastering your midterms.
- Stay active! Sitting in the library or lying in bed for hours on end can make you sleepier and less likely to absorb your class materials. Get up and walk around regularly, have a gym break, bring your notecards with you for a walk around campus, or find some other way to keep your body as active as your mind. It will pay off when you are alert and your roommate is drooling over their textbook.
- Finally, relax! It is hard to consider the possibility that you can relax when you have four midterms in one week, and you are desperately trying to maintain your GPA, but you will do better if you relax. Stress can be good and even motivating, but high levels of distress are unhealthy and may affect your ability to study well.
While these steps cannot guarantee you will get the A you are hoping for, they can help you study for midterms in a healthier way and reach a higher potential grade than you would have without these steps. Now, what are you doing reading the newspaper when you have midterms to study for?