Midterm Exam Study Tips


Gage Mazaika

Keep Calm And Study For Midterms

Caroline Austin, Staff 2018-2019

Welcome back GHS! It’s 2019 and now that Winter Break is over, it’s almost time to start thinking about midterm exams. Whether this is your first exam or your twentieth, these tests can be nerve-wracking for anyone, and knowing where to start studying can be even more daunting. Midterms are scheduled for the week of January 21st and there’s no time like the present to make things easier on yourself and begin the copious amounts of studying we should all probably do. Below is a list of fifteen studying tips, so you’re sure to find something that works for you.

  1. Start studying early
  • The worst possible way to tackle your exam is by cramming at the last minute. Not only will you be exhausted, but the information is way less likely to stick with you in the long run. Starting your studying early is a surefire way to better your exam grade. As a bonus, the better you study the material now, the easier it’ll be to go back and study for finals!

2. Do the exam review

  • There’s no sinking feeling quite like a 100 question exam review being plopped onto your desk. While it can be tempting to shove the packet into the bottomless pit of your backpack so that it never sees the light of day again, DON’T! Completing the exam review given to you by your teacher is one of the most beneficial things you can do to prepare for your exam. Your teacher has created this exam and knows exactly what material is going to be on it. As a result, more often than not, the exam review and the test itself are going to cover very similar information. Many times the exam review is worth a test or a quiz grade, so the added grade boost can never hurt.

3. Go to the review session

  • Many teachers will offer after school exam review sessions as the test date gets closer. Go to one! This is an opportunity for you to attend a smaller version of your class where you are able to get specific, in-depth answers from your teacher that you may not have time for in a typical class block. Other students from your grade will be there asking questions as well, so it’s a great time to take notes and really make sure you understand the topic. Make a list of a few specific topics you’re unclear on before going into the review. Teachers appreciate it a lot more if you ask specifically about the causes of the Great Depression rather than saying “Uh, can you go over the 1930s?” Specificity is key to getting the helpful, personalized answers you may need! If your teacher isn’t offering a review session, there’s a good chance that someone else who teaches the same subject does. Ask you teacher about it and they’ll be happy to let you attend.

4.  Create your own study guide

  • Creating your own study guide is an excellent way to drive the information into your head. Not only do you have to look over and reread the information while creating it, but writing things down is scientifically proven to make them easier to recall. You can also pull this back out and look over it for finals review in June!

5.  Study things that aren’t on the study guide

  • While there is the rare phenomena that the exam is exactly the same as the study guide, more often than not study guides are meant to be exactly what they suggest; a guide. Study guides outline the main concepts that the exam will cover, but it’s your job to dig a bit deeper and learn the specific information within each topic. Trying to remember the things your teacher spent a lot of time on in class is usually a good starting point when delving into the specifics.

6. Organize a group study session

  • Studying doesn’t have to be locking yourself alone in your room with a textbook until the wee hours of the morning! Studying with others can be extremely beneficial. There’s strength in numbers! When more people study together, there’s a greater chance that one of you retained information in class that the others may have missed. Being able to quiz each other and bounce around ideas helps facilitate a more in-depth study session. Grab your friends, head down to the Tabb Library or your local Starbucks, and break out the books!

7. Take study breaks

  • It has been proven countless of times that taking studying breaks is infinitely beneficial for both your brain and your grade. Trying to retain everything at once just doesn’t work. Putting your brain on overload causes vital information to be left out and forgotten. Not to mention, burning yourself out will make it harder for you to study for other exams. To read the full article on the benefits of study breaks, check out this link: https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/10/16/are-study-breaks-beneficial/

8. Prioritize your study time

  • Exams would be so much easier to study for if we could drop everything and just focus on them. Unfortunately life goes on, even in the weeks leading up to exams. Sports teams still practice, jobs are still demanding, and teachers still give homework. Prioritizing your study time is going to be the key to making sure you can pass all of your exams. Make a list of all the exams you’ll have to take and consider the following:
  • How well do you understand the subject? You may have to spend a lot more time studying for BC Calculus than you would spend studying for Psychology. Know your strengths and weaknesses in each subject and spend more time on the ones you have a harder time with.
  • How much of your grade is it worth? One exam may be worth 50% of your grade while another may only be worth 15%. Do the math and figure out how exams will affect your grades. Study more for ones that may have a bigger effect on your grade in the long run.

9. Create a study schedule and stick to it

  • Another way to prioritize your studying is by making a schedule to outline when and for how long you will study for a specific topic. While it may seem impossible to make time for five exams between extracirriculars, jobs, and other homework, it doesn’t have to be! Even blocking off an hour every other day where you spend 20 solid minutes studying for each subject would add up over the course of three weeks. Sticking to a study schedule is all part of prioritizing your grades and working towards that best GPA you can have! Making good study habits now will also be extremely helpful when you get to college.

10. Study for the style of the exam

  • Every teacher administers their exam differently, and they’ll usually show you the style of the exam ahead of time. If your exam is using formulas to complete free response math problems, spend your time practicing with questions from previous quizzes and tests. If your foreign language exam focuses on speaking or listening, practice online activities that mirror what you’ll actually have to do on the day of the test.

11. Pace yourself

  • Don’t set ridiculous expectations for yourself. You’ll only get discouraged and will be more likely to drop your study schedule and cram the night before the exam. If teachers can’t teach three units in one day, don’t expect yourself to be able to study three units in one session. Being realistic and allotting plenty of time to do your studying at a reasonable pace is what will keep your studying on track.

12. Go somewhere else to study

  • If you get easily distracted while studying, you’re not alone. When studying at home anything from your phone to your dog to the fly on the window can seem like the most impossible distraction to conquer. Pack up your study stuff and head to Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, or the library. Not only will you be away from the distractions of your house, but if studying is the only thing you have to do while you’re there, you literally can’t do anything else. Seeing other people there doing work can also motivate you and put you in a studious frame of mind.

13. Teach your peers

  • If there’s a subject or two that you’re better at than others, offer to tutor fellow classmates in the weeks leading up to the exam. Teaching the material is one of the best ways for you to review the subject all while helping others. As an added bonus, tutoring can also be logged as volunteer hours. Let your friends and classmates know when you’ll be available and hit up your library of choice.

14. Switch up your focus

  • Don’t spend too much time on any one subject. Switching your studying up every 15 to 20 minutes will keep you on your toes and prevent your brain from zoning out. If you feel like you’ve been reading the same sentence for five minutes straight, take a break and start on a different subject. This will allow you to be able to study for longer periods of time because you won’t get bored and unfocused as quickly.

15. Make it fun

  • Make your studying diverse and interesting! Switch between creating acronyms, fun sayings, and quizzing yourself to get out of the boring cycle of rereading the textbook. There are tons of online resources created by teachers that can aid your studying and be fun at the same time. Try searching [your class subject] exam review jeopardy and have fun with what comes up! Most importantly, reward yourself for a job well done! Your grade will thank you later.