College · Tips

Surviving Midterms

Hey y’all! These mid semester exams came way faster than I was anticipating. I wanted to share some tips to help with studying and managing mental health. 
Most professors don’t give study guides in college. The majority of my profs just put the midterm on the syllabus with the chapters that will be tested over. So studying for 5+ hours the night before the exams isn’t ideal. The Curve of Forgetting is a real thing and demonstrates how quickly our brains lose information if we don’t interact with it daily. Here is an easy to understand text post on how to overcome this curve. 
Some professors do give study guides. If they do, cherish them. Though be aware that they may be ultimately worthless and information on the exam isn’t on the study guide. Talk to other students who have taken a test by that same prof to get a feel for how they test. 
Revisions. Revising my notes is something that has really helped me this semester. I’m a visual learner so it helps for me to actually read my notes. Writing the information down repeatedly is also known to help with remembering. I take notes very sloppily during my lectures; I’m there to write down as much info as I can. I try to be sure to write down what the prof says multiple times, and not just the info on the power point. I especially do this if the prof leaves some blanks on their power points. Revising my notes allows me to go back and interact with the information. I usually open the power point on my laptop and have my own notes that I’ve taken from class so I can compare what was heavily emphasized during lecture. It helps to have a separate notebook for revisions. 
Find your style of note taking. There are plenty out there and I like to use different styles depending on my classes. Be sure that whatever method you’re using, that it works best for you. We’re all different learners so be sure that your notes are helpful for you. 
Here’s my notes: 
Take breaks while studying. We’ve all heard this but it’s hard to actually do. I don’t always like to stop because it ruins my flow, but it ultimately helps. If I don’t take breaks I lose all of my energy and crash much sooner. 
Obviously coffee is essential, but try to have a bottle of water after every one or two cups you drink. It’ll keep you hydrated and keep the headaches away.  
Try to avoid studying on your bed. Your bed is meant to be slept in and it ruins your sleep cycle if you use your bed for work. 
Studying in groups is helpful, especially if you can teach the information. Teaching or explaining the information shows you have a thorough understanding of the info. Also quizzing each other with flash cards or practice questions is beneficial. 
It’s important to know when your brain has had enough. If you’re “studying” until early hours of the morning, the chances of your brain actually retaining info is slim to none. There comes a time when sleeping, so your brain can be fully functional, is more important than cramming. So try to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier in the morning so you can have enough time to review the information before the exam.

Here are some helpful links that I frequently use when I need help studying:

Study Tips 

Mind Mapping

Masterposts from tumblr

Good luck y’all!

xo- Heidi

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