Four Tips to Help You Prepare for Midterms

By Tonia-lee Haughton

Exams are usually the most nerve-racking parts of school for a student. Whether it’s a fear of disappointing parents in the event of failure or a drop in your GPA, these thoughts can make exam preparation overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways to ease your anxiety about test-taking. Here is how!

1) Search For Information

As soon as your professor mentions the upcoming midterm, find out what topics they plan for the exam to cover. Be sure to check study sheets or cheat sheets if your professor provides you with any. Focus on those in your studies. Also, be sure to ask about the material in class that you don’t understand because you may need to know it for the exam. 

It is also important to know what kind of exam you’ll be given. These can range from multiple-choice, short answers and true/false. A certain format might be easier or more challenging for you than others, so you want to know what you’re in for so you can prepare accordingly.

2) Find Your Study Strategy

Some people like to study using index cards. These can be helpful on the go, so you don’t have to walk around with a notebook. The traditional way of studying, which is memorizing directly from the notebook, is helpful to some. But some students say just memorizing isn’t helpful. Their view is that it’s just memorizing instead of learning. Think of it as relearning something you’ve written down as if you’re reading a book to learn something from it, except it’s written by you.

Visual studying is not helpful for everyone. Some prefer audible aids, like recording their professor teaching in class or watching YouTube videos on what they’re studying for. There are many ways to help yourself learn something, but you have to find what works for you.

3) Time Management

Studying for an exam you’re planning to pass takes time and should not be done overnight. Of course, some people have accomplished passing an exam by cramming overnight. But if you’re an anxious person, it will be more beneficial to study ahead of time for at least one hour a day until the exam day. Or, you can study in short minute bursts throughout the day if your schedule is too busy to sit down for an hour studying.

Cramming the night before means staying up past bedtime trying to retain information with a sleepy brain only to go into the exam the following day with minimal hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your academic performance and cause physical and mental feelings of anxiety. Staying up too late can also result in low energy, diminishing your motivation for taking the exam. Even if you’re good at working under pressure, you are still jeopardizing your health. It is better to study for a midterm in advance rather than wait until the last minute.

4) Relax the Nerves

No amount of preparation can ease your doubts and worries for an exam. You still need to know how to lessen your anxiety. Being too nervous during a test can hinder your performance. Fortunately, you can find different ways to calm yourself down.

Exercising is helpful to some who like rigorous movements. You can run, walk, play a sport or join a gym. York has a fantastic one. Then there’s yoga, which is similar to exercise but gentler and can help ease tension in your body. Meditation is another way to help you relax about an exam. You may also find unconventional forms of relaxation, such as a hobby, spending time with friends or loved ones, playing with a pet, walking in nature, or listening to music. If possible, do any of these right before an exam. Choosing not to study close to exam time is a good idea. Whatever relaxes you is helpful enough.

The bottom line to remember is exams can cause a lot of anxiety in students. But it’s a normal feeling towards something involving a lot of pressure.

You can work through that nervousness and go beyond. 

Good luck in your midterms!

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