We are going into Week 11 of the Semester and most people just had, or are having (like me), their second round of midterms. You would think “midterms” would only happen once a semester but for math/science classes you’ll usually have two of them. I personally like it because if I did not perform as great as I wanted to on the first, I can better prepare for the second to excel in it.
On Monday I will be taking my EE 202 Linear Circuits midterm and on Thursday I will be taking my Physics 153 Optics and Modern Physics midterm. Even though this is my fourth semester as an engineering major at USC, I am still learning better ways to prepare for my exams. I’ll go into the tactics I have picked up from mentors, tutors, and friends so far.
You have got to keep your body and mind alert so it is crucial to sleep and have nutritious meals. I try my best to avoid drinking caffeine, soda, junk food, or staying up very late on the days before the exam. I try to stay up late studying a week before the test in order to get great hours of sleep in the week of.
Get organized before you begin studying! Gather all of your lecture notes, discussion notes, homework, and practice midterms before you get started. It is of the essence that you have all of your resources available so you can practice all the examples given to you. Midterm questions are usually a slightly more difficult mutation of the problems you were given during the course of the semester in lecture or on homework sets.
Set daily goals on what you will cover for the day. If you pace yourself, you can avoid cramming everything at last minute while stress impedes the retention of all the valuable information. I set my plan a week before and follow it religiously because if I hit a speed bump, I can get help from a tutor or go to the Professor’s office hours before it is too late.
Lastly, I visualize myself taking the exam. I will try to access a practice midterm and time myself. While taking the midterm I have 1 hour and 50 minutes so I set that time and see how fast I can get it done, accurately. Afterwards, I grade myself and see what I need to improve.
Studying wisely is difficult to accomplish but as I get more experience, I feel more in control.
Thanks for reading, Fight On!