1. Study Effectively With a Friend: Notice I said a friend, as in one person. Studying with a big group can be more distracting than helpful. If you have just one solid person to bounce ideas off of and fill in the gaps of each other’s notes, you should get through material more efficiently. If this is a good friend who you can’t trust to stay on topic, make sure to grab a meal or coffee before or after. This way, you’ll have time to talk about other things, but can keep study time focused.
2. Make a Study Schedule: If your semester is anything like mine this year, fitting in time to study will be a struggle. Block out times that you will absolutely stop what you are doing to study for your midterms. Chances are, your midterm exam grade will be worth more than whatever other assignment or task you are working on at the time.
3. Know When to Take a Break: Some midterms can seem very overwhelming, but we tend to make them even harder for ourselves. If you’re having trouble solving a practice problem or can’t seem to figure out what your notes mean about a topic, don’t let yourself get more frustrated by panicking, repeating the same incorrect process multiple times, or spending time staring and waiting for the answer to appear. Your time will be much better spent focusing on something entirely different for a few minutes so that you can come back and approach your question in a new light.
4. Ask for Help: I used to think that I couldn’t go to a professor with a question until I had tried every possible method to find the answer on my own. Don’t do this. It should quickly become apparent to you whether or not you know the material. It’s not worth it to spend hours researching something that a professor can explain over email or in his office hours in a few minutes.
5. Remove Distractions (With Technology!): You know what prevents you from studying. If you need quiet, go to the library. If you can’t stop thinking about something else that needs to get done, do that first. Don’t sit down to study until you know you are ready to study. If you need some extra help to create the perfect conditions, use your phone or computer to download applications that can help you out. For example, there are dozens of apps and websites with free white noise machines so that if you can’t get stand absolute silence, you can listen to soothing background noise. My personal favorite app is Self-Control, where you can input websites that the app will not allow your computer to visit for the time period you select. Can’t keep yourself off Facebook for the next two hours? If you use Self-Control, you won’t have a choice.
Good luck everyone!
Amanda Gallucci is a junior at Providence College in Rhode Island, studying English and Business. She is actively involved in Dance Club, Social Justice Advocacy, Student Alumni Association and is a member of NSCS. She hopes to one day land a marketing position in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @agalluch.