The first month of school went by way too fast, and somehow my first midterm is Monday. After two years’ experience with these annoying tests (I think homework should be good enough), I’m actually not nervous. I’ve come up with a good strategy to ensure I’ll be prepared when the time comes to spit out everything I’ve learned in 8 classes onto a few sheets of paper:
Plan ahead. I marked all my tests in my calendar the first week of classes, so even if I happen to daydream in class and miss a reminder, there are no surprises about when exams are. I know to balance my social and work schedule the week prior to make sure I have plenty of time to study without being stressed out. Studying an hour or so over a few days is so much better than 7 hours the night before.
Make a study group. Freshman year I was so stuck in my high school ways of doing homework alone that I forgot how beneficial discussing problems with others could be. Instead of sitting for hours over one confusing problem, ask a friend how they went about solving it. You can eliminate so much stress when you realize others are having the same difficulties as you. Most professors even encourage you to work on the homework in groups.
Reserve a study room. Where you study can be just as important as how you study—if you’re in a loud area with tons of distractions, you won’t get anything done. My group currently has a Gateway study room for Friday and Sunday, so we’re guaranteed some peace and quiet.
Actually practice instead of just studying. This was a big lesson I learned in my first year of engineering classes. I would stare at problems and memorize how to solve them, then find myself in trouble when, shockingly, the exact problems from the homework weren’t on the exam. It’s better to solve multiple problems so you learn the concepts and not just a few particular ways of solving them.
Don’t panic the night before. If you’ve done everything you can to prepare, you have nothing to worry about. Getting a good night’s sleep ensures you’ll bring you’re a-game to the test and you’ll have no regrets after!