If you haven’t experienced midterms in college, then you may be unsure of what to expect. In my freshman year, I naively expected to coast through my midterms, like I did in high school. I was far from right though, midterms at Florida State are a completely different experience from that in high school. These are some of my most important tips for navigating the infamous midterm week.
One of the largest mistakes I made freshman year was not planning ahead. Try to plan out everything to prepare yourself for midterm week. Write down the dates of each exam, consider which ones will be the most difficult, and plan out the days you will study for them. Planning out your study times can make midterms seem much less overwhelming and intimidating. It will also help you to keep organized and hold your self accountable. If you have the time, I also like to start thinking about how I will study for each exam- whether I will need to make a quizlet, study with classmates, or find practice tests to help me learn the material. Planning how you will study will also help you figure out how far in advance you should study for each exam. Try to overestimate how much time you will need to study, I find that there will always distractions and study breaks to account for.
Study with classmates
This is not true for everyone, but I personally think that studying with other people in your class can be helpful when preparing for midterms. If I don’t know the answer to a question or need the motivation to stay focused, studying with classmates is helpful in this sense. As long as its a small group of people who are all focused and typically work hard in class, study groups will be beneficial for learning material. It can also be helpful for memorization and comprehension to talk about the information with others. Studying with classmates also allows you all to create a study guide together, which will be much quicker than if you were to make one yourself. I like using either Quizlet to create study guides, or writing them by them so that I will memorize the material more easily. Be sure to talk to your classmates before the midterm week, because it’s likely that you will be able to find people who are looking for a study group as well.
Find good study spots
Where you choose to study largely impacts how much you will get done and how successful you will be in your studying. Because Strozier Library will likely be full, find another quiet place where you can sit down and focus on your work. I recommend going to either coffee shops, your apartment study room, Dirac Library, or an open classroom which will be much less crowded. I personally do not even attempt finding a seat at Strozier during midterm week, because I know it will end up being a waste of time. Unless you know someone who will share their table with you, I would not recommend trying to find a seat in Strozier. It can also become much noisier during the midterm week because there are so many people there. Try finding somewhere off campus where you can study in peace and with few distractions. Choosing the right study spot is key to making it through midterm week successfully.
Take care of yourself
One of the most important things you can do to be prepared for midterms is to ensure that you maintain your health. This can be challenging when you’re bombarded with multiple exams and early classes, along with regular assignments- but I know first hand that midterms are much more difficult when you neglect your health. If my schedule allows it, I try to study during the morning and day time when my energy is highest and I don’t feel cramped on time. It’s tempting to put off work and studying until later in the day, but doing the majority of your studying earlier in the day will be much less stressful. Studying at night is not always a bad idea, but it usually leads to staying up especially late and overindulgence of coffee. Planning your study hours as early as possible will help you to get this out of the way and study while your mind is fresh and awake. That way, you can have time later in the day to take breaks and get to sleep at a decent time. At the end of the day, your mental and physical health is much more important than straining yourself to study more. It has been scientifically proven that those who are lacking sleep and nutrition perform worse on exams than those who aren’t. Be sure to continue to eat normal amounts and drink lots of water so that you will feel refreshed and focused for your exams!
Make time for study breaks
Going hand in hand with taking care of yourself, taking breaks while studying is equally important. Learning and taking in so much information at once can be overwhelming and exhausting, so be sure to give your mind some time to rest between studying. If you’re studying indoors all day, either try to walk outside for some fresh air or listen to some music for a little while. Making time for study breaks will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and give your mind some time to refresh before getting back into it. I like to either do a spin class at the Leach or go for a run at Cascades park to ease my mind between studying. Being conscious of when your body and mind need a break will help you to stay focused and refreshed for your studying.