Even though summer break ended a long time ago, the summer season just officially ended. Fall is here, but that also means that midterm season has arrived. In my experience, the first midterms of the semester are often the hardest to get through. Classes pick up the pace of learning and the material covered becomes more challenging. Time that you were spending with friends during the week might be converted into study hours, and your normal bedtime feels like it is getting pushed later and later. I understand how overwhelming midterms can be! That’s why I put together some tips and tricks to lessen the stress you might (or might not) be feeling.
The most important action you can take to reduce the stress of midterms is actively reviewing topics covered in class throughout the semester. This means interacting with your notes, going to office hours, completing practice problems and homework assignments, and reading your textbook. I promise, putting in the work before the test pays off and in a perfect world this is how I would approach school. Unfortunately, life happens! You are in 4-5 classes at once and some are more time consuming than others, you might join campus organizations that have weekly meetings and time commitments, and maybe you have a part-time job on top of this. All of a sudden, there’s not time to plan ahead and follow a perfect study schedule. What now?
First things first, don’t panic and do nothing. The most important thing to do is to start studying, and it is important that you study effectively. Start with the things that you don’t understand, and work backwards to the concepts you know well. When something is hard to understand, my first step is to look in the textbook for a helpful section or example. If that doesn’t work, consult a friend in the class. If neither option works, email your professor or TA. In my experience, they are willing always willing to help.
Once you understand the basics of the class, take practice exams. Practice exams are often provided by the professor, but sometimes older students in your major can help you get access to old exams. By doing a practice test, you prepare yourself to apply all of the things you learned studying the format of your midterm. Pay attention to the amount of time and number of questions your test has, it’s often about how quickly you can draw upon things you learned.
Relax! You got this! It’s midterm season, and you have no reason to stress out because now you know exactly what to do.