Hello my friends! It is officially October and that is terrifying for a myriad of reasons. 1st, Where did September go. 2nd, now that September ended we have to go wake up Green Day (fun fact-I have no shame when it comes to puns). 3rd and probably the most stress inducing of the three: Midterms. No matter if you are gods gift to standardized testing or crawl into a fetal position when given open response questions, exams are rough. You never know when your brain is going to throw you for a loop and decide that it is not going to make logical decisions when half your grade is at stake. All of that being said, there are very effective ways in which you can successfully prepare for these examinations without going on a three day, caffeine induced study bender.
Know what is going to be on the exam
This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people just do not know what material is on the test. This DOES NOT mean that every time the professor introduces new material you raise your hand and say “Is this going to be on the test?”. That is disrespectful and shows that you are there just to get a grade and a diploma rather than to learn about your craft. A professor’s syllabus generally will have all of the material that is going to be covered and a schedule of examinations. Assume you are responsible for all the material that was taught before that exam date.If a Professor repeats a certain bit of information it is most likely going to be on the exam. If you are still not sure what material is to be covered, pass by the professors office hour and ask for help on anything you are struggling with. They will most likely give you tidbits on what if anything your struggling with is on the exam.
Study in groups not just by yourself
While studying by yourself is highly recommended and absolutely necessary, it is most effective when paired with a study group. It is easy to procrastinate when you are not around other people pushing towards the same goal. It is also extremely helpful to tutor others on the information, explaining the material helps you internalize it and makes you look at it from different angles. When studying with other people you can bounce ideas and off of each other and break the monotony of sitting in a chair and staring at a text book. Pool your knowledge together and the entire class will ace the exam!
Do Not Cram
Cramming does not work for the long term. Yes, it is possible to stuff a lot of information into your brain in a short period of time and regurgitate it into a blue test booklet. You are only doing a disservice to yourself by cramming. With no reinforcement all of that information is going to be gone within the week and when the comprehensive final exam rolls around you will have stuff an entire semesters work of material into two nights, not fun. If you break up your study time throughout the semester (20-45 minutes, 2 times a day) you will actually remember the material past the first exam and hopefully for your college and post college careers.
Disconnect and enjoy the silence
It is so easy to not study. There is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. etc. etc. We have to DISCONNECT. Stay off the social media while you are studying, it will only distract you and make your already busy life busier. While you are staying off the internet (unless its for homework) try to occupy a space that is not so distracting. While your residence hall room is probably your first option it may not be quietest . Try the library, a park bench maybe one of the computer labs in your colleges department. The more you focus the more you can get done in shorter periods of time.
Stay healthy and organized
The fast food and coffee diet is a cheap ticket to the freshman 45 folks. The more you take care of your body the more efficient you will become at studying and your work overall. Your body is a machine and needs it maintenance. Schedule time to eat healthy,exercise and sleep. Also, schedule time to keep everything organized. If you room looks like a nuclear bomb when off the on reading day you might be in for a rough week. If you go into finals week with a clean and organized room, a schedule for how you are going to study for your exams and clear head, you are just that more likely to succeed.
Happy hump day friends, you are all going to do great.