How to Successfully Study for Midterms

By: Megan Damini

Ah, midterm season. The wonderful season where students live, sleep and breath the library air, and consume only Starbucks coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches from Roosters.

For the first time in three years, I have no midterms and I could not be more pumped. While I have many projects to work on, I get to spend the majority of my reading week relaxing, and catching up on sleep and Netflix. My poor sister in second year biomed on the other hand, has five midterms. I remember being in that situation. After chatting with her about how she and her friends are preparing, I realized that not all students really think out how they are going to study and succeed at their midterms. So I decided to come up with a little guide that helped me through my first three years of school.

The week leading up to the exam:

  1. Create a study plan.

Planning out when you’re going to study, where you’re going to study and what subject you’re going to study is huge. Time management, especially if you have multiple exams in one week, will really work to your benefit. For me, one thing that really helped with this was creating a study plan. By creating a calendar and dedicating time to eating, studying alone and with friends, and at times doing nothing I was able to keep my mental health stable and feel as though I was more on track.


  1. Use study materials that fit your learning style.

Not everyone learns in the same way. Some of my friends study by reading through their notes, others re-write everything they’ve learned by hand, and some learn best by explaining everything they’ve learned to another person. I personally study best by writing out course material onto poster boards. Cue cards are also an awesome idea, as is creating a practice test, or going to office hours or a group study session. Do what will be effective and efficient for you!

The night before the exam:

  1. Do not cram and RELAX.

This right here is the key to success. Starting your studying early enough means that you shouldn’t have to cram. Instead, it could mean you watch a movie or hang out with a friend. Resting your brain before demanding from it all the information you’ve learned so far in the semester will help you to stay refreshed and energized.


The day of the exam:

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast

Waking up early the day of the exam and making yourself a healthy breakfast is an awesome way to get the day started. This could be a bowl of oatmeal, yoghurt, some fruit, or hey even some waffles with whipped cream- whatever gets your knowledge and creative juices flowing.


  1. Arrive at the test location early

Don’t leave for your exam 10 minutes before it’s supposed to start. Give yourself enough time to get there, calm down, grab a drink of water or a bite to eat if you need it and relax. There’s nothing worse than leaving too late and losing time writing the exam or missing it completely.

  1. Remember any materials you might need

Bring a pencil, pen, eraser, whiteout, and highlighter- whatever you need! It’s not the professor’s job to remember all this stuff for you so think ahead about what you might want next to you. This could even be a pack of gum or a stress ball.

As DJ Khalid would say, these very well might be the ‘keys to success’ to ace those midterms.

Good luck!

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