Preparing for Midterms and Finals

How to study:
Decide what topics you should review.

Look over your syllabi, textbooks, notes and course materials to identify frequently mentioned topics as well as those that have appeared on prior quizzes and/or tests.

Identify material your professors have emphasized.

Focus on key themes, big ideas, and important concepts that have been covered extensively in class lectures and readings. Jot down what you know and with another color of text, make a list of the concepts that you have a hard time grasping.

Determine how much time you need to study.

Consider setting aside at least 60 minutes each day for studying the week leading up to an exam. This is for each class in which you have an exam.

Create a workspace.

Find a space that is comfortable as well as free from distractions and noise. Make sure your space is clean and organized. Leave your cell phone in another room to avoid the temptation of using it.

Utilize study groups.

Sharing and discussing different ideas and perceptions deepens critical thinking and understanding.

Avoid cramming and focus on distributed practice.

We study best in shorter periods instead of longer sessions. It is better to space out studying over several days in which you work in shorter sessions instead of cramming or pulling an all-nighter. This is called distributed practice. Studying for shorter durations over many study sessions increases meaningful learning. However, for distributed practice to work, one must follow a study schedule.

Maintain a good diet.

Avoid skipping meals because this will sap your body of the energy needed to maintain concentration. Just as you should avoid cramming when it comes to studying, you should avoid cramming too much food into one meal. Spread out your meals and try to avoid consuming junk foods and sugary drinks as some studies indicate they can negatively affect concentration.

Schedule Breaks.

Taking short breaks (10-15 minutes) during study sessions allows you to rest and helps you retain information. It increases your levels of concentration and motivation.

Do not hesitate to ask for help.

You are not in this alone. Make an appointment with a BUGS tutor!

On the test day:
Tips on Taking a Test

1. Practice like you test → When making yourself practice tests, take them in a similar environment to what the real exam will be. This may be timing yourself or being in a certain space.

2. Come back → If you don’t get a question within 1 minute, circle it and come back to it after you’ve finished as many as you can.

3. Take a break → Whether that is flipping your paper over and taking a deep breath or walking to the bathroom- you have the time.

4. Look it over → Even if you are exhausted by the end of it, look over your answers to make sure you are confident.

5. Don’t second guess → Most times your first instinct is correct. Don’t stress over going back and forth between answers.

Tips on Essay Writing

1. Schedule it → Plan when you will complete the sections of your essay leading up to the deadline. Leave the day before it’s due as an ‘editing day’.

2. Write an outline → This can be the focus of one of the days you set time aside to work on the essay.

3. Three Quotes → Have a list of at least 3 quotes you can use in the paper.

4. Cite → Your sources before you start working so it’s easier to remember to embed them in the text.

5. Two editors → Have at least 2 people look over your essay.  Use one person who is in the class and one person who is not.

6. Flow → Have a sentence at the beginning and end of each paragraph that connects it to the latter or future section.