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Four Tips for Midterm Success

Craig Bolton | September 27, 2016

Midterm season can creep up on you out of nowhere. Before you know it, October is here and you’re faced with the nightmarish reality of being ill-prepared. Disaster is, thankfully, avoidable.

1.  Don’t Plan to Cram


It doesn’t work, so don’t even try it. You may (and that’s a big may) succeed in retaining some of the information in your short-term memory, but it will be incomplete knowledge and will not stay with you for long; it may not even stay with you long enough to use on the exam. In reality, you’re better off getting a good night’s sleep rather than engaging in panicked study.

Instead, familiarize yourself with tip number 2…

2. Review, Review, Review


…and do it constantly. There is really no substitution for this or a better way to get the grade you want. Reviewing one’s notes regularly increases information retention and is a relatively easy and practical approach to studying.

Reviewing notes before and after class can help you get the most out of the course and, as far as midterms are concerned, increase your knowledge of the course and your potential test scores.

Even if it’s just casual reading or a skim through, review early and often so as not to fall behind and to be properly prepared for exams.

If your notes are, perhaps, not what they should be, I have another suggestion for you…

3. Organize Yourself


We aren’t all well organized, especially towards the start of the semester; we are still acclimating to being back at school and haven’t quite worked the summer out of our systems.

However, as midterms approach it becomes time to think about organizing our notes and creating study guides. Well organized (and revised) notes make for easy reading and, after a few read-throughs, a way to regularly build and refresh and your long-term memory.

Organizing your notes does take time, but will save you time and energy in the long run; imagine reading hand-written, disjointed notes compared to notes that are thought out, logically organized, and well compiled for easy readability.

4. If You’re Still Procrastinating, Stop Now



Just… don’t. It can be difficult to build a routine and resist the urge to simply put it off. Before you know it, midterms begin tomorrow and

you’re facing a potential disaster.


worst enemy is small, manageable tasks, and the best time to designate those tasks is early on.

You wouldn’t try to eat a watermelon whole, so don’t try to manage your notes, compile a study guide, master the material, and practically apply it all in one sitting the day before an exam.

Rather, break it into pieces and engage it at a healthy pace. Integrate it into your routine and avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Midterms can be awful, but they don’t have to be. You can stay on top by getting the jump on them early and setting a routine. It can maximize your chances of success while avoiding some of the most common studying mistakes.