Effective study tips can make studying for an exam so much easier. If you’re wondering how you’re going to survive spring midterms this year, don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. We’ve scraped together twelve effective study tips that are going to help you power through this with your sanity and your grades intact.
1. Read The Textbook
If you haven’t been reading along with the class, don’t panic. No one reads the textbooks cover to cover. The key is to take apart the main ideas (usually helpfully bolded at the start of new sections) and vocabulary scattered throughout any chapters you’ll be tested on. Make a list of each term and its definition, as well as the concepts underlining each main section. Basically, you’re making your own midterm Cliff Notes.
2. Make Flashcards
It’s the advice you always hear, but trust me—there’s a reason. You don’t have to make flashcards for absolutely everything: only the main vocabulary, names, dates, events, and any other one-answer question you think will be on the test.
Example: Who is the author of Lord of the Rings? The reverse side will be one answer: J. R. R. Tolkien.
Depending on the test, you may not have one-answer questions, but that shouldn’t stop you from making flashcards. Nothing messes up a timed, paragraph-length answer like not being able to remember an important name attached to whatever you’re writing about.
3. Enlist Somebody To Test Your Knowledge
Rope your friend, roommate, classmate, or sibling into helping you study for your spring midterms by having them read off questions or give you a mock test in random order. You can self-test all day long, but something about having someone else in control of the questions makes it feel more like a testing environment—and therefore more important to remember and less stressful when the actual test rolls around.
4. Keep A Notebook Of Key Information All Semester
All right, so this tip won’t help you cram the night before, but it will help you stay ahead of the game if you want to be prepared for spring midterms before they even get here. Not only does keeping lecture/textbook notes help you have most of the information-gathering process done ahead of time, but the act of writing something down triggers our memory better than simply reading or listening to the info.
Trust me: even if you think you know it, write it down.
5. Track Page Numbers
One of the hacks I’ve learned from taking notes is to write the page numbers beside important concepts or terms I’ve written down. This may not always be possible while taking frantic lecture notes, but if your professor follows along with the book well enough, you can at least jot a general location of the information. An alternative is to comb through your notes later, find the source of the information during your downtime, then jot the page numbers beside the main ideas.
This simple step will save you so much time later when you’re trying to figure out what you meant with that nonsense scrawl.
6. Form A Study Group
It’s completely understandable if you can’t find the time to meet up with anybody, but you’d be surprised how many people from your class will be cramming right before midterms and grateful for any opportunity to go over the material with someone. Even if you only get in touch with one or two people, that’s enough to have a study buddy session where you can at least commiserate with each other and help relieve one another’s stress. Who knows? Maybe they’ll have a few insights of their own you can incorporate into your studying repertoire.
7. Check Out Quizlet
Dive into the amazingly comprehensive website that is Quizlet for some quick, last-minute study help. Quizlet is a free study website that contains potential questions (many of them submitted by former students) for a huge number of classes. Simply type “Quizlet,” followed by your course number (example: ENG 101) into a search engine and viola!
To narrow the search even more, you can also type in the chapter(s) you’re trying to study or “midterm” for a complete look at all the chapters you’ll be tested on.
8. Use SparkNotes For English Midterms
SparkNotes is basically online Cliff Notes for all your English needs. If you search the title of the work you are trying to study followed by “SparkNotes,” the first result (if the work is available in SparkNotes) should be the one you’re looking for.
SparkNotes lists the main characters of a work along with their roles in the story, the symbols and motifs, plot, setting, and even analysis of the work for you to easily study. You can handwrite notes as discussed in tip number four, or you can print off the page and have someone ask you questions about the stories you’re studying.
9. Use Highlighters
Another way to ensure your notes are organized and easy to sort through (especially if you have multiple spring midterms to study for) is to use different-colored highlighters for each subject and highlight the most important information to focus on. This way, if you wind up having less time than you planned for, you’ll at least have prioritized all the most important stuff and still be able to nail a passing grade.
10. Remember To Relax
I know, I know. Easier said than done. Everyone has a different way of going about this too, but if you’ve followed the above tips and stayed organized, there’s no reason you can’t take time for yourself during the madness that is spring midterms. Whether that’s a strong drink, coffee with friends while enjoying the nice spring air, a one-night Netflix binge, or just catching up on sleep for a day, it’ll help ease your stress and clear your mind for the midterms to come.
11. Ditch The Energy Drinks For Sleep
I know it’s tempting to pull an all-nighter cramming for the next midterm then down an energy drink in the morning, but that will only do more harm than good. You might get a wake-up for the first thirty minutes of the test, but that sugar and caffeine rush will wear off fast, and then you’ve got the crash to deal with after. The last thing you need is to flush all your hard work down the drain because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. This is one of the most effective study tips!
12. Celebrate No Matter What
The important thing to remember after all spring midterms are finished is that you did it. Whether you feel positive about the results or not, now is not the time to over-stress yourself. Celebrate the fact that it’s over, that you have a little free time again, and that you have another shot with finals if you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped. If you keep attaching midterms to the feeling of anxiety, it will only get harder each time they come around.
So take a deep breath, smile, and enjoy the rest of the spring!